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Georgia Hand Recount Lacks Protocols Needed To Be Trustworthy

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Rep. Doug Collins, head of President Donald Trump’s Georgia recount team and Georgia GOP Chairman David Shafer identified several issues with the hand recount directive issued in the Peach State that they said must be remedied to make the results trustworthy.

In a Thursday letter to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, the two men commended him for undertaking the hand recount to ensure the accuracy of the presidential election results, but laid out reasons why the guidance he has issued is working cross purposes.

“You stated yesterday that the process would be ‘an audit, a recount and a recanvass all at once’ and would help ‘build public confidence,'” the two men wrote.

“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,” Collins and Shafer continued.

“Absent immediate revisions, the people of Georgia cannot have confidence that the hand count and audit were meaningful or delivered on the promised objectives.”

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The letter lays out five issues Collins and Shafer say must be addressed.

First, “The audit does not include a review of signatures on absentee ballot applications and ballot envelopes to confirm the validity of the statutory signature verification process by the counties.”

Their analysis found that the absentee ballot rejection rate fell from 3.5 percent in 2018 to just 0.3 percent in 2020.

Shafer noted in a tweet that this precipitous decline in the rejection rate came despite nearly 1 million more Georgians voting by absentee ballot.

“This raises serious concerns as to whether the counties properly conducted signature verification and/or other scrutiny of absentee ballots,” the Collins/Shafer letter stated. “In fact, it presents the issue of whether some counties conducted any scrutiny at all.”

The Republican leaders called for the hand count and the audit process to include a review of signatures on absentee ballot applications and envelopes.

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Collins and Shafer next took issue with Raffensperger over the lack of oversight with the auditing of the ballot counting itself.

“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. One designated monitor cannot observe ten tables at once,” they wrote.

Tea Party Patriots co-founder Jenny Beth Martin tweeted that if this current guidance is not corrected, the results will be seen as a “fake recount.”

“We need 1 monitor per campaign per 1 audit team and monitors close enough to see what teams are reading & doing,” Martin argued.

Collins and Shafer also called for Raffensperger to not demand that counties certify their election night votes on Friday, even as the recount gets underway.

“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,” they wrote.

Do you believe changes are needed to trust the Georgia recount?

Joe Biden currently holds approximately a 14,000 vote lead over Trump in the uncertified results among the nearly 5 million Georgians who cast a ballot.

The fourth issue Collins and Shafer identified is the short time window between when Raffensperger’s guidance for counting was issued on Thursday and when the hand recount was to begin the next day.

“That is simply not sufficient public notice of the existence, location, and times of the audits and hand counts. We would request that you delay the commencement of the process until Monday, November 16, 2020, in order to provide ample public notice in every county of the commencement and details of the audit,” they wrote.

Finally, Collins and Shafer called for uniform ballot security measure to be put in place.

“The security of the paper ballots is critically important,” they stated. “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.”

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