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Georgia secretary of state probing Warnock-led voter registration group for voter fraud

The New Georgia Project was founded by Stacey Abrams.

Raphael Warnock
Georgia Democratic Senate candidate Raphael Warnock on campaign trail. Nov. 2020.
(Jessica McGowan/Getty Images)
Updated: December 1, 2020 - 10:10am

A voter registration group formerly led by Raphael Warnock, one of the Democratic Senate candidates in Georgia, is under state investigation for allegedly sending ballot applications to non-residents.

The group, the New Georgia Project, is among several groups being investigated by Georgia's secretary of state for improper voter registration practices and activities. Warnock served as the CEO of the group until February of this year. 

Brad Raffensperger, the Georgia secretary of state, is leading the effort. Raffensperger, a Republican, has recently earned praise from Democrats for dismissing allegations from President Trump of voter fraud in Georgia during last month's election. 

Warnock is in a hotly contested runoff election against incumbent GOP Sen. Kelly Loeffler. The race is one of two in Georgia that will determine party control of the Senate. 

Raffensperger has said he has seen no evidence of systemic fraud across Georgia, though he believes there is compelling evidence of "third-party groups working to register people in other states to vote here in Georgia," he said at a press conference about the probe.

The New Georgia Project, according to Raffensperger, sent voter registration applications to addresses in New York City, which is a potential violation of state law."

Voting in Georgia when you are not a resident of Georgia is a felony," Raffensperger said. "These third-party groups have a responsibility to not encourage illegal voting. If they do so, they will be held accountable."

Warnock, who in the past has dismissed allegations of improper practices against the group as alarmist, was listed as the CEO of the New Georgia Project from 2017 until 2020. According to the group's website, the New Georgia Project is a "nonpartisan effort to register and civically engage Georgians." 

The group, which was founded by 2018 Georgia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams, has registered almost 400,000 individuals from "underrepresented communities to vote in Georgia," according to its website. 

This is not the first time the group has been accused of encouraging voter fraud. In 2014, contractors working for the project were accused of forging voter registration applications. In 2017, the case was brought to law enforcement, though official charges were never brought. The investigation was criticized by supporters of the group as attempted voter suppression. 

Warnock said using the words "voter fraud" during the investigation was "alarmist" and "totally unnecessary."