Facts first: It is misleading for Kemp, Georgia’s former secretary of state, to suggest that a signing audit after an election would be ‘simple’, if only for an example of the ballot papers. Georgia’s current secretary of state, Brad Raffensperger, a Republican, told CNN a signature audit is outside his office’s law. It will have to be ordered by a court, and at present there is no basis for doing so.
It’s also misleading to point out that it could somehow detect the kind of fraud that Trump claims, especially since autographs have already been done – twice, in many cases. And even if a signature were marked on an envelope during an audit, it would be impossible to locate it after a specific vote to remove their vote accordingly.
During a news conference on Monday 23 November, Sterling said he did not see a signature audit take place unless one was ordered by a judge because ‘the ballot papers at this stage are now being overseen by judges and clerks of the higher court, i believe it is a bit out of our situation to then say we are going without specific evidence or explanation to go in and pull out random ballots to ‘look’. Who pays for this? What are the protocols in this regard? “
While the Georgia Secretary of State is reviewing calls for a signing audit, Sterling conceded that the office “can not really see a legitimate way that makes sense” because opening an investigation based on the results, could set a bad precedent for future claims.
“Both parties know the rules about this up front,” Sterling said. “To now come up with a general grievance afterwards that there could be a problem, because ‘the person I wanted to win, no,’ is no reason to possibly open an investigation.”
In response to Kemp’s statement, Sterling explained: “It sounds, as he said, a simple request, but it really is not.”
What would a signature audit entail?
According to the Secretary of State of Georgia, the envelope with the signature of the voter will be examined when the vote of the absentee is initially received. If the absent ballot was requested by post, this is the second signature verification, as the voter’s signature was first checked when the application was received. If the absentee ballot was requested online, a photo ID is required and the signature is verified as soon as the ballot is received.
Once the signature is confirmed to match the signature on the file, the ballot paper containing the marked vote, but not any identifying information, is separated from the envelope containing the identity of the voter and the signature of the voter. It is designed to protect voters’ privacy.
However, this means that if an absent ballot paper is found during a signature audit that it has a signature that does not match what was recorded, there is no way to bind the voter to a specific ballot paper. It is impossible to determine whether a rejected ballot would derail a vote from Trump or President-elect Joe Biden.
Therefore, Raffensperger said that one option would be to “call every voter and let in to cure”, or to review and correct any problems with their ballots. Otherwise, the president and his allies seem to rely on the hope that a judge will throw out ALL the absentee ballots in a given country with a high percentage of signatures.
Yet it is unlikely that they will get the necessary legal signature.
“I do not think there is a judge in the country who will cast all the legally extended votes,” Sterling said.