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Georgia's top election official says 1,000 people voted twice in primary, may face charges

Georgia's secretary of State said Tuesday that 1,000 people voted twice in the state’s June primary election and warned that prosecutors may pursue felony charges after an ongoing investigation is completed.

Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (R), speaking to reporters outside the state Capitol in Atlanta, said about 150,000 voters who applied for absentee ballots also appeared in person at polling places on election day.

Although poll workers managed to screen out the vast majority of these voters, he said, about 1,000 votes “worked their way through the system.” Some of the double votes were counted in election results, but did not affect the outcome of the races, he said. 

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Election experts contacted by The Hill expressed skepticism over Raffensperger’s claim of widespread fraud in Georgia’s June primary election and August runoff.

“That number seems extraordinarily high relative to other recent statewide elections,” said Ned Foley, a law professor at Ohio State University who has written extensively about voter fraud, which he says is rare.

Justin Levitt, an election expert and professor at Loyola Law School, said it would be “quite significant” if the numbers are true, though he too expressed doubts. 

“Inflated claims of wrongdoing aren’t new for the Georgia Secretary of State’s office,” Levitt told The Hill. “I’d want to see the further investigation to see if any of this activity was caused by errant reporting rather than real fraud.”

In prepared remarks, Raffensperger repeatedly accused the voters in question of intentionally trying to “game the system.” But when asked by a reporter to provide evidence of their intent to defraud the election, he cited just one example.  

“Well, by and large, we know one person was bragging about it down in Long County,” Raffensperger said, referring to an area southwest of Savannah.

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The Long County resident in question appeared to be a voter named Hamilton Evans, who told a local Fox News affiliate that he voted twice in order to expose flaws in the system — before immediately alerting the authorities.

Raffensperger later added that "intentionality is not an excuse under the law." 

Georgia law makes it a felony to vote twice in the same election and imposes penalties of between one and 10 years in prison, or a fine of up to $100,000. Federal law also prohibits voting more than once. 

Raffensperger vowed that, “We'll be investigating all 1,000, and we'll get to the bottom of it.”

“We'll be turning this over to the state attorney general," he added, "but also local (district attorneys), and also, federal prosecuting attorneys if they want to pick this up."