Sept. 8 (UPI) -- Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said Tuesday he plans to prosecute about 1,000 people who possibly double voted in the state's June primary and August runoff.
He said these voters submitted a mail-in ballot and showed up at the polls to vote on election day. He called the potential double votes "unacceptable."
"Let me be clear -- it is a felony to double vote in Georgia, and we prosecute," Raffensperger said during a news conference.
He said his office will evaluate each case to determine whether charges will be leveled. The charge typically carries a sentence of up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $100,000.
Raffensperger said historically, Georgia receives about 5% of votes by mail.
"Now, we are looking at nearly 50%. As of today, we are looking at perhaps 900,000 votes that will be cast for the November election and we are still two months away."
His office said the 1,000 potential double votes weren't enough to affect the outcome of the primary or runoff elections.
Scott Hogan, the executive director of the Democratic Party of Georgia, told the Atlanta Journal Constitution that voter fraud is rare in the state.
"It is clear that rather than do his job of promoting the safety and security of our voting process, the secretary of state is instead pushing the GOP's voting conspiracy theories and disinformation," he said.
Many Democrats are pushing for states to allow all people to vote by mail in November as a way of limiting the further spread of the novel coronavirus. Some states allow only those who are out of state at the time of the election or those with physical limitations to vote by mail.
Advocates say anyone who fears catching the virus should be allowed to request a mail-in ballot.
Republicans, including President Donald Trump, have argued that increased voting by mail will increase the opportunity for voting fraud.
Trump came under fire earlier this month for encouraging voters in North Carolina to submit mail-in votes and vote in person, a felony in the state.
A study by Stanford University's Democracy and Polarization Lab in April, though, found that mail-in voting doesn't favor one political party over another, nor does it invite more frequent incidents of fraud.
Trump himself regularly votes by mail in Florida.
A Gallup poll released in April indicated that 70% of Americans favor allowing all registered voters to vote by mail.