Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said that Sen. Lindsey Graham suggested he should use his power to throw out absentee ballots in the state’s recount. A move that is casting doubt on whether or not the chairman of the Senate judiciary committee was openly asking state officials to commit fraud.
“It sure looked like he was wanting to go down that road,” Raffensperger told the Washington Post on Monday.
Raffensperger also said he was faced pressure from fellow Republicans to reverse Joe Biden’s 14,000-vote lead in Georgia by contesting signatures on ballots. “When Georgia voters return an absentee ballot, they have to sign an oath on an outer envelope. County election office workers are required to ensure the signature matches the one on the absentee ballot application and the one in the voter registration system,” Raffensperger said in a statement over the weekend.
Graham asked him whether political bias might have caused election workers to accept ballots with non-matching signatures and whether Raffensperger could throw out all absentee ballots in counties with higher rates of non-matching signatures, the secretary of state told the Post.
Graham denied he was trying to interfere with the recount by hand, but rather inquiring about the process and certainly didn’t intend to threaten Georgia’s secretary of state.
“I’m asking him to explain to me the system,” Graham told The Hill on Monday.
When asked why, as a senator from South Carolina, he’s talking to an election official from Georgia, Graham said that “it affects the whole nation,” adding that his conversation with Raffensperger wasn’t threatening at all.
“That’s just ridiculous. If he feels threatened by that conversation, he’s got a problem. I actually thought it was a good conversation,” he said, adding that “he learned a lot about” the process.
Several people have called for an investigation into Graham’s actions including the former director of the U.S. office for Government Ethics, Walter Shaub, who said “As Judiciary Committee chair, Graham oversees DOJ’s election crimes unit—whose chief resigned in protest of Barr authorizing investigation of election crimes before certification of election results. Let that sink in. Graham called Raffensperger before certification of results.”
Georgia election officials said Monday that the hand tally had turned up more than 2,500 votes in Floyd county that weren’t previously counted but that that won’t alter the overall outcome of the race.
The unofficial breakdown of the votes those votes was 1,643 for Trump, 865 for Biden and 16 for Libertarian Jo Jorgensen, according to Gabriel Sterling, a top elections official.
As of Tuesday Morning (11/17), President-Elect Biden maintains aforementioned lead over Trump with election results expected to be certified in within the next couple days in Georgia.