'Don't Game Our System': Officials Warn People About Moving to Georgia to Only Vote in Senate Runoffs

With the upcoming Senate runoff races in Georgia upcoming, state officials warned people against moving to the Peach State simply to vote in the election.

In a press conference, reported by WSB-TV, voting system implementation manager Gabriel Sterling said the state would welcome people looking to make the state their permanent residence. But he also said that it may get messy if people moved in after already voting in another state.

"Let me be clear about this: If you want to move to Georgia and be a part of the number one state in America to do business, we are happy to have you. It's great to have you come in," Sterling said. "But if you are here for the sole sake of politics, if you voted for Senate in one state and moved here to another state—I know that's another thing that could potentially go before the courts because you've already cast a vote for a body that could be seated in January. Don't game our system."

Sterling pointed to people such as former Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang, who announced that he would move to Georgia to canvas ahead of the runoffs— although Yang does not plan to vote, according to WSB-TV.

In a press release from Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, the secretary of state's office also pointed out that moving to the state just to vote could be considered voter fraud and is punishable with up to 10 years in jail and a $100,000 fine.

"We thoroughly investigate every single allegation of voter fraud. Anyone is welcome to move to the state named the No. 1 place to do business. However, let me warn anyone attempting election mischief: If you illegally participate in our elections, you might be spending a lot more time in Georgia than you planned," Raffensperger said in a statement.

Deputy Secretary of State Jordan Fuchs also offered a more-to-the point warning. "Do you value your freedom? If so, don't commit voter fraud in Georgia," Fuchs said in a statement.

Georgia's runoff elections are scheduled for January 5 and will see incumbent Republican Senators Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue up against Democratic candidates Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff, respectively. The runoffs will determine whether Democrats or Republicans control the Senate.

As previously reported, a youth non-profit if offering assistance to teenagers who were too young to vote in the general election but will turn the age of 18 before the January 5 runoff elections. Up to 23,000 teens can register to vote prior to the election.

The Georgia Secretary of State's office did not respond to Newsweek's request for comment in time for publication.

Georgia Runoff
Family and supporters hold runoff signs as Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Rev. Raphael Warnock speaks during an Election Night event on November 3, 2020 in Atlanta, Georgia. Jessica McGowan/Getty