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GBI chief: Not enough evidence to pursue GOP's ballot fraud claim

Mark Niesse and Greg Bluestein, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on

Published in Political News

The head of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation told the state GOP chairman that there’s not enough evidence to pursue unsubstantiated claims of ballot harvesting in the 2020 elections based on cellphone signals collected by a conservative organization.

GBI Director Vic Reynolds wrote in a letter obtained by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Thursday that GPS signals alone, without any witnesses or perpetrators, fall short of meriting a fresh law enforcement inquiry.

“Based on what has been provided and what has not been provided, an investigation is not justified,” Reynolds wrote.

It’s the latest in a string of setbacks to allies of former President Donald Trump who have leveled false accusations of widespread voting fraud while seeking to overturn his narrow November election defeat in Georgia.

Reynolds’ letter to Texas-based True the Vote and Georgia GOP Chairman David Shafer came in response to their allegations that GPS data identified 279 cellphones that had made multiple trips to within 100 feet of ballot drop boxes between Oct. 1 and Jan. 5.

Georgia law prohibits ballot collections in which organizations collect and mail absentee ballots on behalf of voters. Only voters themselves or their relatives are allowed to handle their ballots.

 

“What has not been provided is any other kind of evidence that ties these cellphones to ballot harvesting,” Reynolds wrote in the Sept. 30 letter. “As it exists, the data, while curious, does not rise to the level of probable cause that a crime has been committed.”

Without probable cause, the GBI would be unable to obtain a search warrant to examine the same GPS data provided by True the Vote, Reynolds wrote.

The allegation of ballot collections is only one of a wave of unverified claims that Trump lost because of illegal behavior rather than receiving fewer votes than Democrat Joe Biden. Three ballot counts in Georgia showed that Biden defeated Trump by about 12,000 votes, and bipartisan election officials have said there is no evidence of irregularities that would put the outcome in doubt.

In the letter, Reynolds alluded to a third party that Shafer apparently suggested had proof of wrongdoing.

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