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In March 2020, Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger announced that the state would send an application for an absentee ballot to all 6.9 million active registered voters for the June 2020 primary due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Raffensperger did not send an actual absentee ballot to every voter. Georgia voters still had the option to vote in person instead of by mail.
Kemp had nothing to do with this process. Under Georgia’s constitution, the Georgia Secretary of State oversees elections.
Days before the May 24 primary, former U.S. Sen. David Perdue claimed that Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp didn’t do enough to ensure election integrity in 2020.
Purdue made a long list of allegations against Kemp during an interview with Breitbart, a conservative news website. But one in particular jumped out to us as wrong. Perdue said Kemp "allowed 7.5 million ballots to be sent to every registered voter."
Perdue’s statement suggests that as governor, Kemp sent a mail ballot to every voter. Kemp did not do that, nor did Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger. In the spring of 2020, Raffensperger sent an application for a mail ballot to every active voter.
This line of attack fits into the falsehoods that Perdue and former President Donald Trump continue to perpetuate — that voting by mail is a scheme promoted by Democrats and their allies.
We contacted Perdue’s campaign to ask for his evidence and did not receive a response.
Kemp faces Perdue, who is backed by Trump, in the Republican primary for governor. If neither candidate wins more than 50% of the vote, the top two vote getters will advance to a June 21 runoff. The Republican winner will face Democrat Stacey Abrams in November.
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit in the spring of 2020, it upended plans for primary elections.
Raffensperger announced in March 2020 that his office would send an application for a mail ballot to all 6.9 million active registered voters for the primary. (The primary date kept shifting but ultimately it was June 9.) A voter is "active" if they voted, updated or changed their voter registration or updated their driver’s license within the previous five years.
Each voter needed to decide whether to apply for a ballot and then sign and mail the application. Then, they needed to receive, sign and return the ballot. Local election officials checked their signatures against those on file in each case.
Raffensperger’s office also took steps to keep in-person voting safe, such as purchasing thousands of bottles of hand sanitizer and wipes for polling sites and helping counties recruit younger poll workers who were presumed to be at lower risk for COVID-19 than older volunteers.
Kemp was not involved in those decisions.
"Election administration in the state of Georgia falls under the authority of the Georgia Secretary of State per the Georgia Constitution," Kemp’s campaign spokesperson Tate Mitchell said. "The governor does not play a role in that."
About 1 million voters cast ballots by mail in the June 2020 primary. Voters who cast ballots in person the day of the election waited for hours in line at some sites.
Perdue made several other charges against Kemp in the Breitbart interview that are also inaccurate or partially wrong:
Perdue said Kemp allowed "drop boxes with no chain of custody, no security." Kemp wasn’t in charge of drop boxes. Perdue also omits that the State Election Board required that drop boxes have security features. Nearly all of the counties followed the chain of custody rules which included filling out forms related to emptying ballot drop boxes.
Perdue said Kemp "allowed Zuckerberg to put $55 million" into Democratic counties for "mobile voting buses." This is misleading. The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative gave $350 million to a nonprofit to distribute grants to local election offices nationwide. In Georgia, counties received a total of about $45 million, but that went to both Democratic and Republican counties and it wasn’t exclusively for mobile voting.
Kemp "allowed a consent decree" that "basically eliminated voter ID on absentee ballots." That’s wrong. There was no consent decree. An agreement between election officials and Democratic groups spelled out the process for election officials to contact voters when an absentee ballot was rejected for a missing or mismatched signature.
Perdue said Kemp "allowed 7.5 million ballots to be sent to every registered voter."
Perdue’s attack is directed at the wrong official, and it mischaracterizes what happened.
The Georgia secretary of state oversees elections.
In March 2020, that official — not Kemp — announced that he would send an absentee ballot application to the 6.9 million active voters in the state for the primary. An application for an absentee ballot is not the same as an actual ballot.
We rate this statement False.
RELATED: All of our fact-checks about Georgia
Breitbart, Exclusive -- David Perdue: pollsters not capturing new MAGA voters in Georgia, May 21, 2022
Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, Raffensperger Takes Unprecedented Steps to Protect Safety and Voter Integrity in Georgia, March 24, 2020
Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger Appoints Absentee Ballot Fraud Task Force, April 27, 2020
Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, Georgia Absentee Ballot Transfer Documents Accounted For; Three Small Counties Referred for Investigation, April 7, 2021
Georgia Public Radio reporter Stephen Fowler, Tweet, May 22, 2022
Georgia Public Radio, Fact Check: Fulton County Is Not Missing Ballots Or Hundreds Of Drop Box Custody Forms, June 17, 2021
Georgia Public Radio, 'It Was Very Chaotic': Long Lines, Voting Machine Issues Plague Georgia Primary, June 9, 2020
CNN, Fact-checking Trump's letter to Georgia secretary of state, Sept. 21, 2021
Washington Post The Fact Checker, Trump’s never-ending parade of election falsehoods, Oct. 12, 2021
NBC, Thousands of disinfectants sent to polling locations, Ga. secretary of state says, March 13, 2020
Atlanta Journal-Constitution, AJC EXCLUSIVE; Why the vote-by-mail debate is far from over in Georgia, April 15, 2020
Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Ballot drop boxes approved for Georgia voters during coronavirus, April 15, 2020
Georgia Secretary of State’s Office, Statement to PolitiFact, May 23, 2022
Telephone interview, Tate Mitchell, campaign spokesperson for Gov. Brian Kemp, May 23, 2022
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