Georgia secretary of state aims to set record straight on misinformation, party claims

Secretary of State sets the record straight on misinformation over Georgia election

ATLANTA — Georgia’s Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger took to Facebook late Sunday evening to debunk conspiracies on signature match laws, Dominion voting machine origins and the overall election integrity in Georgia.

“We wanted to make sure that voters had the facts, and they had the truth,” Raffensperger said.

In an interview with Channel 2 investigative reporter Nicole Carr on Monday, Raffensperger also took aim at rhetoric within his own party, honing in on recent criticism from Rep. Doug Collins, who leads President Donald Trump’s campaign on election recount in Georgia.

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“(He) did nothing for election integrity,” Raffensperger said. “He blew two years, and he needs to answer for that, and someone needs to ask him why didn’t he do something.”

“Why didn’t he ever do anything when he was in the state House, too?” Raffensperger continued. “So ask him that question. I’d love to hear his excuse. I’m sure it will be a humdinger.”

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Collins, who tweeted about Raffensperger’s “incompetence” on Monday, has joined the Georgia GOP and Trump in calls for signature matching during Georgia’s hand recount.

Raffensperger, online and in the interview, repeated Georgia law that points out ballot signature matches were verified twice before the re-tallying audit even began.

“When you make a paper application and send it in, the signature is matched. And then when you send your ballot in, it’s matched again,” Raffensperger said. “And now for the first time ever, we’ve brought photo ID to the absentee ballot process with our online portal.”

A spokeswoman for Collins referred back to his tweet, calling Raffensperger’s competence into question as a response to Raffensperger’s interview.

“In a year of political division in Georgia, few things have unified Republicans and Democrats — one of them is Brad Raffensperger’s incompetence as Secretary of State,” Collins tweeted.

When he was asked about the president’s tweets on absentee ballot signatures that are flagged by Twitter as misinformation, and dubbed misinformation by elections officials citing Georgia law, Raffensperger focused his response on the law.

“Do you want him to stop tweeting the misinformation?” Carr asked.

“Well he’s got lots of followers. He’s got 50 million and I may have 50,” Raffensperger laughed. “So I know I’m outmanned on that battle front. But we’ll just continue to put our heads down and do our job.”

“And he (Trump) needs to do what he thinks he needs to do and we’ll continue to follow the law here in Georgia," Raffensperger said.

Raffensperger and top Georgia election officials do not anticipate the historic hand recount of ballots to impact presidential race results where the state turned blue for the first time since 1992.

They point out that given the close margin, and by Georgia law, Trump could request a second recount following the hand recount that’s a part of the current audit.

“They can ask for a recount if they’re within half a percent, and that’s their right, and that’s all within state law,” Raffensperger said. “And if we do a recount, we’ll grab up all those paper ballots and we’ll run them through the scanners and we’ll count them .”

Raffensperger said he is not running his office by partisanship, pointing out their investigations into every election integrity claim, outlawing ballot harvesting years ago and strengthening voter ID laws.

In recent days, a string of Georgia conspiracy theories have been debunked. County elections officials confirmed supposed dead voters in a Trump campaign news release are actually alive and well and legitimate voters.

On Monday, Fulton County said it completed its investigation into a third dead woman cited by the campaign. Vital and voter records showed Deborah Christensen had not voted in 2020. Her last ballot cast was in 2018. She died in 2019, and that’s when she was taken off the voter rolls, per a county spokeswoman.

“With the information currently available to us, any claims of fraudulent participation in the Nov. 3 General Election in Ms. Christiansen’s name appear to be false,” wrote Fulton spokeswoman Jessica Corbitt.

"We regret any stress caused to Ms. Christiansen’s family as a result of this misinformation, the statement read. “Unfortunately we are aware that there are individuals circulating misinformation intended to undermine trust in the elections system. We will continue to address rumors and falsehoods to ensure that Fulton County voters are empowered with accurate information”

Another federal lawsuit alleging illegal ballots cast in Georgia’s largest counties without proper observation was voluntarily dismissed by plaintiffs in the state’s Southern District. The plaintiffs, a group of Georgia voters representing ‘True the Vote,’ declined to provide the courts further evidence.

Raffensperger, whose office is probing several local election office complaints, also pointed out that because people are “taking shots at the machines,” his office ordered a hand recount in the audit.

“Now I know if you’re on this side, you may like the results, and if you’re on that side, you don’t , but we want everyone to have confidence in the results,” he said. “That they understand we have a sensible, lawful, secure process.”

When asked about safety concerns tied to his office, Raffensperger repeated his stance on standing in the state’s statutes.

“How are you?” Carr asked.

“I’m great because we have law on our side and we have truth on our side,” said Raffensperger. “It’s a crying shame that we have people like Doug Collins going around making up false statements. He’s lying and he’s playing with people’s emotions.”

“I’m a conservative Republican,” Raffensperger said later in the interview. " I wanted it to go a certain way, but at the end of the day, I don’t put my thumb on the scale. What we do is follow the process, and I don’t know what else to say about that."

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