Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said Monday that he has come under increasing pressure in recent days from fellow Republicans, including Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (S.C.), who he said questioned the validity of legally cast absentee ballots, in an effort to reverse President Trump’s narrow loss in the state.
In a wide-ranging interview about the election, Raffensperger expressed exasperation over a string of baseless allegations coming from Trump and his allies about the integrity of the Georgia results, including claims that Dominion Voting Systems, the Colorado-based manufacturer of Georgia’s voting machines, is a “leftist” company with ties to Venezuela that engineered thousands of Trump votes to be left out of the count.
The atmosphere has grown so contentious, Raffensperger said, that he and his wife, Tricia, have received death threats in recent days, including a text to him that read: “You better not botch this recount. Your life depends on it.”
“Other than getting you angry, it’s also very disillusioning,” Raffensperger said of the threats, “particularly when it comes from people on my side of the aisle. Everyone that is working on this needs to elevate their speech. We need to be thoughtful and careful about what we say.” He said he reported the threats to state authorities.
In their conversation, Graham questioned Raffensperger about the state’s signature-matching law and whether political bias could have prompted poll workers to accept ballots with nonmatching signatures, according to Raffensperger. Graham also asked whether Raffensperger had the power to toss all mail ballots in counties found to have higher rates of nonmatching signatures, Raffensperger said.
Raffensperger said he was stunned that Graham appeared to suggest that he find a way to toss legally cast ballots. Absent court intervention, Raffensperger doesn’t have the power to do what Graham suggested because counties administer elections in Georgia.
“It sure looked like he was wanting to go down that road,” Raffensperger said.
In an interview on Capitol Hill on Monday evening, Graham denied that he had suggested that Raffensperger toss legal ballots, calling that characterization “ridiculous.”
But he said he did seek out the secretary of state to understand the state’s signature-matching requirements. Graham said he contacted Raffensperger on his own and was not asked to do so by Trump.
“The main issue for me is: How do you protect the integrity of mail-in voting, and how does signature verification work?” he said.
“If he feels threatened by that conversation, he’s got a problem,” Graham added. “I actually thought it was a good conversation.”
On the same day that Graham spoke to Raffensperger about signature matching, a lawsuit was filed in federal court in Georgia challenging the way county election officials check signatures and allow voters a chance to fix ballots with errors.
The suit, filed by Atlanta lawyer and Trump supporter Lin Wood, seeks to block certification of Georgia’s election until all ballot envelopes are inspected.
Also that day, Trump tweeted about signature-matching in Georgia and criticized Raffensperger for his management of the state elections: “Georgia Secretary of State, a so-called Republican (RINO), won’t let the people checking the ballots see the signatures for fraud. Why? Without this the whole process is very unfair and close to meaningless. Everyone knows that we won the state.”
Raffensperger said he will vigorously fight the lawsuit, which would require the matching of ballot envelopes with ballots — potentially exposing individual voters’ choices.
“It doesn’t matter what political party or which campaign does that,” Raffensperger said. “The secrecy of the vote is sacred.”
Maybe one of the lawyers here can correct me... I think it is a standard legal argument that if one part of a thing is proven unreliable, the entire thing can be thrown out. That is the purpose of severability clauses.
I got a ticket dismissed (without prejudice) that way once. The officer had written June as the date of the alleged offense, and July as the date of the citation. I argued that since one of those was clearly in error, that called into question *all* of the information on the citation and it should be thrown out. The officer was not there to defend the citation and the judge dismissed the case (without prejudice (that was 18 years ago and I doubt the state will try it again)).
In any event, I think that's what Graham is trying to pull here. If a significant number of signatures cannot be matched, the whole lot should be thrown out.
But it's a pretty sinister way to try to annul an election. And the same should apply in places like Florida and the Carolinas where I-1 "won".
Some folks calling for an ethics investigaktion into Graham’s various calls.
Sen. Lindsey Graham, a staunch ally of the president, is the target of an ethics complaint after his controversial phone call with a key election official in Georgia over how the state counts ballots.
Georgia’s Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger accused Graham earlier this week of pressuring him to find ways to exclude or invalidate legally cast absentee ballots and reverse Trump’s loss in the state, an accusation the South Carolina Republican called "ridiculous."
Graham said he had also spoken with Arizona's Republican Gov. Doug Ducey and was briefed about the process in Nevada, both swing states that helped Joe Biden beat President Donald Trump for the White House.
The senator's contact with other states over election counting efforts came as Trump and his campaign have lodged multiple lawsuits over baseless voter fraud allegations in a longshot attempt to overturn the election results.