Days before the May 24 primary, former U.S. Sen. David Perdue claimed that Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp didn’t do enough to ensure election integrity in 2020.
Purdue made a long list of allegations against Kemp during an interview with Breitbart, a conservative news website. But one in particular jumped out to us as wrong. Perdue said Kemp “allowed 7.5 million ballots to be sent to every registered voter.”
Perdue’s statement suggests that as governor, Kemp sent a mail ballot to every voter. Kemp did not do that, nor did Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger. In the spring of 2020, Raffensperger sent an application for a mail ballot to every active voter.
This line of attack fits into the falsehoods that Perdue and former President Donald Trump continue to perpetuate — that voting by mail is a scheme promoted by Democrats and their allies.
We contacted Perdue’s campaign to ask for his evidence and did not receive a response.
Kemp faces Perdue, who is backed by Trump, in the Republican primary for governor. If neither candidate wins more than 50% of the vote, the top two vote getters will advance to a June 21 runoff. The Republican winner will face Democrat Stacey Abrams in November.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic Secretary of State encouraged voting by mail
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit in the spring of 2020, it upended plans for primary elections.
Raffensperger announced in March 2020 that his office would send an application for a mail ballot to all 6.9 million active registered voters for the primary. (The primary date kept shifting but ultimately it was June 9.) A voter is “active” if they voted, updated or changed their voter registration or updated their driver’s license within the previous five years.
Each voter needed to decide whether to apply for a ballot and then sign and mail the application. Then, they needed to receive, sign and return the ballot. Local election officials checked their signatures against those on file in each case.
Raffensperger’s office also took steps to keep in-person voting safe, such as purchasing thousands of bottles of hand sanitizer and wipes for polling sites and helping counties recruit younger poll workers who were presumed to be at lower risk for COVID-19 than older volunteers.
Kemp was not involved in those decisions.
“Election administration in the state of Georgia falls under the authority of the Georgia Secretary of State per the Georgia Constitution,” Kemp’s campaign spokesperson Tate Mitchell said. “The governor does not play a role in that.”
About 1 million voters cast ballots by mail in the June 2020 primary. Voters who cast ballots in person the day of the election waited for hours in line at some sites.
Perdue’s other charges
Perdue made several other charges against Kemp in the Breitbart interview that are also inaccurate or partially wrong:
Perdue said Kemp allowed “drop boxes with no chain of custody, no security.” Kemp wasn’t in charge of drop boxes. Perdue also omits that the State Election Board required that drop boxes have security features. Nearly all of the counties followed the chain of custody rules which included filling out forms related to emptying ballot drop boxes.
Perdue said Kemp “allowed Zuckerberg to put $55 million” into Democratic counties for “mobile voting buses.” This is misleading. The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative gave $350 million to a nonprofit to distribute grants to local election offices nationwide. In Georgia, counties received a total of about $45 million, but that went to both Democratic and Republican counties and it wasn’t exclusively for mobile voting.
Kemp “allowed a consent decree” that “basically eliminated voter ID on absentee ballots.” That’s wrong. There was no consent decree. An agreement between election officials and Democratic groups spelled out the process for election officials to contact voters when an absentee ballot was rejected for a missing or mismatched signature.
Perdue said Kemp “allowed 7.5 million ballots to be sent to every registered voter.”
Perdue’s attack is directed at the wrong official, and it mischaracterizes what happened.
The Georgia secretary of state oversees elections.
In March 2020, that official — not Kemp — announced that he would send an absentee ballot application to the 6.9 million active voters in the state for the primary. An application for an absentee ballot is not the same as an actual ballot.
We rate this statement False.
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