Lauren Groh-Wargo, CEO of Fair Fight and Abrams’ campaign manager, speaks to members of the press outside the Richard B. Russell Federal Building in Atlanta on Tuesday, November 27, 2018. HYOSUB SHIN / HSHIN@AJC.COM

Voter protection group created to counter Georgia fraud investigations

Several voting rights and civil rights organizations formed a group Thursday to fight voter intimidation and counter Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger’s fraud task force.

The Voter Empowerment Task Force will monitor fraud investigations, collect reports from voters and share voter education information.

Its members include the voting rights group Fair Fight Action, the Georgia NAACP, the Black Voters Matter Fund and the Georgia Coalition for the People’s Agenda.

RELATED: Vote-by-mail fraud more a fear than a reality in Georgia

“Georgia has a long history of voter suppression and intimidation,” the Voter Empowerment Task Force said in a statement. “We will not sit idly by as the state’s top elections official abuses the power of his office to intimidate voters through a partisan collection of prosecutors.”

Raffensperger created his Absentee Ballot Fraud Task Force, made up of prosecutors and county election officials, last month to look into allegations that arise from widespread use of mailed ballots in Georgia’s June 9 primary. The task force includes members of both political parties, but Republicans outnumber Democrats.

Record numbers of Georgians plan to mail their ballots after Raffensperger sent absentee ballot request forms to the state's 6.9 million active registered voters, encouraging them to avoid in-person voting during the coronavirus pandemic.

“The secretary took the unprecedented step to help expand absentee ballot requests in the state of Georgia during COVID-19,” Deputy Secretary of State Jordan Fuchs said. “During this time, it is critical to ensure that every vote counts, once.”

Absentee ballot fraud is rare in Georgia, and when cases do come before the State Election Board, they’re usually minor or accidental, according to state records. Most cases involve election worker mistakes or improper ballot assistance.

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