He came to White County to talk about the many different programs his office runs for the people of Georgia, but he couldn’t avoid the topic most people wanted to hear about: the Georgia elections. Specifically, his handling of the 2020 presidential election and that infamous phone call to then-President Donald Trump in which he asked him to “find” 11,780 votes “because we won the state.”
Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger did not disappoint. Georgia’s top elections official spent part of his time at the White County Rotary Club on Tuesday, sharing details about his office’s investigation into voter fraud allegations. The gist of his comments was that they found none.
Secretary Raffensperger said his office has concluded through numerous audits and recounts over the past three years that there was no large-scale voter fraud, as some have claimed.
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Thousands of voters “skipped” the presidential race.
Raffensperger explained that in the 2020 presidential election, approximately 28,000 voters in Georgia “skipped” the presidential election entirely. Yet those same voters voted against electing other Republican candidates.
Georgia’s Republican congressional candidates received around 33,000 more votes than then-President Trump. Republican candidates running for Senate and House seats in the state received about 5% more votes than Trump.
Raffensperger pinpointed those numbers and said that in White County, about 70 people voted not for Trump but against him.
Dead people voting
After the 2020 election, Trump and his allies reported that 10,315 dead people voted in Georgia. After three years of investigating the allegation, the secretary of state said his office could only find four voters.
In several of these cases, the individual voter was deceased, but their spouse received the mail-in ballot, filled it out and returned it. In another case, an elderly person moved away, but the address for the mail-in ballot was not changed. The home buyer received the mail-in ballot, filled it out and returned it. Then that person voted again in their district.
Voting for minors
The Georgia Secretary of State’s Office also investigated allegations that 66,000 underage voters cast ballots in the 2020 presidential election.
This conspiracy arose out of apparent confusion over a state law that allows young adults to register to vote at age 17½ but not to vote until age 18.
According to Raffensperger, the people making these claims only looked at the year of registration and not the person’s age at the time of voting. He said his office has the date of birth and day-month-year of every registered voter in the state.
Election investigators determined there were no underage voters.
Another claim that emerged after the 2020 election said that 2,400 unregistered voters cast their ballots. Raffensperger again said his office had confirmed that every vote came from a registered voter.
A separate lawsuit claimed that over 2,000 felons voted.
After investigating that allegation with the Board of Pardons and Parole, Raffensperger said the state election board found that only 74 of them still had felony convictions and were ineligible to vote.
One of the most widespread election conspiracy theories centered on claims that ballots were counted twice at a counting center at the State Farm Arena in Fulton County.
State Farm was the location where poll workers Ruby Freeman and her daughter Wandrea “Shaye” Moss worked. The two have been maliciously vilified by Trump and many of his supporters for false claims of fraud in the ballot counting.
Raffensburger said his office investigated the matter and reviewed all surveillance footage and found no evidence that the ballots were counted twice. The GBI conducted its own investigation into the matter and came to the same conclusion.
Secretary Raffensperger said that President Trump actually “hand-picked” someone to look into the State Farm Arena claims. U.S. Attorney Bobby Christine was appointed to the Northern District of Georgia after U.S. Attorney BJ Pak resigned under pressure. Immediately after his appointment, Christine investigated the allegations of double counting of votes and said: “There was nothing there.”
The embattled secretary of state and his family faced threats following the 2020 election and his refusal to overturn the results. Still, Raffensperger won the GOP nomination and defeated his Democratic opponent to win re-election two years later.
As a key witness at the January 6 congressional committee hearings, Raffensperger has remained a steadfast supporter of election integrity.
“Election integrity and election security are my top priorities,” he told the few Rotarians in Cleveland.
Although the post-2020 presidential election investigation did not find widespread voter fraud in the state of Georgia, Raffensperger continued to support changes to the state’s election laws. He said bills passed by the Legislature requiring voter identification and election audits are intended to increase voter confidence in the process.
Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger visits White County election workers during his visit to the county on September 26, 2023. (Bryce Barrett/White County)
Raffensperger on Fulton DA, Dominion and MAGA
Following the Rotary Club meeting, Raffensperger spent a few minutes with Now Habersham covering a variety of topics.
He declined to comment on the ongoing election interference case currently before Fulton County Superior Court. Trump and 18 alleged co-conspirators were indicted on racketeering and other charges earlier this year. When asked for his opinion on the case, the foreign minister declined to comment “as it is an ongoing legal matter.”
Raffensperger defended the state’s use of Dominion voting machines. The process requires voters to vote on computer screens and then print out their paper ballots to scan. Groups like the Coalition for Good Governance have pushed in recent years to force the state to switch to paper-only voting.
“We introduced paper ballots in 2020,” he said, referring to the Dominion method. “We believe the best way to have an efficient and accurate election is to have the ballots scanned because it’s much quicker.”
Despite being threatened and vilified by many in Trump’s camp, Raffensperger refused to criticize MAGA. He said the group of Trump loyalists believes in conservative Republican principles, including “small, limited effective government” and getting “the maximum value for every tax dollar given to whoever holds the power of government.”
When asked if he has plans to run for higher office, Raffensperger told Now Habersham he is focused on next year’s election.
“Right now I’m focused on the 2024 election. We expect it to be closely contested. That’s why we carry out security checks in all 159 counties. We have to get this under control.”