- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 17, 2020

Georgia officials on Thursday conceded to requests for a statewide check of signatures on mail-in ballots after President Trump repeatedly asked for the study.

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger announced the review of absentee ballots in all 159 counties, saying the move is an attempt to rebuild trust in the election process.

Mr. Trump has vilified Mr. Raffensperger, a Republican, for not doing more to overturn the Nov. 3 results in which President-elect Joseph R. Biden became the first Democrat to win Georgia in a presidential election since 1992.

“Despite endless lawsuits and wild allegations from Washington, D.C. pundits, we have seen no actual evidence of widespread voter fraud, though we are investigating all credible reports,” he said. “Nonetheless, we look forward to working with the University of Georgia on this signature match review to further instill confidence in Georgia’s voting systems.”

The review comes less than three weeks before the state’s Senate runoff elections on Jan. 5, which will determine which party holds the majority in the upper chamber.

The study, which will be conducted in a partnership with the University of Georgia, will analyze a random sample of mail-in ballots. It will review the Election Day signature-matching process used across the state and check the signatures on random samples of ballots from each county.

SEE ALSO: Mike Pence tells Georgia voters: ‘If you don’t vote, they win’

“We are confident that elections in Georgia are secure, reliable and effective,” Mr. Raffensperger said.

State officials this week said they would audit signatures for mail-in ballots in Cobb County, a suburb of Atlanta.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation will help, and the audit is expected to wrap up in two weeks.

“The Trump campaign claimed that Cobb County did not properly conduct signature match in June,” said Jordan Fuchs, Georgia’s deputy security of state. “After the countywide audit, we will look at the entire state. We will look at the entire election to make sure signature match was executed properly.”

Mr. Trump accused several battleground states, including Georgia, of widespread voter fraud related to the massive amount of mail-in ballots spurred by the coronavirus pandemic.

Georgia’s 16 electoral votes were awarded to Mr. Biden when the Electoral College met Monday. Mr. Biden won the state by 11,779 votes, or 0.2%.

• Alex Swoyer can be reached at aswoyer@washingtontimes.com.

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