A staffer for Georgia’s Republican Secretary of State confirmed Tuesday that he heard South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham ask Georgia state officials about discarding ballots.
Election implementation manager Gabriel Sterling said that Graham asked whether Georgia ballots could be invalidated in court over signature discrepancies, according to CNN. Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger on Monday accused Graham of asking him to “look hard and see how many ballots you could throw out.”
Graham denied Raffensperger’s claims, calling it “ridiculous” that he would ever ask someone to throw out legally cast ballots.
“What I’m trying to find out was how do you verify signatures for mail-in ballots in these states,” Graham said Monday.
In a statement to CNN, Sterling said that what he heard was “basically discussions about absentee ballots and if a potentially … if there was a percentage of signatures that weren’t really, truly matching, is there some point we could get to, we could say somebody went to a courtroom could say well, let’s throw (out) all these ballots because we have no way of knowing because the ballots are separated.”
“There is no physical ability for this office to do anything along those lines,” Sterling added, referring to officials discarding absentee ballots that had already been deemed legal by election officials.
“Our job is to continue to follow the law, and we were answering process questions… that’s what we were doing on the call,” Sterling told CNN. Sterling added that while Graham’s comments “might have gone a little to the edge of” what was acceptable, he understood why Raffensperger interpreted the request differently.
Graham also told reporters Tuesday that he spoke to secretaries of state in Nevada and Arizona over “election integrity,” though the officials in both states said that they had not in fact spoken with him. (RELATED: Georgia Secretary Of State Announces Full Hand Recount)
Nevada’s Republican Sec. of State Barbara Cegavske in a statement says that she has NOT spoken to Sen. Lindsey Graham, or any members of congress, about the 2020 election or the post-election certification process https://t.co/5o9qxqVTQD pic.twitter.com/h98HiqKwiX
— Colton Lochhead (@ColtonLochhead) November 17, 2020
— Secretary Katie Hobbs (@SecretaryHobbs) November 17, 2020
President Donald Trump has leveled numerous baseless accusations of voter fraud in Georgia and multiple other states, though the U.S. government said that the election was the most secure in the nation’s history. Echoing the president, Georgia’s entire Republican congressional delegation called for Raffensperger’s resignation over an alleged “lack of transparency.” (RELATED: Can You Actually Move To Georgia Just To Vote In Its January Runoffs?)
President-elect Joe Biden became the first Democrat to win the Peach State in 28 years, winning by just over 13,000 votes out of over 5.5 million cast.
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