Investigators in Georgia ballot harvesting probe zero in on funding, eyewitness whistleblower
First subpoenas provide roadmap to investigation, with a heavy focus on John Doe witness and nonprofit funding.
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Georgia investigators have signaled their focus in a wide-ranging investigation into alleged illegal ballot trafficking during the 2020 election with subpoenas that target the possible source of funding for such an operation and any eyewitness participants.
The four subpoenas obtained Monday by Just the News through an open records request show the State Elections Board and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger want the identity of any suspected participants in ballot harvesting, including a whistleblower identified only as John Doe who an election watchdog claims admitted to gathering ballots for cash.
The document demands were delivered late last week to the election integrity watchdog True the Vote, its founder Catherine Engelbrecht, and its researchers from a company called OPSEC Group LLC. They sought evidence that backs up the group's complaint last November alleging that as many as 242 people illegally gathered third-party ballots during the battleground state's November 2020 election and subsequent U.S. Senate races.
The subpoenas ask for "the identity and contact information of the several individuals regarding personal knowledge, methods, and organizations involved in ballot trafficking in Georgia referenced in the Complaint and any recordings, transcripts, summaries, testimony, statements, witness interviews, notes or other documents describing what those individuals said."
That request includes the identity of a whistleblower Engelbrecht's group interviewed who admitted being paid $10 for ballots he collected and "all statements John Doe made regarding his alleged participation in ballot harvesting in Georgia." The subpoena also seeks contact information for John Doe's mother and any evidence of whether True the Vote paid any of his medical bills.
You can read the subpoena here:
Engelbrecht said Monday night she was consulting with her lawyers concerning the subpoena.
"I can confirm that Secretary Raffensperger is actively investigating allegations of ballot trafficking and voter abuse," she told Just the News. "The issues his team is tackling are both massive and complex, and investigations like this will take time."
The subpoenas, signed by acting State Elections Board Chairman Matt Mashburn, also target any information the group and its researchers have about the funding streams for the alleged ballot harvesting scheme.
They seek the identities of the "network of non-governmental organizations that worked together to facilitate a ballot trafficking scheme in Georgia" as well as any information about 10 "hubs" the group alleged coordinated the ballot trafficking.
Ballot harvesting, the act of gathering other voter's ballots, is expressly prohibited in Georgia and many other key election states. On Monday, a new complaint was filed in Green Bay, Wisc., alleging such harvesting occurred in that state's primary election earlier this month.
The escalation of the Georgia probe, which had been delayed months while the elections board changed personnel, comes as Raffensperger is locked in a tight primary election with Trump-backed challenger Jody Hice and conservative filmmaker Dinesh D'Souza is poised to release "2,000 Mules," which highlights True the Vote's evidence in a documentary about widespread ballot trafficking in swing states in the 2020 election.
Raffensperger originally disclosed the existence of the Georgia harvesting investigation in a January interview with Just the News. In 2019, he led an effort to ensure state law expressly prohibited harvesting, and he told Just the News he believes the probe could lead to criminal charges and the identity of the funding streams for the alleged operation.
Raffensperger is now pushing for a nationwide ban on ballot harvesting.
Even officials critical of Raffensperger's tenure as Georgia's election chief are supportive of the probe, saying the mass expansion of mail-in votes in 2020 that drove a nearly 1 million-vote increase in Georgia deserves more scrutiny.
"We had a 20%, 25% uptick in the total number of votes cast in this past election," U.S. Rep. Austin Scott (R-Ga.) told Just the News. "And so one of the things that came about from that is that you look at a Barack Obama, who got 85,000 absentee ballots, Hillary Clinton got about 100,000, Stacey Abrams got 135,000, and Joe Biden gets 850,000 absentee ballots. And so I think that anybody who would look at those numbers would reasonably agree that we need to know who's voting in these elections."
As for Democrats clamoring to end such inquiries, Scott said: "If they didn't cheat, they shouldn't be worried about the next election."