Linn Wood is suing the Georgia Secretary of State and State Election Board for entering into an agreement with the Democrats to put an absentee ballot process in place for the 2020 election that was in direct conflict with Georgia law. Wood claims the “Compromise and Settlement Agreement and Release” put in a process that complicated the signature validation process and made it less likely defective absentee ballots would be identified by the county officials. The Agreement also allows clerks to use “additional guidance and training materials” drafted by the Democrat Party, in violation of Georgia law.
Wood, a well-known conservative lawyer, explains the legal issue well, “Because the United States Constitution reserves for state legislatures the power to set the time, place, and manner of holding elections for Congress and the President, state executive officers, including but not limited to Secretary Raffensperger, have no authority to unilaterally exercise that power, much less flout existing legislation.”
The Georgia legislature set out a clear instruction for processing absentee ballots in O.C.G.A § 21-2-386. It requires the registrar or clerk to write the day and hour each absentee ballot was received and compare the identifying information on absentee ballot to the information in the voter rolls. The signature on the ballot must match the voter’s signature on their voter card and application for absentee ballot. If the signature on the ballot matches both the voter card and application for absentee ballot, and the other identifying information matches, the registrar or clerk must sign or initial their name below the voter’s oath. The registrar or clerk also must keep a numbered list of absentee voters and write the name of the voter whose ballot was certified on the numbered list.
The “Compromise and Settlement Agreement and Release” says that instead of one clerk or registrar matching the signature, three clerks or registrars must agree the signature doesn’t match. Lin argues this creates an overly bureaucratic process and reduces the chance a defective absentee ballot will be identified.
To verify signatures, the “Agreement” tells the election clerks to use “additional guidance and training materials” drafted by the Democrat Party’s “handwriting and signature review expert”. Obviously, there are problems with allowing one political party to determine the guidelines for signature matching while not allowing the other one to submit guidance. It is also inconsistent with Georgia law.
Wood is asking the courts to prevent Georgia from certifying the results of the election or order the 2020 general election in Georgia defective.