Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger attempted to address ongoing concerns about the election irregularities related to the 2020 election during a call to City Hall for residents of northwest Georgia on Tuesday.
Following the 2020 presidential election, there were widespread allegations of electoral fraud and proposals that the election was stolen by former President Donald Trump, but during the 30-minute call, Raffensperger said investigations into the matter had proven these allegations false.
Raffensperger said investigators had examined every lead they received, whether it was allegations that the deceased cast their votes or claims that residents under the age of 18 cast their ballots. After an exam and two recounts – including a 100% handwritten recount – they found only four cases of someone voting instead of a deceased person, and no person under the age of 18 was found to cast a vote.
The four people who cast ballots for the dead will be put before the state election committee and prosecuted, he said.
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“Georgia is a leader in electoral integrity. In 2020, as a Republican, I was disappointed with the results and have a number of friends who have been,” Raffensperger said. “I understand that many of you mourn this, but we’ve checked everything and President Trump fell short. I think that’s because 28,000 voters didn’t vote in the presidential election.”
Instead, he said a majority of those voters had voted against in every other race and chose not to vote for Trump or Joe Biden, who won.
Raffensperger also addressed concerns about the accuracy of the Dominion Voting Systems machines in use in 2020. After the elections, rumors were widespread that the machine’s voices were swapped or manipulated by hackers connecting to the machines over the Internet. This, he said, was untrue.
Raffensperger said the Dominion machines were only connected to Wi-Fi during early voting to ensure voters weren’t voting in multiple counties, but he said they weren’t connected to the internet at all on election day. All equipment was also certified by the U.S. Electoral Aid Commission prior to that day.
“The test we did and the hand count of all 5 million ballots showed two things,” he said. “One is the accuracy of the machine, and number two is that the machines didn’t flip the voices.”
“The machines were solid. Nothing has changed. They weren’t hacked, ”he continued.
After the election, Georgia passed the Republican-led Electoral Integrity Act, also known as the Georgia Senate Bill 202, to revise the state’s elections. The bill has drawn widespread criticism from Democrats such as Georgia gubernatorial candidates Stacey Abrams and Biden, who in March called it “Jim Crow in the 21st Century”. Raffensperger addressed this criticism on Tuesday, arguing that the electoral integrity law was “very objective” and would ensure both the security of ballot papers and improved access to voters.
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The law extends the early election deadline to three weeks in all Georgia counties, adds two mandatory Saturday polling days, requires at least one postal voting box to be available in all counties, and tries to keep voter waiting times to less than an hour said to shorten. All mailboxes must be under the visual surveillance of an election worker, he said, and any district with waiting times longer than an hour must be split in half or additional equipment added before the next election.
“It also adds another accountability,” he said. “The state electoral committee can now review and intervene when a county habitually and consistently fails, as Fulton County has done since 1993. We can step in now and actually replace that electoral committee.”
Raffensperger said no ballot fill was found in Fulton County, as was suggested after the election. He said the State Farm Arena was monitored around the clock on election day, including during a “40- to 50-minute window” in which election officials thought they were done for the day. He said they put ballot papers in the ballot boxes around 10 p.m. on election day, believing they had finished the evening’s count. After learning that other counties were planning to continue working late into the night, they pulled the ballot papers out of the boxes so that they could too.
During this time, observers from both Republican and Democratic parties traveled to visit other districts. A monitor from the state also left to visit another tabulation center. However, video surveillance was carried out during her absence.
“This video surveillance was checked. Agents also came in and interviewed every employee who came by that night,” he said, noting that no evidence of fraud was uncovered. “It’s been over a year and we are still crushing that rumor.”
A caller asked Raffensperger about a $ 5 million grant that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerburg had provided and asked if that funding was being used to reach out to Democratic voters and urban counties. Raffensperger said this was not the case and the funds would instead be distributed across the country.
“We used the grant to reduce disinformation about elections on the Internet and to promote our electoral fraud hotline,” he said. “It didn’t go to a single county. It was a nationwide effort.”
Raffensperger is up for re-election this year and faces a key assignment for Republican Congressman Jody Hice, who was supported by Trump.
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Hice’s communications director Sarah Selip said she had no comment when she was contacted by the Times Free Press on Tuesday. Kaitlyn Branson, a representative from Hice’s campaign, didn’t respond to emails Tuesday.
Contact Kelcey Caulder at email@example.com or 423-757-6327. Follow her on Twitter @kelceycaulder.