FILE - Georgia state Sen. Brandon Beach

Georgia state Sen. Brandon Beach, R-Alpharetta Content Exchange

(The Center Square) – Four Republican state senators are calling for a special legislative session to review Georgia's voting system before the U.S. Senate runoff elections in January.

The group of senators urged Gov. Brian Kemp and General Assembly leaders to hold a session to "address structural issues" with the state's voting system before the Jan. 5 election. The next legislative session is scheduled to convene Jan. 11, according to law.

"Furthermore, we need to address directives from the Secretary of State and State Election Board that attempt to replace conditions of Georgia law," said Tuesday's joint statement from Sens. Greg Dolezal, R-Cumming; William Ligon, R-Brunswick; Brandon Beach, R- Alpharetta; and Burt Jones, R-Jackson.

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County election workers started a second recount of the state's presidential race results Tuesday after a request from President Donald Trump. Under Georgia law, a candidate can request a recount if the losing margin is less than a half-percent. Results show presumptive President-elect Joe Biden won the race by more than 12,000 votes. The second recount will be completed next week.

Trump has made claims about voter fraud and raised questions about absentee ballot signature verification in Georgia. One of his supporters, Atlanta attorney Lin Wood, made a failed attempt to stop the election certification over the verification process. Jones, Dolezal, Beach and Ligon want the Legislature to consider adding a photo identification or notary requirement for absentee votes. They also are calling for a legislative review of any evidence of voter fraud.

The secretary's state office has launched investigations but has not confirmed a mass occurrence of voter fraud. Officials have reaffirmed the Nov. 3 election was conducted according to law. Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger and Kemp, however, have shown support for the photo identification requirement. Kemp requested Friday a sample audit of the signatures on the envelopes sent with absentee ballots.

When an absentee ballot request form is received via mail by county election offices, workers compare the signature on the request form to the voter's signature on file. The state's online portal for absentee ballot requests requires voters to use their driver's license number to confirm their identity, officials said. The ballot is returned in a discreet envelope that voters sign, agreeing to an oath.

The group of senators also cited concerns over more than 5,000 uncounted votes being discovered during the first recount and audit of the presidential race.

"This call should allow for changes to existing law to ensure that we never again miss the counting of thousands of ballots in any Georgia county as we all witnessed last week," the senators said.

Two U.S. Senate races in Georgia – Republican incumbent David Perdue versus Democrat challenger Jon Ossoff and Republican incumbent Kelly Loeffler versus Democrat Raphael Warnock – will compete in runoff elections in January. Those races will determine which party holds the majority in the U.S. Senate moving forward.

Leaders of the General Assembly, Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan and House Speaker David Ralston, did not respond to requests for comment Wednesday.

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