After a barrage of unfounded claims from President Donald Trump questioning various aspects of Georgia’s voting system, Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger fired back.
In a series of Facebook posts from the Secretary of State page, Raffensperger, a Republican, addressed claims about the makers of the state’s election system, Dominion, as well as claims made by the president about Georgia’s recount and absentee ballots system.
Raffensperger has faced a string of attacks. Last week he was under fire from his own party. Republican Senators Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue — both up for re-election in the Jan. 5 runoff — called for his resignation.
In a series of tweets over the past three days, Trump incorrectly claimed Georgia election officials are unable to verify signatures on absentee ballot envelopes because of a legal settlement known as a consent decree.
In a Saturday tweet, Trump claimed in a tweet: “The Consent Decree signed by the Georgia Secretary of State, with the approval of Governor @BrianKempGA, at the urging of @staceyabrams, makes it impossible to check & match signatures on ballots and envelopes, etc. They knew they were going to cheat. Must expose real signatures!”
But the reality is: nothing in the consent decree stops Georgia election clerks from scrutinizing signatures. The legal settlement signed in March addresses accusations about a lack of statewide standards for judging signatures on absentee ballot envelopes.
Raffensperger, in an uncharacteristically aggressive retort, drove this point home on Facebook, including a shot at former Rep. Doug Collins, a Republican who was gunning for the senate seat currently held by Loeffler. Collins, who didn’t get enough votes to make it into the runoff, has repeated Trump’s misleading claims about the Georgia recount.
“We strengthened signature match. We helped train election officials on GBI signature match — which is confirmed twice before a ballot is ever cast. Failed candidate Doug Collins is a liar — but what’s new?” Raffensperger’s post read.
“Our office has received multiple requests to match ballots back to voters — exposing how a Georgia voter has voted.” Raffensperger’s post read. “We stand ready to prevent any and all attempts from any party to intimidate voters. Georgia voters have a right to vote in secret without intimidation from any political candidate or party. ”
Rudy Guiliani’s claims of Dominion, the makers of Georgia’s voting system, having ties to Venezuela and China were also corrected by Raffensperger.
″**Dominion voting system** American owned. America. ’Merica,” Raffensperger’s post read. “Not Venezuela. #America.” Raffensperger’s post on the subject read.
Meanwhile, the state’s hand recount is moving at a rapid clip, with a Friday deadline for statewide certification. Thus far, the results do not look much different than they did before the recount began.
Collins responded to Raffensperger’s remarks in a tweet, saying, “In a year of political division in Georgia, few things have unified Republicans and Democrats — one of them is Brad Raffensperger’s incompetence as Secretary of State.”
Raffensperger said he has been pressured by fellow Republicans, including national leaders like South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, to find ways to exclude or invalidate legally cast absentee ballots and reverse President Donald Trump’s loss in the state, according to the Washington Post.
Raffensperger told the Post he was frustrated over allegations by President Donald Trump and others that the election had been somehow rigged or tainted by illegal votes. Raffensperger said Georgia’s ongoing hand-ballot recount would “affirm” the results of the election.
“Other than you getting angry, it’s also very disillusioning,” the secretary of state said of death threats he had and his wife had received from Republicans who blamed President-elect Joe Biden’s victory in the state on the Raffensperger.
Both the state’s Senate seats will be up for grabs in a January runoff election that will determine the balance of power in the upper chamber.
The stakes have elevated the temperature within the party and led to infighting, with the Republican incumbent senators from Georgia writing a letter to Raffensperger alleging unspecified claims of fraud.
Trump has also made repeated insinuations that the vote count in Georgia was somehow tampered with, without any evidence. There are no substantiated claims of voter fraud in the state.
Graham said Raffensperger’s insinuations were “ridiculous” when asked whether he had pressured the Georgia secretary of state to discard ballots.
“What I’m trying to find out was, how do you verify signatures on mail-in ballots in these states that are just the center of attention,” Graham said, saying he otherwise thought the two had had a “good conversation. I’m surprised to hear he characterized it that way.”
Raffensperger expressed concerns about insinuations that the state’s laws were too restrictive to vote in his interview with the Post.
“I don’t think it’s helpful when you create doubt in the election process,” Raffensperger told the Post. “People might throw up their arms and say, ‘Why vote?’”