Georgia Democrat Raphael Warnock has only been in the U.S. Senate for a few weeks, but he’s already under investigation in his home state. The Georgia State Election Board officially voted Wednesday to proceed with a probe into Warnock’s role as the board chairman of the New Georgia Project, a voter registration organization founded by Stacey Abrams. Officials say the group did not follow state deadlines and may have violated the law with their election misconduct.
Under the state’s election rules, registration groups like the one Warnock led must present voter applications to the state within ten day of having received them from a voter. Officials say, however, that during New Georgia Project’s 2019 efforts, more than 1,200 applications were turned in to the Gwinnett County elections office after the ten-day time period had expired. These allegations led the Board to vote 3-0 this week to refer the investigation to Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr.
In a statement, the group pretended not to know anything about the allegations against them.
“Today’s State Election Board meeting was the first time we heard about the allegations regarding NGP’s important voter registration work from 2019,” said CEO Nse Ufot. “We have not received any information on this matter from the Secretary or any other Georgia official.”
Forbes explains how we got to this point:
Abrams founded the organization in 2014 and has gone on to have several disputes with election officials. In 2018, she launched a well-publicized bid for Georgia governor but lost by about 55,000 votes to Republican Gov. Brian Kemp, who was then Georgia’s secretary of state. Abrams blasted what she said were voter suppression efforts Kemp undertook as secretary of state to aid his gubernatorial campaign, such as purging voter rolls. In December, Raffensperger announced an investigation into the New Georgia Project and other voter registration groups, claiming they “sought to register ineligible, out-of-state or deceased voters.”
Warnock, whose victory in a special election last month gave Democrats the majority in the Senate, cannot afford to be bogged down in a voter registration scandal. Because he ran to replace the appointed Kelly Loeffler, he will not serve a full term before going back up for reelection in 2022. If Georgia investigators find that he had a role in defrauding the state’s election laws, it’s going to weigh his campaign efforts down like an iron anchor.
And since Georgia Democrats are already upset with the bait-and-switch Biden just pulled with the $1,400 stimulus checks, it may not be long before Republicans beat Blue Georgia back into the red column.