Georgia’s Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger is beginning to frustrate and anger President Donald Trump’s supporters with his “nothing-to-see here” sleight of hand regarding the audit of ballots in the 2020 election. Everything isn’t all peachy as he claims.
On Wednesday, Raffensperger announced a full hand recount of every single ballot that was submitted, “complete with a full audit and recanvas.”
“Georgia’s election result will include legally cast ballots — and ONLY legally cast ballots. Period,” he claimed.
Election officials promised the Trump campaign that all ballots would be counted by hand instead of high-speed scanners. It was supposed to be the first time a full vote audit had ever been conducted in the state.
Election watchdogs and voters were elated, especially after reports of irregularities, but on Friday election officials pulled a bait-and-switch. Only one credentialed GOP monitor was allowed for each ten counting tables, making any recount useless, according to David Shafer, Chairman of the Georgia Republican Party.
“Congressman Doug Collins and I asked for a one-to-one ratio yesterday but our request was refused,” Shafer said.
GOP Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel tweeted Friday: “Why have Georgia counties been told to certify results by 5 p.m. tomorrow (before the recount is finished)? Why isn’t signature review part of the process? If the SOS’s stated goal is to “build public confidence,” these issues need to be addressed.”
“You stated yesterday that the process would be “an audit, a recount and a recanvass all at once” and would help “build public confidence.” However, the training and directives issued today do not comport with your stated goals yesterday and do not satisfy our concerns that gave rise to our request for a hand count in the first place,” wrote Shafer and Collins.
Their issues include:
- The audit does not include a review of signatures on absentee ballot applications and ballot envelopes to confirm the validity of the statutory signature verification process by the counties.
- We have concerns about meaningful access to the auditing process by our designated monitors. Your office announced today that the state parties can designate only one reviewer for every 10 audit teams. That makes it impossible for hand count decisions to be reviewed in real time.
- We are very troubled by the directive issued today that counties must certify their results by 5:00 P.M. tomorrow. Given that the audit and recount will necessarily still be ongoing, it is completely improper for counties to be directed to certify the accuracy of the results before the audit and hand count are completed.
- We had expected to receive by yesterday the parameters for the hand count in order to provide sufficient time to the public of the process to be followed. However, your training and guidance were issued only within the last few hours and the counties are directed to start the audit tomorrow.
- The security of the paper ballots is critically important. Aside from a single passing reference about security during today’s training, the Secretary of State’s office provided no substantive guidance regarding the necessity of maintaining the security of the ballots, the transporting of ballots, and documenting the chain of custody as required by law.
“We appreciate your decision to proceed with the hand count as well as your public commitment to transparency and openness. The purpose of this letter is to identify the ways in which the announced process is counter to that intended purpose,” they concluded.
Raffensperger has pushed back on challenges to the vote count, suggesting that reports of fraud are unsubstantiated, and insists any review is unlikely to change the outcome. Unofficial results show Democratic presidential hopeful Joe Biden leading Trump by about 14,000 votes.
Yet only 0.3% of Georgia’s 1.3 million absentee ballots were rejected for signature mismatches,” Georgia Republican Congressman Jody Hice, tweeted Wednesday. “In 2018, 3.5% were rejected. The # of absentee ballots skyrocketed while the rejection rate plummeted,” he added. “We need to review signature matches and remove illegal votes to ensure legitimacy!” he wrote.
Elections officials in Fulton County also startled voters on election night when they stopped counting ballots after a pipe reportedly burst at the State Farm Arena, but no evidence has been found to substantiate this claim.
Shafer expressed alarm that, “Fulton County elections officials told the media and our observers that they were shutting down the tabulation center at State Farm Arena at 10:30 p.m. on election night only to continue counting ballots in secret until 1:00 a.m.”
Will the Trump campaign allow this travesty to continue?