US Election 2020

US election 2020: did Republicans push to discard legal votes in Georgia?

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger has blown the whistle on some allegedly appalling behaviour from the Republicans overseeing the recount.

US election 2020: did Republicans push to discard legal votes in Georgia?
DUSTIN CHAMBERS REUTERS

It's been alleged that fellow Republicans pressured a Georgia election official to throw out legally cast ballots, in their latest effort to alter the result of the election in favour of their candidate, Donald Trump. In the days since the unanimous call by all major news networks that Joe Biden won the presidential race, Republicans have mounted full-scale and far reaching legal attacks in key states where Trump lost. Legitimate evidence of voter fraud has yet to be presented and all efforts so far have ended in being dismissed, dropped or denied so far, apart from one, which excluded a small number of ballots in Pennsylvania which hadn’t yet been counted.

On Friday 13 November, a full hand recount in the entire state of Georgia begun. Raffensperger announced the recount last Wednesday, 11 November. Biden currently leads in Georgia by around 14,000 votes in nearly five million cast. In a recount the total usually doesn’t adjust by more than few hundred votes either way. In Floyd County yesterday 2,600 uncounted ballots were discovered, with 800 going to Trump and the other 1,800 to Biden. This will not alter the overall result in the county, or the state. Today another 2,755 votes were found in Fayette County, and similarly when counted will not affect the outcome in the state.

All eyes on Georgia recount

Criticism by fellow Republicans of Georgia’s Secretary of State and top election official, Brad Raffensperger began as soon as it became clear Biden was pulling into the lead, reports the Washington Post. First, claiming that he had “failed to deliver honest and transparent elections,” Georgia’s two senators demanded that he resign. Trump soon sent in one of the state’s GOP congressmen to lead his effort to find evidence of fraud.

No Democratic candidate has won in Georgia since 1992 but after the first count Biden had successfully flipped the state. If Trump miraculously wins Georgia back from Joe Biden’s grasp, it would award him all of the state’s 16 electoral votes, adjusting his tally to 248 and Biden’s to 290. Biden would still win the election by 20 Electoral College votes.

In the face of increased scrutiny from Trump’s entourage Raffensperger has stayed firm. “People are just going to have to accept the results," he said Wednesday. "I'm a Republican. I believe in fair and secure elections."

Raffensperger: Trump messenger “liar” and “charlatan”

Then on Monday evening things really heated up. The Washington Post reported that Raffensperger had made some serious allegations about misconduct from Republicans overseeing his hand recount of almost five million ballots. After revealing that he is receiving death threats in the mail including one reading, “you (sic) better not botch this recount. Your life depends on it,” Raffensperger accused Senator Lindsey Graham, the Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee had questioned the validity of legally cast ballots.

Referring to a conversation he had with Graham on Friday, Raffensperger claims that the Senator not only asked whether political bias could have prompted poll workers to accept ballots with non-matching signatures, but also whether Raffensperger had the power to throw out all mail in allots in counties that were found to have higher rates of nonmatching signatures. Needless to say, this practice would serve to disenfranchise potentially millions of legally cast, valid votes. Graham has called the assertion “ridiculous.”

He went on to call Republican Douglas Collins, who’s responsible for leading the Trump administration’s efforts in Georgia a “liar” and a “charlatan.”

In response a spokesman for Collins simply linked to a tweet in which he called Raffensperger incompetent.

Donald Trump has been attacking Georgia’s election integrity on social media, criticising officials for not allowing inspection of ballot envelopes for signature-matching. Raffensperger says that this practice would potentially reveal voter’s identities. “It doesn’t matter what political party or which campaign does that,” Raffensperger said. “The secrecy of the vote is sacred.”

The secretary of state also warned that  Republican attacks on Dominion voting machines could create issues for the state’s Republican senators, Loeffler and David Perdue, who face runoffs on Jan. 5 that will be administered using the same Dominion machines

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