In what can only be seen as an attempt to intimidate elections officials, the Georgia Democratic Party sent a letter to individual county Board of Elections members threatening legal action unless they vote to certify upcoming elections – even if the board member has legitimate concerns about the results.
Through an Open Records Request, we received a copy of a troubling letter that was sent to County Elections Officials in Georgia by Matthew Weiss, Deputy General Counsel for the Democratic Party of Georgia (“DPG”). In this letter, the Democratic Party is making claims that none of the attorneys we contacted believe are valid. But the most disturbing portion of the letter comes at the end, when the Democrats strongly imply that they will use lawfare to ensure that election results are not scrutinized too closely. Most election officials we contacted felt threatened by the language used in the letter, especially since the threat is aimed not at the board in general but instead targets specific board members, calling them out by name.
In Georgia, the position of Election Superintendent for each county is held either by one person or, in larger counties, by a board composed of volunteers. Officially called the Board of Registrations and Elections, these members each swear an oath, a portion of which reads:
“I will to the best of my ability prevent any fraud, deceit, or abuse in carrying on the same, and that I will make a true and perfect return of such primaries and elections …”
Election Superintendents perform many tasks, but by far one of the most important and closely watched is the job of certifying election results. In Georgia, results are certified initially at the county level, and Election Board members have the sole responsibility for verifying the validity of the election through this certification process.
These Board members are normal citizens trying to do a very important job, and the idea that they could be personally sued by the Democratic Party of Georgia is egregious. We have seen the tremendous cost involved in defending oneself from such a lawsuit – not just financial costs, but time and emotional costs as well. Imagine being faced with the very real possibility that you could lose your family’s life savings fighting such a case, even one without merit.
And such is the hope of the Democratic Party of Georgia. That these appointed citizens will buckle under the threat of lawfare and rush to certify an election even if they have unanswered questions. Ignoring much of Georgia elections law, the carefully worded letter pulls select snippets and draws the absurd conclusion that certification is simply a “ministerial task performed by members of the Board of Elections and is not subject to their discretion.” If such were the case, why would so much attention be paid to the certification process? And why even require the members to vote on the certification?
It is Orwellian to demand that election officials certify an election even if they have unanswered questions about the vote. But such action, it seems, is the aim of the Georgia Democratic Party. The letter concludes with this chilling paragraph:
“The DPG implores all members of the Board of Elections to approve certification of [the] County’s election results going forward, and in particular for the various elections that will be held in 2024, to avoid unnecessary legal challenges and disputes.”
Truth, fairness and honesty relish transparency. We wonder what election activities the Democratic Party of Georgia is planning that they are trying to hide.
A copy of one of the letters from the DPG, redacted to protect the target of the threat, is included below.1-3-24-DPG-Letter-Redacted