Republican Jody Hice announced last week that he was running for Georgian Foreign Minister, the state’s top electoral job. His 2022 campaign was immediately endorsed by former President Donald Trump, who has repeatedly launched dishonest attacks against current Republican Brad Raffensperger.
And then Hice went on TV and made a number of false claims about the 2020 election.
This wasn’t new behavior. Since November, Hice has been a vocal and frequent vendor of inaccurate voting claims – unfoundedly saying or implying that results were marred by mass fraud and that Joe Biden did not lawfully beat Trump in Georgia.
But Hice’s words are especially noteworthy now as he is committed to being the person overseeing the elections in Georgia. Although a controversial new law signed by Governor Brian Kemp last week removes the secretary of state from chairing the state election committee, the secretary remains in charge of registering voters, confirming the results, investigating alleged electoral fraud, and other important electoral matters responsible .
Here’s a look at some of the things Hice said at Newsmax last Monday.
A 2020 agreement
Hice criticized Raffensperger for agreeing to a “consent decree with Stacey Abrams,” saying that the agreement allowed “a request for (a) postal vote to be sent to anyone” in Georgia’s voter registry.
Facts first: Stacey Abrams – a prominent suffrage advocate who is a former Democratic gubernatorial candidate and a minority leader in the State House – was not a party to the March 2020 settlement agreement that Hice was almost certain to be talking about. More importantly, this agreement says nothing about who should receive a postal vote. Rather, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Raffensperger decided to send an application to every active Georgian voter separately from the agreement – and this only for the Georgian primary in June 2020, not for the parliamentary elections in November, in which Biden defeated Trump.
For the general election, Georgian voters had to apply for a postal vote if they wanted one.
The March 2020 Settlement Agreement included a process for verifying voter signatures and required electoral authorities to quickly contact voters whose ballots were rejected to give them the opportunity to “heal” their mistakes.
The democratic entities that were party to the agreement were the Democratic Party of Georgia, the Senatorial Democratic Campaign Committee and the Congress Democratic Campaign Committee. Abrams was “not party to the deal” despite “pleased that the decree was signed to encourage fewer Georgian voters to cast their ballots,” said Seth Bringman, spokesman for Fair Fight Action, the Abrams-founded constituency, said in one E-mail.
Hice claimed that since 10% of the Georgian electoral record of around 7 million people is inaccurate, “it means that 700,000 people who are illegal voters in Georgia have received a request for a ballot at the stadium.”
Facts first: There is no basis to claim that 700,000 “illegal” Georgian voters received a request to vote by post in 2020. The Hice Campaign Bureau and the Hice Convention Bureau did not respond to requests for comment on this claim or any of the other inaccurate claims contained in this article.
An official in Raffensperger’s office said Raffensperger said that around 10% of Georgian voters move every year, which means that their voter records need to be updated with their new addresses. But that is very different from 10% of Georgian voters who are “illegal voters”.
In addition, as noted above, every active Georgia voter was sent a ballot for the primary only, not the general election. In other words, Raffensperger’s bulk mailing of these requests could not possibly explain Trump’s defeat in November.
It is also worth noting that the Georgian voters who applied for postal voting in the general election had their signature verified before a vote was sent. If you vote by postal vote, your signature will be verified a second time.
Hice continued to denounce Georgia’s electoral practices, saying, “And then throw in the voter dropbox – where there are hundreds of dropboxes, most of which are not visited or monitored in any way. It was just an absolute disaster. “
Facts first: It is not true that Georgia Dropboxes were not “monitored in any way” in 2020. According to the state rules, all Dropboxes had to be subjected to video surveillance. They also had to be securely attached to the floor, withstand damage from vandalism or bad weather, and designed to be tamper-proof. There is no evidence that a Georgia Dropbox was compromised for fraudulent purposes in 2020.
A problem in an Atlanta arena
Hice said, “And then look at the Republican election observers who are sent home after a fake water pipe burst, and then those who were left pull out boxes of ballot papers and start counting.”
Facts first: There are three problems with this claim. First, there is no evidence of wrongdoing during the Fulton County election count that followed an election day water incident at the State Farm Arena in Atlanta that temporarily delayed the counting process. It is also misleading to call the incident a “Fake Water Main Burst” without additional context. The delay was caused by a very real leak from an overcrowded urinal, although the cause was actually inaccurately described initially as a broken pipe or defective water pipe. And Georgia’s chief election investigator Frances Watson, an employee of the secretary of state, said in December under penalty of perjury: “Our investigation found that observers and media were not asked to leave the post. They just walked alone when they saw that a group of workers whose job it was to just open envelopes and who had done that job left too. “
Hice added another vague claim about what happened in Georgia in 2020, saying there was “ballot harvest”. (Ballot harvesting is a derogatory term used to describe the practice of third parties collecting postal ballots from voters to be submitted on their behalf. Others call it “ballot collection”.)
Facts first: To date, almost five months after election day, no one has provided evidence of illegal “voting” in Georgia in the 2020 elections. The collection of ballot papers by third parties is not permitted in Georgia. An independent analysis by MITER Corporation’s National Election Security Lab, a nonprofit, found that Georgia had “no suspicious voting indicators” by 2020.
A 2019 law sponsored by Raffensperger allows Georgia postal ballot papers to be submitted by either the voter, various family members, or members of their household. It also allows disabled people to have their caregiver cast their ballots, and it allows people in jail or other detention facilities to have a facility employee cast their ballots. However, third parties are not permitted to collect voting papers from strangers.