FORSYTH COUNTY, Ga. — Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger announced on April 27 that he has created an Absentee Ballot Fraud Task Force to ensure no one undermines the integrity of the vote in Georgia during the coronavirus pandemic.

Raffensperger has selected experts in election administration, investigation, and prosecution from around the state as part of the task force.

Due to the high volume of absentee ballot requests submitted by voters across the state, the Secretary of State’s Office has hired a vendor to assemble ballot packets and mail them to voters, said Mandy Smith, director Forsyth County Voter Registrations and Elections. The same packets are being sent to all voters in Georgia. 

An increase in voting by mail brings with it the potential for increased voter fraud and ballot harvesting, both of which are against the law in Georgia, Raffensberger said in his statement.

Absentee Ballot Fraud Task Force will assist the Secretary of State’s office in investigating allegations of and potential instances of absentee ballot fraud in the state.

Already, issues with absentee ballots have popped up.

Applications for Dawson County were mailed to Decatur County. In some cases, ballot packets did not include small, white envelopes for returning voted ballots.

Absentee ballot packets are being sent with a security sleeve instead of an inner envelope. The sleeve is a piece of paper with the words “Official Absentee Ballot: Ballot Must Be Enclosed” printed on it. 

The voter must fold the inner sleeve around their ballot and then place it in the Oath envelope. Voters should remember to sign the Oath of Elector on the back of the envelope before mailing or dropping off at the Elections Office, Smith said.

Denise Ray

Denise Ray is a Reporter with Appen Media Group and covers Forsyth county.

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