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Trump campaign takes aim at Georgia's ballot signature matching as potential vulnerability

Signature matching has also proven problematic in Nevada, where an experiment showed eight out of nine ballots with falsified signatures were accepted. 

Published: November 17, 2020 7:04pm

Updated: November 18, 2020 11:08am

The Trump campaign is arguing that Georgia's policy on ballot signature-matching -- agreed to in a consent decree -- makes it practically almost impossible to verify signatures, thus possibly opening up the process for fraud.

The decree drew the ire of President Trump, who tweeted on Saturday: "The Consent Decree signed by the Georgia Secretary of State, with the approval of Governor @BrianKempGA, at the urging of @staceyabrams, makes it impossible to check & match signatures on ballots and envelopes, etc. They knew they were going to cheat. Must expose real signatures!"

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The Trump campaign on Tuesday sent out a press release linking to a Breitbart News article concluding that the agreement "makes it impossible to check & match signatures on ballots and envelopes." According to Breitbart's Joel B. Pollak:

"The consent decree describes a new procedure for reviewing signatures. When there is a mismatch, an election official must consult with two other officials. Then they have to vote. The ballot can only be rejected if a majority agrees that there is a mismatch. Then, all of the officials must write their names on the rejected envelope before starting the 'cure' process.

The practical effect of that new requirement is to make signature matching impossible. With hundreds of thousands of absentee ballots to be counted, it is difficult to pull additional officials off their assignments to examine a signature. And with a rejection tarnished as racist 'voter suppression,' no official is going to want his or her name listed on the envelope."

Breitbart linked to the consent decree document, posted on the website of the Perkins Coie law firm, noting, "Attorney Marc Elias, the Democratic lawyer who hired Fusion GPS to produce the phony 'Russia dossier' in the 2016 election, triggering the entire 'Russia collusion' hoax, is listed as the lead attorney for the plaintiffs, who include several Democratic political organizations."

Lin Wood, a Georgia attorney hired by the Trump campaign, has filed suit against Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, claiming he "unilaterally, and without the approval or direction of the Georgia General Assembly, changed the process for handling absentee ballots in Georgia, including those cast in the general election."

Georgia Deputy Secretary of State Jordan Fuchs released a statement blasting Wood's suit. "Silly baseless claim — grasping," said Fuchs. "Signature match is intact and the General Assembly passed legislation to allow voters who failed to include a signature time to add one. We strengthened signature match, and will continue to do so, period."

Signature matching has also proven problematic in Nevada, where an experiment showed eight out of nine ballots with falsified signatures were accepted. Las Vegas Review-Journal columnist Victor Joecks had nine Clark County, Nev., voters use his version of their signature on their ballots to test the signature verification system.

On Monday, voter discrepancies caused Nevada's largest county to throw out the results of one local race. A special election will be held in December for one Clark County commissioner race as officials flag some systemic vote problems, including signature verification problems.

“We have found discrepancies that we can't explain that would cast a doubt on whether or not that margin of victory is solid," Clark County Registrar of Voters Joe Gloria said in his report Monday to county commissioners. Gloria revealed that in nearly 1,000 ballots "they had found the discrepancies in tracking, moving from signature to manual signature verifications, as well as in the ballot curing process." 

On Tuesday, on the heels of that decision, six Nevada Electoral College candidates pledged to Trump filed an election contest under Nevada's election code, citing what it claimed were substantial irregularities, improprieties, and fraud that occurred in Nevada's 2020 presidential election.

"The suit details the unreliability of the Agilis ballot processing and signature scanning machine used in Clark County, and the electronic voting machines used throughout the state," said Jenna Ellis, Trump campaign senior legal advisor. "It also argues that the denial of observer access to the duplication process, and the impropriety of some Native American outreach programs that resulted in apparent vote-buying, cast substantial doubt on the results of the election. No less than 40,000 votes, and possibly more, were impacted by these various defects. This margin is greater than the margin between President Trump and Joe Biden in Nevada.

"We believe the discrepancies discovered in the days following Nevada's election and invited by the Democrats' last-minute changes to the law monumentally influenced this presidential election to benefit Joe Biden, and as a result, these irregularities have deprived Nevadans of their right to a free and fair election. These malicious actions, which have impacted more than 40,000 ballots, cannot be overlooked, and President Trump will continue battling for justice and seeking to restore Americans' faith in our electoral process." 

The contest was filed in the First Judicial District Court in Carson City, Nev.

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