The letter, obtained by the Washington Examiner on Wednesday, was signed by 531 Republicans ranging from grassroots activists to precinct leaders, to delegates to the Georgia GOP convention, which is set to take place this weekend.
At the center of their letter is a request for an “independent forensic audit to take place through the convening of a Special Session.” The letter was sent to Kemp, who is also a Republican.
“We believe that anyone who has a problem with a statewide forensic audit in Georgia has something to hide,” the letter reads. “Our goals are simple: we want to discover the underlying problems that occurred last year and ensure that we never make those same mistakes again.“
When contacted about the letter, Kemp’s office told the Washington Examiner that he himself doesn’t “have the constitutional or statutory authority to conduct an audit of the 2020 election.”
President Donald Trump lost Georgia and its 16 electoral votes in his defeat to President Joe Biden. Multiple tallies of the votes and an audit of absentee ballot signatures found no widespread fraud and affirmed the results. Republican election officials have repeatedly confirmed the results, though Trump and many in his orbit insist on casting doubt on the legitimacy of Biden’s victory.
Kemp, as well as Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, both Republicans, became targets of Trump, who attacked them for their handling of the 2020 election and resisting his efforts to overturn the results.
The Republicans argue in their letter that“many in Georgia did not have” the “right to know that your vote counted” because “elected officials in both parties mishandled the 2020 presidential election, and as a result, the integrity of that election is in question.”
The letter, which also raises questions about the chain of custody of absentee ballots, was spearheaded by Rep. Vernon Jones, who is running for governor against Kemp, and Debbie Dooley, the founder of the Atlanta Tea Party. Jones has already vowed to pursue an audit of the 2020 election if elected to the governorship in 2022.
The letter also mentions the GOP-led Arizona Senate’s forensic audit of the 2020 election in Maricopa County, which has garnered criticism from county officials and Democratic Secretary of State Katie Hobbs and prompted concerns from the U.S. Justice Department. Critics point out that the results from two previous election machine audits, conducted for the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, showed no irregularities in the county’s 2020 election. There was also a recount of a sample of ballots that did not turn up any problems.
The Georgia Republicans’ letter specifically cites a May 12 letter from Arizona Senate President Karen Fann to Maricopa Board of Supervisors Chairman Jack Sellers in which she noted, “The audit team has encountered a significant number of instances in which there is a disparity between the actual number of ballots continued in a batch and the total on the pink report slip accompanying the batch.”
Kemp’s office highlighted the sweeping election reform bill he signed in March that Republicans touted as an important step toward enduring election integrity. Democrats insist the changes, including more hurdles for absentee voting, make it needlessly harder for people to vote, and they argue the push behind the Republican-backed measures is a consequence of Trump’s refusal to accept the election results.
“To ensure that it is easy to vote and hard to cheat in Georgia, Gov. Kemp was proud to sign S.B. 202 into law,” Mallory Blount, Kemp’s press secretary, told the Washington Examiner. “By requiring a photo ID to vote absentee, securing ballot drop boxes around the clock in all 159 counties, and ensuring continuous ballot tabulation on Election Day, Gov. Kemp took action to restore trust in Georgia’s election system. While Gov. Kemp was disappointed with the outcome of the 2020 election, he is laser-focused on ensuring that future Georgia elections are safe, accessible, and secure.”