GA SOS blames Dem lawsuit for slowing down ballot processing

For the second day in a row President Donald Trump has not committed to a peaceful transfer of...
For the second day in a row President Donald Trump has not committed to a peaceful transfer of power if he were to lose the election on November 3.((Source: AP Photo/Nati Harnik/AP))
Published: Oct. 2, 2020 at 7:36 AM EDT
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ATLANTA, Ga. (WALB) - Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger is highlighting the difficulties faced by Gwinnett County elections workers due to short-sighted activist lawsuits. As a result of a lawsuit filed by the Democratic Party of Georgia, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, Gwinnett County voters will receive absentee ballots more slowly than voters in the rest of Georgia.

“This is why elections administration 101 is to not change the rules in the middle of the game,” said Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger. “Georgia’s elections staff and poll workers have a large enough task ahead of them executing an election during a pandemic without shortsighted and uniformed activist lawsuits burdening them with impractical bureaucratic hurdles. These activists opened Pandora’s Box with their frivolous lawsuits, demanding what they characterize as small changes that in reality have damaging and far-reaching consequences.”

Earlier this year, the Democratic Party of Georgia, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee filed a lawsuit to increase the size of the font on the outside of the envelopes containing absentee ballots in Gwinnett County. The new return envelopes measure 6.5 inches by 11 inches. For comparison, standard size printer paper is 8.5 inches by 11 inches. Note that the only difference is the size of the envelope. The size of the ballot inside remains unchanged.

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger responds to a question on the intent of people...
Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger responds to a question on the intent of people who are believed to have voted twice in primary elections.

The bulky and abnormal size of the envelopes has slowed down processing of those ballots beyond what the rest of Georgia voters are experiencing.

Because neither the county nor most elections vendors are capable of processing, printing and stuffing such unusually sized envelopes, Gwinnett County has turned to a vendor in Albany, New York.

Due to the unusual envelope size demanded in the activist lawsuit, Gwinnett County’s vendor has only been able to mail 50% of the 120,000 requested absentee ballots in the county so far. By contrast, the state’s mail vendor has sent over 1 million absentee ballots, and county election officials have already received and accepted 130,000 statewide.

While the Secretary of State’s office was able to cover the cost and coordinate the logistics of processing any absentee ballots requests submitted by Georgia’s other 158 counties before September 8th through the state’s vendor, Runbeck Election Services, the activist lawsuit forced Gwinnett County to organize absentee ballot mailings with its own outside vendor.

More than 100 counties have opted to continue coordinating absentee ballot processing through the Secretary of State’s mail vendor, until a few weeks before the election. Because election rules were changed due to this short-sighted activist lawsuit, Gwinnett cannot participate in the joint effort.

“These activists keep breaking the system with frivolous lawsuits and overwhelming county elections officials who can’t keep up with the never-ending policy churn, then blame those same workers when the system they broke fails,” said Raffensperger.

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