Should GA Gov. Kemp use emergency powers to match signatures on ballots?
- Brian Kemp is Georgia’s 83rd Governor, elected into office on November 16, 2018. Prior to this, he was Georgia’s senator and Secretary of State, working to cut taxes and government spending, encouraging small business, and protecting families.
- Election Day was November 3, 2020. Before the majority of mail-in-ballots were counted of the battleground states, Trump was in the lead in Georgia, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania. By November 7, Biden overtook Georgia and Pennsylvania.
- As of Saturday, November 7, media channels like CNN, PBS, Fox News, and Facebook broadcasted that Biden won the election with 290 electoral votes against Trump’s 214 votes.
- Georgia’s election results identified Biden as the clear winner with 2,474,507 votes and Trump with 2,461,837 votes.
- Monday, November 30, President Trump tweeted asking Governor Kemp to use his emergency powers to override the Secretary of State to match ballot signatures to envelopes.
The fact that the Presidential election has not yet been officially called, even as we enter the final month of 2020, shows more than ever the importance of this election's results and the need for it to be clearly determined. Matching signatures is an effective way to ensure election integrity, something that many have argued was not upheld while counting votes for President. This is why Georgia Governor Brian Kemp should use emergency powers to require that ballot and envelope signatures match in the state's runoff Senate race.
Both sides of the political spectrum have reason to want signature verification. For Republicans, the Georgia Senate race is vital; if Democrats win it, they will have the 'trifecta' of power: House, Senate, and likely presidency. Democrats would be wise to call for signature verification, as well, so that if they ultimately win the Georgia Senate, it will be an undisputed victory, unlike the Presidential race. In other words, a clear winner would be best for all parties so that the country may have some sort of closure from this election cycle.
While Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger claimed signature matching is 'impossible because the ballots are separated from the envelopes when they are opened to protect voter privacy,' this appears to be an excuse not to utilize the process. A simple solution could be to match signatures as they are removed from their respective envelopes to minimize the possibility of voter fraud. It is also perfectly legal for Georgia election workers to consider signature legitimacy as President Trump noted about the matching process, 'So simple and so easy to do. Get it done!'
Using executive action to require a signature audit of ballots is tantamount to attempting to move the goalposts midway through a game. GA Governor Brian Kemp considering this measure, is doing exactly that. Moving in this direction simply because the candidate the governor supports did not win is frankly not a good enough reason. The first count shows Joe Biden as the winner in Georgia, as did the excruciatingly laborious hand count. Even though the hand recount did find irregularities, there weren't enough new votes for Trump to change the result, and Georgia has since certified the result. With another recount pending as requested by the Trump campaign, it's time Governor Kemp accepts the results.
Governor Kemp and those who dispute the election results, without being able to show credible proof of their allegations, are actively working to divide the nation and could be causing significant damage to our nation's future. The election has clearly been decided, and now is the time to unify and work to ensure a smooth transition that allows us to manage the multiple crises we currently face as a nation. Those who offer alternative realities and conspiracy theories, including those who are disputing the election results, make it more difficult for the Biden administration to transition smoothly into the White House and may throw the legitimacy of all future elections into doubt. Leaders like Kemp, who attempt to change the process when they don't like the outcome, risk eroding our democracy and weakening the core of our democracy.