ATLANTA (WSAV) – Less than a week after Election Day, Sens. Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue called on Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to resign.
Loeffler and Perdue, both Republicans vying for Senate seats in Georgia’s runoff races, accused his office of failing to provide transparency in recent elections.
“Honest elections are paramount to the foundation of our democracy,” a statement from the senators reads, in part. “The Secretary of State has failed to deliver honest and transparent elections. He has failed the people of Georgia, and he should step down immediately.”
Perdue and Loeffler made general accusations without presenting any specific evidence to support their claims. Savannah experts, including one political sociologist at Georgia Southern University’s Armstrong Campus, say there is no evidence to be found. He says studies have shown there is no widespread voter fraud in the state.
“This is a way to mobilize their base and to win in a runoff, which is what they have to do,” explained Ned Rinalducci. “You can’t win a runoff expecting normal voters to come. Whoever gets their base out wins the runoff.”
Rinalducci says claims from the senators may have an adverse effect on voters. If their confidence in the secretary of state wavers, they may not show up to the polls during the runoff election.
“The danger is that it undermines our confidence in the electoral system when you have people of this stature saying these kinds of things because they are, of course, baseless,” said Rinalducci.
Raffensperger responded to demands he resigns, stating, “that is not going to happen.” He sympathized with the senators, saying that if he were in a runoff, he’d be irritated himself.
“But I am the duly elected Secretary of State,” Raffensperger added. “One of my duties involves helping to run elections for all Georgia voters. I have taken that oath, and I will execute that duty and follow Georgia law.”
The secretary of state’s office has provided several updates in recent days in an effort to keep Georgians updated on the process. Monday morning, Gabriel Sterling, Georgia’s voting implementation manager, explained in detail some recent issues that have surfaced, including a processing matter in Fulton County, and how the office has addressed them.
Both Sterling and Raffensperger admit there was likely illegal voting in the election but that the office is looking into any fraud allegations.
“My office is investigating all of it,” the secretary of state said, adding, “Does it rise to the numbers or margin necessary to change the outcome to where President Trump is given Georgia’s electoral votes? That is unlikely.”
At his weekly press conference, Savannah Mayor Van Johnson says despite accusations, he supports the secretary of state as he attempts to recount every legal vote cast in the election.
“He’s a republican secretary of state, but in the end has administered the duty to ensure that the election is run fairly,” said Mayor Johnson. “It was the craziest thing I heard in quite some time.”
President-elect Joe Biden’s lead, although a slim margin, continues to widen. As of Monday evening, he is ahead of President Donald Trump by more than 11,500 votes.
Still, the president seems confident he can secure the 16 electoral votes in the Peach State, which would only give him 230 votes to Biden’s 290 (North Carolina and Alaska, with 18 electoral votes combined, remain uncalled).
Trump quoted a tweet from Republican Gov. Brian Kemp, who said “Georgia’s election result will include legally cast ballots – and ONLY legally cast ballots. Period.”
“This is good news, it means I won!” Trump responded. No major news outlet has called the presidential race in Georgia because it is too close to call.
The Trump campaign filed one election-related lawsuit in Georgia, but it was dismissed by a Chatham County judge.
The secretary of state has said his office is preparing for the likelihood of a recount, which could be requested with the trend of the margin.