Cobb County added to state probe of voter registration fraud

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It’s a big year for politics in Georgia, with a governor up for re-election and an open U.S. Senate seat. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution is following it every step of the way.

Cobb County on Friday became the latest county to be included in a state investigation of voter registration applications submitted by a Democratic-backed group.

Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp, a Republican, opened the inquiry this week after receiving dozens of complaints about the New Georgia Project. Among the issues he cited were applications with inaccurate or false information, applications completed or "forged" after telephone conversations between voters and representatives of the group, and voters being told they were legally required to re-register to vote.

State House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams, D-Atlanta, founded the registration group in November, and she has identified fewer than 25 forms out of 85,000 submitted so far that are involved in the investigation. State officials, however, have repeatedly refused to give an exact number involved in the case.

Abrams and more than a dozen civil rights and religious leaders have vocally questioned this week's timing of Kemp's inquiry, which may not be resolved until after the state's Oct.6 voter registration deadline.

Abrams has also said the group had communicated frequently with Kemp’s office while undertaking the voter drive and had even pointed out problems with some forms that it had collected. State law requires those forms to be turned in anyway to local county registrars and vetted by the state office.

The addition of Cobb brings to 12 the number of counties reporting complaints now included in the inquiry. The others are Bartow, Butts, Coweta, DeKalb, Effingham, Gwinnett, Henry, Muscogee, Tatnall, Terrell and Toombs.

Abrams’ group has until Tuesday to respond to a subpoena issued by Kemp as part of the investigation. She has said the group is exploring its legal options.