Georgia official announces investigations, defends election

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Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger speaks during a news conference on Monday, Nov. 30, 2020, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

ATLANTA – Georgia's top elections official announced investigations Monday into potential violations of election law even as he defended the integrity of the state's election against what he's said are baseless attacks.

Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger has repeatedly said there’s no evidence of systemic problems and said during a news conference at the state Capitol that his office investigates any credible claims of illegal voting and election law violations.

More than 250 cases are under investigation, but nothing so far seems likely to change the outcome of the election, Gabriel Sterling, a top official in Raffensperger's office, said during the news conference.

Raffensperger said there have been attempts to register ineligible people to vote ahead of a high-profile Jan. 5 runoff election for Georgia's two U.S. Senate seats. He said his office's 23 investigators also are looking into allegations of absentee ballot problems, as well as claims of people voting twice, people casting a dead person's ballot and non-residents voting.

But Raffensperger also punched back — as he has repeatedly since the Nov. 3 general election — at allegations online and in lawsuits that the state's election was marred by widespread fraud. President Donald Trump, who narrowly lost to Democrat Joe Biden in Georgia, is among those criticizing the state's handling of the election.

“There are those who are exploiting the emotions of many Trump supporters with fantastic claims, half-truths, misinformation and, frankly, they’re misleading the president as well, apparently,” Raffensperger said.

A sworn statement from a Republican official in Gwinnett County, in Atlanta's suburbs, says there were more absentee ballots than absentee ballot envelopes, Sterling said. A county spokesman didn't immediately respond to an email seeking comment Monday.

Raffensperger said investigators are also looking into specific allegations against four groups.