In an interview with the Washington Post on Monday, Raffensperger said that “it sure looked like” Graham wanted him to think of a way to discard mail-in ballots in counties where a high rate of non-matching signatures was reported.
“It sure looked like he was wanting to go down that road,” he said.
Raffensperger was quoted by the WaPo as saying that Graham wanted to find out whether he, as a Georgia state secretary, could order the mail-in ballots in these counties to be excluded from the tally. Raffensperger said he told Graham that it was not his call to make since elections are administered by the counties.
As the interview emerged, Trump detractors wasted no time in accusing Graham of arm-twisting election officials into “throwing out legal ballots.” Some suggested the South Carolina senator might have been “committing federal crimes to get Trump to 233 electors.”
Lindsay Graham is out here committing federal crimes to get Trump to 233 electors https://t.co/1a6CUJAlLY
— Law Boy, Esq. (@The_Law_Boy) November 16, 2020
Lindsay Graham & the GOP tried to get GEORGIA election officials to throw away legal ballots so Trump could win! Get on this Perez!
— JScub (@js26783_joe) November 16, 2020
“If he feels threatened by that conversation, he’s got a problem,” Graham added. “I actually thought it was a good conversation,” he said, arguing that his goal was to ensure that mail-in voting is free from fraud.
The main issue for me is: How do you protect the integrity of mail-in voting, and how does signature verification work?
In a subsequent interview with CNN, however, Raffensperger doubled down on his claim, saying that he “got a sense” from the conversation that Graham wanted him to get rid of the ballots.
“It’s just an implication that look hard and see how many ballots you can throw out.”
Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger says Sen. Lindsey Graham suggested he find a way to toss legally cast ballots. Graham denies the allegation.
“It’s just an implication that look hard and see how many ballots you can throw out,” Raffensperger said. pic.twitter.com/F6GOAabxhY
— The Situation Room (@CNNSitRoom) November 17, 2020
Raffensperger spoke about the impression he got from talking to Graham shortly after it was revealed that 2,600 new voters were uncovered in Georgia’s Floyd County during the ongoing recount. Of the newly found votes, some 1,643 were cast for President Donald Trump and 865 for presumed president-elect Joe Biden.
The gap between Trump and the Democratic challenger currently stands at about 14,000 votes.
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