President Donald Trump has incorrectly claimed that Georgia election officials are unable to verify the signatures on the absentee ballot envelopes due to a legal settlement known as the consent decree.
Here’s a look at Trump’s claims in Saturday’s tweet:
TRUMP: “The consent decree signed by the Secretary of State of Georgia, with the consent of Governor BrianKempGA, at the urging of staceyabrams, makes it impossible to verify and match signatures on ballot papers, envelopes, etc. They knew they were going to cheat. Real signatures should be debunked!”
The facts: Nothing in the consent decree prevents Georgia’s election clerks from checking signatures. The legal settlement signed in March addresses accusations that there are no statewide standards for judging absentee ballot envelope signatures.
Not only is it entirely possible to match signatures, but the state requires it, said Georgia’s Foreign Minister Brad Ravensberger, Republican.
When a voter requests an absentee vote on a paper motion, he or she must sign it. Ravensburger said election officials compare this signature to the signature on voter registration files before the ballot is sent to the voter.
When ballot papers are returned, the signature required on the outer envelope is compared to the signatures in the voter registration system.
This process is detailed in the consent decree, a legal settlement signed on March 6.
A lawsuit brought by the Democratic Party, which led to the agreement, argued that minorities were disproportionately affected when their ballot papers were rejected. Among other things, the settlement outlines steps for local election officials to notify the voter – via phone, mail, or email – in a timely manner about signature problems.
The changes were made by the state election board.
According to state law, Georgia is seeking a presidential race count. Democrat Joe Biden leads Trump with nearly 14,000 votes in the state. There are no examples of similar recount that flipped strings of this size.
The signature case resurfaced after attorney Ellen Wood Jr. filed a federal lawsuit Friday to ask whether the Secretary of State has the authority to request the signature verification process provided for in the agreement.
Wood is known for his representation of several high-profile agents including security guard Richard Jewell, who was identified as a suspect in the 1996 Centennial Olympic Park bombing in Atlanta in 1996 but was later acquitted.
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