The embattled state of Georgia is at the center of Donald Trump’s efforts to turn the election result. There, the top election overseer is exposed to personal attacks. And reports on a dubious call from Washington.
As of last Friday, Donald Trump’s most enthusiastic supporters finally have a name against which to direct their anger over the incredible election fraud. An electoral fraud that, in the opinion of most experts, the US courts and the authorities, did not exist. But that doesn’t prevent Trump and his most ardent supporters from having fun with Brad Raffensperger. The man who as Secretary of State – a kind of interior minister – of Georgia is ultimately responsible for the election in the state.
“Better not to mess up the recount. Your life depends on it,” quoted Raffensperger from a text message – as an example of the many threats that now reached him. These made him not only angry, but also sad, Raffensperger told the Washington Post, “especially when they come from my own wing”. The trained engineer and owner of a medium-sized construction company is himself a Republican. Now he and his wife Tricia are being approached by their supposedly own people – by those at the grassroots as well as by those at the highest levels of the state.
What did Lindsey Graham want?
The Washington Post entrusted Raffensperger with unbelievable content from a conversation with Lindsey Graham. The close Trump ally is chairman of the powerful judicial committee in the US Senate. On Friday he asked Raffensperger how Georgia’s election officials dealt with signatures on postal voting documents that could not be clearly identified. The underlying thought: Party election workers could, in case of doubt, have also counted postal votes that could not be clearly assigned to a registered voter, for example by comparing signatures.
Postal voters, especially in Georgia, voted disproportionately for Joe Biden. Because Biden’s race in Georgia was just over 14,000 votes ahead of them, Trump and his lawyers have precisely these postal votes in their sights. Trump doubts them on Twitter. His lawyers do the same in court. However, the judges have so far been harder to convince than Trump’s voters on social networks.
Raffensperger reports that Graham wanted to know whether he, Raffensperger, could remove all postal votes from a district if there were a particularly large number of deviations in the signatures. Raffensperger was shocked that Graham suggested that he find a way to eliminate legal votes. “It clearly looked as if he wanted to take this route,” Raffensperger told the Washington Post.
Graham denied, Trump tweeted
Democrats and US journalists also reacted with horror to Graham’s alleged plan. The latter dismissed the allegations as “ridiculous”. He only asked about the election formalities in Georgia, Graham told the news site “The Hill”.
However, on the day of the conversation, Trump’s lawyers filed a lawsuit against the signature verification procedure and the possibility that voters were allowed to correct incorrect ballot papers. The lawsuit seeks to prevent a final result from being announced until all postal ballot envelopes have been reviewed. Raffensperger rejects a detailed comparison of envelopes and votes because otherwise the voting behavior of individual voters would be revealed. “The election secrecy is sacred,” said Raffensperger.
On the same day, Trump accused Raffensperger via Twitter of blocking a thorough check of the postal votes. Trump scolded Raffensperger an “alleged Republican”. Other party colleagues joined the attacks, especially Republican MP Douglas A. Collins. The accused Raffensperger of incompetence and demanded his resignation. The state senators, both Republicans, also publicly advocated Raffensperger’s departure.
A forgotten memory card, but no wrong count
But the scolded has not given in so far: He promised to investigate every suspicion of fraud and irregularities. So far, however, there has been no evidence of major manipulation. The manual recounting in two smaller districts of Georgia, which has already been completed, did not reveal a single deviation from the first count.
A remarkable exception so far exploited by the Trump camp: In Floyd County, a district that is strongly Trump-leaning, 2,600 votes not yet counted were discovered on a memory card. A number that does not, however, move in favor of Biden because, according to Trump, it only catches 800 votes on Biden. Nothing indicates intent: the difference was obvious because more votes were registered than later in the count.
In the recount requested by the Republicans, Raffensperger has more of a chance to refute central allegations: The time-consuming manual recounting will invalidate Trump’s accusation that the Dominion voting computers were manipulated to Biden’s advantage. So far there have been no discrepancies between machine and manual counting, Raffensperger told the Washington Post. The devices automatically evaluate pre-checked ballot papers and thus facilitate the counting.
Trump will not recognize recount either
To be on the safe side, Trump said on Saturday that the recount is irrelevant as long as the authenticity of all postal votes has not been checked using a signature comparison. So the Trump team also sowed doubts about the second count – apparently in the suspicion that it would not change the bottom line of Georgia. The lawsuit for a signature comparison are also given little chance: a court – like Raffensperger – would consider the protection of voting secrecy to be important.
From the Trump camp’s point of view, this does not have to be a drama: If what many US media report, with reference to almost never named sources from the White House, is true, Trump is all about not leaving office as a loser . Because a loser would have no chance of running for the Republicans again in 2024. A president who was pushed out of the White House by an alleged conspiracy, on the other hand, could rally many of his supporters again – and in the years in between, earn money and help shape public discourse.
Such a strategy would also explain why Trump and his attorney Rudy Giuliani continue to vehemently promote lawsuits, although they have so far failed in almost all cases. Especially since they would have to turn the result in several states in order to overturn Biden’s large lead in the electoral committee. This is hopeless, but the lawsuits are a suitable instrument to fuel the conspiracy narrative of a manipulated election. This mobilizes its own ranks: in Georgia of all places, runoff elections for the two Senate seats will take place in early January. These elections will determine the majority in Congress for the next two years.
Next upset: Clark County
Trump inflates even the smallest irregularity in the election with more than 152 million voters into further evidence of systematic fraud. The most recent and in all Trump-leaning media widely spread excitement: Clark County in Nevada. A local election in District C, held at the same time as the presidential election, was canceled.
Of the more than 150,000 votes cast, irregularities were found on 193 ballot papers. Too many in view of an extremely narrow result of ten votes ahead for the democratic candidate. The Trump camp believes the incident defies the credibility of the entire Nevada election. It would take a lot more irregularities to turn the state in favor of Trump: Biden is ahead with almost 35,000 votes.