Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said Monday that Sen. Lindsey Graham pressured him to find a way to toss out legally cast ballots in the state’s close election between President Donald Trump and President-elect Joe Biden.
Speaking to The Washington Post, Raffensperger – a fellow Republican – said he talked to Graham, who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee, on Friday and the South Carolina senator asked if he could toss out every mail-in ballot from counties that have higher rates of non-matching signatures.
‘It sure looked like he was wanting to go down that road,’ Raffensperger told the newspaper, expressing disbelief that Graham wanted him to disenfranchise large swaths of Georgia voters.
Georgia’s Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said he felt like Sen. Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican, was pressuring him to find a way to toss out swaths of legally-cast ballots in the 2020 presidential race
Graham denied Raffensperger claims saying, ‘If he feels threatened by that conversation, he’s got a problem.’ Graham said he wasn’t doing President Donald Trump’s bidding when he called Georgia’s secretary of state to ask about the state’s signature laws
President Donald Trump, photographed golfing at his Virginia club on Sunday, has refused to concede the presidential race to President-elect Joe Biden. Georgia was one of two previously red states that looks to have flipped in favor of Biden
Georgia has a signature-matching law for ballots.
Graham also asked Raffensperger if he believed political bias could have clouded poll workers’ judgements when signatures didn’t match.
On Capitol Hill, Graham told reporters he talked to Raffensperger about ‘how you verify the signatures, about voting machines and all that good stuff.’
Graham scoffed when he heard that his conversation with Raffensperger had left the Georgia secretary of state unsettled.
‘I think that’s just ridiculous,’ Graham said. ‘If he feels threatened by that conversation, he’s got a problem. I actually thought it was a good conversation.’
Graham also said he didn’t ‘trust The Washington Post on anything.’
‘So he needs to call me, tell me that,’ Graham continued. ‘Until he calls me and tells me that, I’m not going to believe a word.’
The South Carolina senator said he initially made the call to the Georgia official ‘because it affects the whole nation.’
He denied he doing so at the behest of Trump and told reporters he hadn’t spoken to the president in a week.
Raffensperger doesn’t have the power without court intervention to toss out a full county’s count of absentee ballots, because the counties are in control of the elections in the state.
‘Other than getting you angy, it’s also very disillusioning,’ Raffensperger said of the behavior he’s witnessed, 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 we say,’ Raffensperger continued.
He said he’s reported death threats to state authorities, including a text message that read, ‘You better not botch this recount. Your life depends on it.’
Biden is currently ahead of Trump in Georgia as the state goes through a hand recount.
The Democrat had about a 14,000 vote lead in what had been a traditionally red state.
That has caused backlash against Raffensperger with members of his own party.
One individual in particular, Rep. Doug Collins, Raffensperger reported as being particularly ugly.
Collins ran an unsuccessful Senate bid forcing the race between Sen. Kelly Loeffler and Democrat Raphael Warnock into a run-off.
Since his loss, he’s been in charge of rooting out election fraud in state on behalf of Trump, who refuses to concede the presidential race to Biden.
Raffensperger told The Post that Collins was a ‘liar’ and a ‘charlatan.’
‘I’m an engineer. We look at numbers. We look at hard data,’ Raffensperger said. ‘I can’t help it that a failed candidate like Doug Collins is running around lying to everyone. He’s a liar.’
Raffensperger feared that questioning the state’s voting infrastructure – including Dominion Voting Systems, which Trump has railed against – could negatively impact the state’s two January run-offs, potentially keeping Republican voters home.
‘I don’t think it’s helpful when you create doubt in the election process,’ Raffensperger said. ‘People might throw up their arms and say, ‘Why vote?’