Georgia’s Cobb County Audit Shows ‘No Fraudulent Absentee Ballots’ and 2 Mismatched Signatures

December 29, 2020 Updated: December 30, 2020

A limited signature match audit in Georgia’s Cobb County has found “no fraudulent absentee ballots” and two mismatched ballots, Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger’s office announced on Tuesday.

“The Secretary of State’s office has always been focused on calling balls and strikes in elections and, in this case, three strikes against the voter fraud claims and they’re out,” Raffensperger said in a statement. “We conducted a statewide hand recount that reaffirmed the initial tally, and a machine recount at the request of the Trump campaign that also reaffirmed the original tally. This audit disproves the only credible allegations the Trump campaign had against the strength of Georgia’s signature match processes.”

Raffensperger announced on Dec. 14 that there would be an audit of voter signatures on absentee ballot envelopes in Cobb County, after having received a credible allegation that the county may not have conducted a proper signature match in the June primaries. Raffensperger’s office teamed up with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) in carrying out the audit, which was the first of its kind in the state.

The auditors “reviewed 15,118 absentee-by-mail ballot oath envelopes from randomly selected boxes” that stored the 150,431 absentee ballots that were cast and received by Cobb County election officials in the November election. According to the audit report (pdf), the sample size was chosen to meet the 99 percent confidence threshold.

cobb county
A Cobb County Election official sort ballots during an audit in Marietta, Ga., on Nov. 13, 2020. (Mike Stewart/AP Photo)

The audit found “no fraudulent absentee ballots” with a 99 percent confidence threshold, and found only two ballots should have been flagged by Cobb County Elections Officials as needing to be cured, but weren’t, according to the report. Both of the mismatched ballots involved voters who filled out the ballots themselves: one ballot was “mistakenly signed by the elector’s spouse” and the other ballot had the voter signing the front of the envelope only.

Officers from the GBI and Georgia Secretary of State were instructed to analyze the signatures of a given voter as stored in the databases and compare them to the signatures of the voter’s mail ballot oath envelope.” They looked for “distinctive characteristics and unique qualities … individual attributes of the signature, mark, or other identifying information” to “make a judgment of the validity of the signature on each envelope based on the totality of the documents,” the audit report states.

“We thank the GBI and Secretary of State’s office for handling this audit in an expeditious manner,” Janine Eveler, director of the Cobb County Elections and Registration, said in an emailed statement to The Epoch Times. “The results confirm my longstanding belief that our elections workers work tirelessly to follow all applicable election laws and maintain the integrity of the voting process.”

Since the Nov. 3 election, President Donald Trump and other Republicans have pushed for Georgia to conduct a signature audit. Trump earlier in December urged Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp to permit signature verification of ballots, arguing that it would show he had won. Several Republican state senators have also called for an audit of signatures for absentee ballots in the state.

The totals in Georgia currently stand at 2,474,507 for Democratic nominee Joe Biden and 2,461,837 votes for Trump. Libertarian Jo Jorgensen received 62,138 votes.

Georgia has seen two recounts and its officials twice affirmed Biden’s victory. However, the two recounts—one was a hand recount audit and another was a machine recount—were without signature verifications, which were one of the main points of contention from the Trump campaign.

The Trump campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Epoch Times over the latest audit in Cobb County.

Meanwhile, a statewide audit of signatures announced on Dec. 17 has yet to be completed. Kemp said last week that the audit should be released on Dec. 23 or 24, but no results have been announced. This audit seeks to cover mail-in ballots for Georgia’s 159 counties.

Georgia has seen increasing evidence of voting irregularities in late November and early December, including a video revealing concerns over counting processes at the State Farm Arena’s vote-tabulation center in Atlanta; a video where an election official explains how Dominion Voting Systems’ software allows the adding or changing of votes; and the submission of evidence of more than 21,000 election anomalies and irregularities to Georgia officials.

Peter Navarro, a White House adviser to Trump, last week called on Georgia officials to delay the Senate runoff election by a month to allow more time for widespread concerns in the state over election irregularities and alleged fraud to be resolved.

Follow Mimi on Twitter: @MimiNguyenLy