Red flags arise as Georgia GOP urges secretary of state to reconsider 1-to-10 ballot audit ratio

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Georgia Republicans are urging the secretary of state to reverse an earlier decision to only allow one ballot audit observer per 10 ballot auditing teams as the state prepares to conduct a recount of Election Day votes.

Election officials are scheduled to begin the hand recount on Friday and have until Nov. 20 to complete it, according to CBS46. President Donald Trump currently trails Democratic rival, Joe Biden in the state by several thousand votes.


But the recount procedures laid out by Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger immediately came under fire by Georgia Republican Party Chairman David Shafer and U.S. Rep. Doug Collins, the latter of whom is monitoring the recount effort on behalf of the president’s campaign.

“You stated yesterday that the process would be ‘an audit, a recount and a recanvass all at once’ and would help ‘build public confidence.’ However, the training and directives issued today do not comport with your stated goals yesterday and do not satisfy our concerns that gave rise to our request for a hand count in the first place,” Shafer and Collins wrote in a letter to Raffensperger.

The pair laid out several concerns with the manner in which Raffensperger plans to conduct the recount.

The audit process doesn’t include a review of absentee ballot application signatures and ballot envelopes to ensure they comply with statutory signature verification rules, for one.

For another, the pair wrote that they “have concerns about meaningful access to the auditing process by our designated monitors.

“Your office announced today that the state parties can designate only one reviewer for every 10 audit teams. That makes it impossible for hand count decisions to be reviewed in real time,” they wrote.

A video posted to social media by Shafer that was taken by an observer named Susan Knox shows what appears to be a ballot counting area in Cobb County that is cordoned off to the general public far away from ballot workers, making it impossible to determine the accuracy of the recount.

“We are looking at the recount for our president, and if you tell me you can see what these people are doing and which box they’re putting this in…I mean, this is horrible for our integrity of our election process,” Knox said.

Accompanying the video is a post from Shafer claiming that he and Collins requested “a one to one ratio” on Thursday but Raffensperger refused.

“We are very troubled by the directive issued today that counties must certify their results by 5:00 P.M.” Saturday, the letter continued.

“Given that the audit and recount will necessarily still be ongoing, it is completely improper for counties to be directed to certify the accuracy of the results before the audit and hand count are completed,” the two Republicans wrote, adding that “training and guidance” for the process was only issued last-minute.

“The security of the paper ballots is critically important. Aside from a single passing reference about security during today’s training, the Secretary of State’s office provided no substantive guidance regarding the necessity of maintaining the security of the ballots, the transporting of ballots, and documenting the chain of custody as required by law,” they added.

“We appreciate your decision to proceed with the hand count as well as your public commitment to transparency and openness. The purpose of this letter is to identify the ways in which the announced process is counter to that intended purpose.”

The state’s two senators, David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler, both Republicans, are headed to a January run-off against their Democratic opponents after both failed to win 50 percent of the first ballot.

Trump told the Washington Examiner’s Byron York in an interview published Friday by the outlet he expects to win Georgia on the recount.

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Jon Dougherty

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