Georgia voter group begins turning over registration data in inquiry

The New Georgia Project began turning over thousands of documents Friday to Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp as his office continues its investigation of voter registration fraud.

More documents are coming. The data CD delivered Friday afternoon contained “the first batch” of documents, a spokeswoman said, with more expected to arrive Monday.

Still, it was not clear whether the Democratic-backed group would turn over all the documents Kemp requested. The New Georgia Project announced an agreement to limit the scope of Kemp’s subpoena, and in a statement the group said it “has agreed to provide a defined set of materials in the continued spirit of transparency and cooperation.”

A spokesman for Kemp, however, said no agreement had been reached. It may take several days to sort through the electronic files to understand what’s there. Among documents requested were copies kept by the group of voter registration applications, as well as canvassing sheets.

“In the communications we had with them, they said they would give us documents starting today,” Kemp spokesman Jared Thomas said. “The scope has not been limited. This is just the beginning.”

If investigators eventually decide something is missing, they could go to court to seek a judge’s order.

Separately, the New Georgia Project also announced a partnership with the nonpartisan Election Protection, which will help new Georgia voters who submitted registration applications but have not yet received confirmation in the form of voter registration cards. It said voters can contact Election Protection to ask questions or report voter registration problems at 866-OUR-VOTE (866-687-8683).

Both sides have made efforts this week to cool off from heated comments made last week as Kemp’s office outlined its investigation of the group. Investigators so far have found 33 forged voter applications out of more than 85,000 submitted by the group.

Supporters of the New Georgia Project have accused Kemp of voter suppression and suggested he may be stalling the registration process for thousands of would-be voters for fear they may support Democratic candidates in several hotly contested races in the Nov. 4 general election.

Kemp, a Republican, has adamantly denied those claims, saying he began the investigation only after local elections officials raised concerns over about 100 individual forms they received from the group. Investigators said they have no evidence of conspiracy by the group’s leaders, but that the forged applications seem to be the individual work of canvassers paid by the group during its registration drive.

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