Election officials investigate voter registration organization - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Election officials investigate voter registration organization


State election officials are investigating a group called The New Georgia Project in Butts County, Georgia.

The organization recently starting going door-to-door in Savannah getting people registered to vote, but the Secretary of State's Office said they are not registered under any of the state's organizations.

Representatives of the New Georgia Project say they are in compliance with the Secretary of State's Office, but they have yet to provide any documentation.

Police were called out to the headquarters on Saturday. Investigators say when they went inside they didn't find a business license or permit.

Police questioned them about being a non-profit organization, but officials never provided them with any proof.

Now, people want to know if this is a legitimate organization.

Brad Jones said he and a couple of students were recruited to work for about three days. They went door-to-door with voter registration forms, trying to get people registered to vote.

He said from the beginning he questioned the legitimacy of the organization and said there were many red flags, including telling people to vote at their polling station at Roosevelt School. But officials at the voter registration office say that place doesn't exist.

"No, there's no Roosevelt High School," said Sandra Williams, Director of Chatham County Voter Registration.

Jones said he even questioned organization officials about what they were doing with all the voter information they were collecting.

"She really couldn't tell me anything. They really act like you are not supposed to talk to them about stuff like that. Everything is pretty much a secret," said Jones.  

Investigators said it's not illegal to go door-to-door to get people registered to vote, but there are some rules that organizations are supposed to follow when it comes to the registration forms, which contains very sensitive information.

"It's when you take possession of them again that you really incur a lot of liability of them," said Chris Harvey, Chief Investigator with the Secretary of State's Office.  

Harvey said one of the main rules about getting people registered to vote is to make sure that people have the option to mail it in themselves or let the organization handle it.

 Jones said he went door to door for three days and never gave that option.

"The voter registration form that we were taking to the doors didn't have postage stamp on it," said Jones.  

He said the expectation was to collect 12 registration applications per shift, and all the registration forms had to be turned into the organization.

Those applications are then supposed to be turned into the Secretary of State's Office. Officials said if your application is handled correctly, you should receive a notification in the mail.

Chief Harvey says if you're going to give out that kind of information, be smart about it.

"Hopefully you would be convinced that it is a legitimate group and make some notes about who you gave it to and what organization it was that was doing it," said Harvey.

The New Georgia Project considers themselves to be non-profit organization but when WTOC asked them how they raise money, they were not able to answer the question.

Copyright 2013 WTOC. All rights reserved.


Powered by Frankly