Election investigators in Georgia looking into claims that thousands of dead voters cast ballots in the 2020 presidential election were able to find only four instances of this happening, according to a report.
In the aftermath of the contested 2020 presidential election, former President Donald Trump alleged that as many as 5,000 dead voters cast absentee ballots in Georgia's election, which he claimed was part of a larger effort by Democrats and Joe Biden to steal the election. But state election officials conducting audits and investigating allegations of voting irregularities have repeatedly failed to find evidence that substantiated Trump's claims.
The Georgia State Election Board conducted exhaustive reviews of dozens of allegations that dead voters cast ballots in the 2020 election. After the conclusion of the board's investigations this month, almost all voters were found to be alive. The board referred just four cases to the state attorney general's office, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Each of the four absentee ballots cast by dead voters was returned by relatives.
Once case involved a 74-year-old woman named Sharon Nelson, who submitted an absentee ballot on behalf of her late husband, William Nelson, after he died in September 2020.
“He was going to vote Republican, and she said, ‘Well, I’m going to cancel your ballot because I’m voting Democrat.’ It was kind of a joke between then,” Nelson's attorney, Barry Bishop, told the State Election Board. "She received the absentee ballot and carried out his wishes. ... She now realizes that was not the thing to do.”
Georgia election officials said there must be consequences for breaking the law, even if there was no malicious intent.
“Remorse is something we hear a lot, and it’s something I appreciate because sometimes we do make these mistakes unknowingly,” election board member Anh Le said during a Dec. 14 meeting. "However, the law is what it is."
Other cases involved two women who illegitimately submitted ballots on behalf of their recently deceased husbands. In the fourth case, a ballot was submitted for deceased Augusta voter Leon Rowe. Investigators found that the signature on his absentee ballot matched the handwriting of his mother, Alline Rowe, who herself died in October 2020.
At a recent telephone town hall, Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said that allegations that large numbers of dead people voted in the 2020 election were untrue.
“What I tell people is what really happened in Georgia, because we proved that none of that was what happened,” Raffensperger said.
Improper handling of absentee ballots can result in fines between $100 and $5,000 per violation, AJC reports.
The attorney general's office said it will continue to investigate the cases referred to it by the State Election Board.