Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said in multiple interviews on Monday that Sen. Lindsey Graham, a top Trump ally, asked him to effectively tip the scales in Georgia’s presidential election in President Donald Trump’s favor.
Among the more shocking allegations Raffensperger put forward is that Graham, who just won re-election in South Carolina, asked him if it was possible to throw out all mail ballots in counties with high rates of non-matching signatures. Georgia requires signature verification between the voter’s ballot and registration files as part of its vote-by-mail process, but Trump has falsely claimed it’s impossible to accurately check.
“He just took it in a direction that I didn’t expect it to go,” Mr. Raffensperger told the Wall Street Journal.
Graham denied explicitly asking Raffensperger to do that, claiming he just wanted to understand Georgia’s process and saying Raffensperger’s characterization of their conversation was “ridiculous.”
“The main issue for me is: How do you protect the integrity of mail-in voting, and how does signature verification work?” Graham told the Post Monday. “If he feels threatened by that conversation, he’s got a problem.”
Other Georgia Republicans have attacked Raffensperger for refusing to indulge the Trump campaign’s conspiracy theories about Georgia’s election. Both of the state’s GOP senators, Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue, called on him to resign last week—at Trump’s urging, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution— which Raffensperger has refused to do.
More recently the state’s top elections official has taken to Facebook to respond to the Trump campaign’s attacks on Georgia’s process, including a now-deleted post where he called Georgia U.S. Rep. Doug Collins, who is leading the Trump campaign’s recount efforts and has heavily criticized Raffensperger, a “failed candidate.” Collins finished in third place in one of Georgia’s two U.S. Senate elections earlier this month.
“I’m an engineer. We look at numbers. We look at hard data,” Raffensperger told the Washington Post. “I can’t help it that a failed candidate like Collins is running around lying to everyone. He’s a liar.” Collins responded to the Post’s request for comment by linking to a tweet referring to Raffensperger’s “incompetence”:
Raffensperger also told the Post that he and his wife have received death threats, including a text that read: “You better not botch this recount. Your life depends on it.” Raffensperger reported the threats to state authorities, he told the Post.
“Other than getting you angry, [the attacks are] also very disillusioning, particularly when it comes from people on my side of the aisle,” Raffensperger said. “Everyone that is working on this needs to elevate their speech. We need to be thoughtful and careful about what we say.”