Can state boards, county boards, or anyone else use their administrative powers to flip the election results? After the November election, a majority of Republican Congressmen and attorneys general signed efforts that would have invalidated millions of votes and sparked a constitutional crisis. With this in mind, it seems naive to assume that no one would try to abuse them Power, whether in Georgia or elsewhere.
Well worth going back to Mr. Trump’s infamous phone call. While the oft-quoted line about “finding” votes makes it seem like he wants Mr. Raffensperger to create votes from scratch, Mr. Trump said he had already found the votes in the form of thousands of ballot papers, which he said was illegal occupied:
“We have all the voices we need. You know we won the state. If you took these are the minimal numbers, the numbers I gave you, these are numbers that are certified, your postal voting to free addresses, your out-of-state voters, 4,925. You know when you add them up it’s way more often, it’s number 11,779 many times over. “
In addition to the 4,925 outside-of-state voters mentioned, Mr. Trump unfounded in the solicitation alleged that there were hundreds of thousands of postal ballot papers with forged signatures. He claimed, based on incomplete matches between electoral rolls, that there were 4,502 voters who voted but were not registered; 18,325 voters with free addresses; 904 voters who only have a P.O. Box address; and nearly 5,000 votes from the dead. And with virtually no evidence to back it up, he claimed he was guilty of grave maladministration in Fulton County, Atlanta, including 18,000 votes relating to someone who did something vicious and “£ 3,000” shredded ballots.
County and state electoral officials have a variety of powers that are relevant to such claims. They evaluate whether ballot papers should be accepted or rejected and certify the results. In Georgia they hear about eligibility challenges. It would have been difficult to use those powers to aid Mr Trump, let alone survive a subsequent legal challenge. But there are levers that they could at least have pulled, even if it is not clear what would have become of them.
One possibility is that the State Board may have usurped Fulton County’s power based on the president’s allegations in the general election and other primary allegations (the law requires proof of failed administration in at least two elections in the last two years). . The State Board could either have used the President’s allegations as a basis to refuse to confirm the result or otherwise disqualify eligible voters.
It would be difficult, if not impossible, to pull this off immediately after an election. The law requires a rather lengthy consultation process before the state can interfere in the state elections. The preliminary hearing cannot take place at least 30 days after an initial petition that is past the Georgia certification deadline. But perhaps a nefarious board of directors could lay the groundwork sooner and potentially bring a newly appointed superintendent under control before the elections if he or she had the opportunity to preventively disqualify voters and ballots.
The county’s electoral bodies heard similar eligibility challenges during the Georgia runoff election. The state Republican Party and a Texan group challenged the eligibility of hundreds of thousands of voters in December based on whether a voter matches someone on the list of people on the Postal Service’s National Change of Address Register. A couple of small counties, actually went through trying to invalidate voters on that basis.
This permission challenge was declined by Leslie Abrams Gardner, U.S. District Court judge who happens to be the sister of Stacey Abrams, who narrowly lost the Georgia Governor’s 2018 race to Brian Kemp. While the runoff challenge stalled, it is not apparent that there is iron protection against eligibility challenges, either as a precedent or federal law. A closer challenge could have had a better chance of surviving a legal challenge. And the new Georgian law eases these kinds of challenges by allowing a single person to question the eligibility of an unlimited number of voters.