Secretary of State warns not to move to GA to vote
ATLANTA, Ga. (WALB) - Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger issued a warning to groups that are helping individuals move to Georgia solely for the purpose of voting in the January Senate runoff elections. Groups that finance or organize such efforts are involved in a conspiracy to commit voter fraud and could be charged under Georgia’s Racketeering Conspiracy laws.
“Make no mistake about it, I will seek to prosecute those who try to undermine our elections to the fullest extent of the law,” said Raffensperger. “The integrity of our elections is paramount. Outside groups who seek to interfere with democracy in Georgia should be forewarned that the consequences will be severe.”
Georgia law is clear about the seriousness of the crime committed by those looking to come to Georgia solely for the purpose of voting in the January 5 Senate runoff elections.
OCGA § 21-2-21(a)(4) requires that registrants be “a resident of this state and of the county or municipality in which he or she seeks to vote.” O.C.G.A. § 21-2-217(a)(1) adds that “the residence of any person shall be held to be in that place in which such person’s habitation is fixed, without any present intention of removing therefrom;” this would include individuals who move to Georgia solely for the sake of casting a ballot in an election with no intention of remaining in the state.
False registration, i.e. someone who registers to vote knowing that they do not possess the qualifications required by law, is a felony and can be punished by between one and ten years in prison, and/or up to a $100,000 fine (O.C.G.A § 21-2-561).
Any individual or group who organizes or finances efforts to bring individuals to Georgia to register falsely as electors may also potentially be charged with felony racketeering under O.C.G.A. § 16-14-3(5)(A)(xxii), which can be punishable by between 5 and 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $25,000 PER COUNT (O.C.G.A. § 16-14-5).
Georgia is recognized as a national leader in elections. It was the first state in the country to implement the trifecta of automatic voter registration, at least 16 days of early voting (which has been called the “gold standard”), and no-excuse absentee voting. Georgia continues to set records for voter turnout and election participation, seeing the largest increase in average turnout of any other state in the 2018 midterm election and record overall, early, in-person, and absentee-by-mail turnout during the November 2020 elections.
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