Updated: Dec 5, 2020
By Joe Johnson
Oconee County Sheriff Scott Berry on Friday offered to help investigate allegations of voter fraud during the presidential election.
The offer, shared by the sheriff on his agency’s Facebook page, comes amid friction between President Donald Trump and Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger who on Wednesday, after two ballot recounts, stated, “It looks like Vice President Biden will be carrying Georgia, and he is our president-elect.”
Raffensperger, a Republican who identifies himself as a Trump supporter, also said that several investigations in Georgia have uncovered no evidence of widespread voter fraud, as the president has alleged.
Nevertheless, Berry told the secretary of state he and his deputies were prepared to help investigate the fraud allegations:
Dear Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger
I write to offer the assistance of Oconee County Sheriff's Investigators to investigate or followup on any reported or suspected voter fraud cases not only in Oconee County but Statewide.
You are an elected Constitutional Officer with broad powers, as am I. Media reports suggest you have over 250 reported cases of suspected voter fraud and less than 30 investigators. I am offering, at no cost, the services of our crime scene specialists and investigators to augment your own offices own capability to investigate said suspected offenses and report their findings to you, the local district attorney and our State Attorney General.
I suggest to you that calling upon the Sheriff's of this State to assist you is as easy as asking us. We stand ready to vigorously investigate voter fraud across this State and to ensure everyone's vote counts.
Our citizens deserve to have confidence in the election process. Please call on me if there is anything we can do to assist you in resolving these reported allegations.
Scott R. Berry
Sheriff, Oconee County
The sheriff’s official Facebook page is followed by 147,302 people who get reports of crime, acts of community service by deputies, and even jokes in their news feeds.
Berry’s letter to Raffensperger received mixed reactions by commenters on the Facebook page.
“Maybe I’m misreading this, but it sure sounds like you’re using your platform to promote Trump’s baseless conspiracy theories about a stolen election. Per AG William Barr- There were no instances of widespread voter fraud that could influence the outcome of the election. Trump lost. Biden won. Move on and start focusing your attention on useful endeavors that would actually help your community,” another person posted.
While some commenters simply posted, “God bless you!!!” and “Tremendous gesture by the Sheriff," others took Berry to task for perpetuating what are widely viewed as baseless allegations.
“How about not doing this," someone commented. "Lots of people follow your page because it’s usually funny. Please don’t start posting conspiracy crap. Even if there were 250 documented cases of voter fraud, Biden won GA by about 12,000 votes. Feeding into this nonsense is silly.”
Someone else posted similar sentiments: “Upholding the law is more important than losing an election. Inciting Oconee County residents to join in on your political opinion or aspirations is a violation of the ga constitution. I thought you were retiring... to be disruptive on the way out seems cheap unless you hope to sew lies and discontent into a higher office. That’s kind of shameful for someone who built trust in a burgeoning community.”