ATLANTA - Georgia’s two Republican Senators are calling for the resignation of Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger after both their races for re-election go into runoffs.
Senators David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler issued a joint statement that reads in part:
“The management of Georgia elections has become an embarrassment for our state. Georgians are outraged, and rightly so.”
The statement insinuated illegal votes possibly had been counted. The statement continues:
“We have been clear from the beginning: every legal vote cast should be counted. Any illegal vote must not. And there must be transparency and uniformity in the counting process. This isn't hard. This isn't partisan. This is American.”
"When the margins are this tight, every little thing matters," said Gabriel Sterling, Voting Implementation Manager for Georgia's Secretary of State's Office.
The Secretary of State's Office believes it's doing what it can to make sure things are done accurately.
"The pressure is to get it right. Our job is to get it right for the people of Georgia," said Sterling.
During an interview with CNN, Lt. Governor Goeff Duncan, a Republican said he had not seen any widespread voter fraud or irregularities and that his office had not fielded any complaints.
"And certainly we'll make sure that every sort of legal opportunity to make sure that -- if there's an issue out there, we want to make sure we understand it, investigate it and be able to make sure we were able to rectify it," Duncan said. "We've not had any sort of credible incidents raised to our level yet and so we'll continue to make sure that the opportunity to make sure every legal ballot is counted is there, but you know at this point, we've not seen any sort of credible examples."
Duncan later tweeted:
“It is critical that we all work together to secure a Republican Senate majority. Supporting Senators Loeffler and Perdue on Jan. 5 is necessary to ensure conservatives have a voice in Washington. Join us in this fight!”
Without specifically outlining the issues of concern, the two senators wrote:
“There have been too many failures in Georgia elections this year and the most recent election has shined a national light on the problems. While blame certainly lies elsewhere as well, the buck ultimately stops with the Secretary of State. The mismanagement and lack of transparency from the Secretary of State is unacceptable. Honest elections are paramount to the foundation of our democracy. 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."
Georgia Governor Brian Kemp on his personal Twitter account wrote:
“Georgia's election result will include legally cast ballots - and ONLY legally cast ballots. Period.”
It was a statement that echoes an official joint statement the Governor released along with Lt. Gov. Duncan and Republican Speaker David Ralston on Friday that read:
“Free and fair elections are the foundation of our American government. Any allegations of international fraud of violations of election law must be taken seriously and investigated. We trust that our Secretary of State will ensure that the law is followed as written and that Georgia’s election result includes all legally-cast ballots – and only legally-cast ballots. We will continue to follow this situation to ensure a fair and transparent process.”
"Illegal voting is going to happen. It's a minor part of this thing, and we're putting every safeguard in place to make sure it doesn't happen now or in the future," said Sterling.
The Secretary of State's Office released the following statement in response saying he had no plans to step down:
“Earlier today Senators Loeffler and Perdue called for my resignation.
“Let me start by saying that is not going to happen. The voters of Georgia hired me, and the voters will be the one to fire me. As Secretary of State, I’ll continue to fight every day to ensure fair elections in Georgia, that every legal vote counts, and that illegal votes don’t count.
“I know emotions are running high. Politics are involved in everything right now. If I was Senator Perdue, I’d be irritated I was in a runoff. And both Senators and I are all unhappy with the potential outcome for our President.
“But I am the duly elected Secretary of State. 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.
“Here are the facts.
“The election on Tuesday, November 3, 2020 in Georgia, from an election administration perspective was a resounding success. The average wait time to vote was 3 minutes. Almost 5 million Georgians cast a vote in this election…that is a record turnout. Nearly 75% of Georgia voters voted in person, while 25% to vote no-excuse absentee. That no-excuse absentee law was adopted by a Republican legislature, supported by Speaker David Ralston, and signed into law by then-Governor Sonny Perdue.
“President Trump received more votes than any other Republican presidential candidate in Georgia history, and Senator Perdue received more votes than the President.
“The process of reporting results has been orderly and followed the law. Where there have been specific allegations of illegal voting, my office has dispatched investigators. We have put a monitor in at Fulton County…one of our longtime problem Democrat-run counties.
“The investigation of potential double voters was the first of its kind done in the history of the Secretary of State’s office, and we will investigate any of those instances from the general election as well.
“I care about counting each and every legal vote…and assuring that illegal votes aren’t counted.
“And as far as lack of transparency…we were literally putting releases of results up at a minimum hourly. I and my office have been holding daily or twice-daily briefings for the press to walk them through all the numbers. So that particular charge is laughable.
“Was there illegal voting? I am sure there was. And my office is investigating all of it. 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.
“One thing I have learned in my time as Secretary of State is that a lot of difficulties in administering elections are caused by federal law. Federal law, not state law, is what makes it so difficult to keep clean voter rolls. Federal law, not state law, is what allows people to register to vote before a runoff even if they weren’t registered for the general election. Now that Senators Perdue and Loeffler are concerned about elections, hopefully they can fix these federal laws.
“My job is to follow Georgia law and see to it that all legal votes, and no illegal votes, are counted properly and accurately. As Secretary of State, that is my duty, and I will continue to do my duty. As a Republican, I am concerned about Republicans keeping the U.S. Senate. I recommend that Senators Loeffler and Perdue start focusing on that.
“Georgia is recognized as a national leader in elections. It was the first state in the country to implement the trifecta of automatic voter registration, at least 16 days of early voting (which has been called the “gold standard”), and no-excuse absentee voting. Georgia continues to set records for voter turnout and election participation, seeing the largest increase in average turnout of any other state in the 2018 midterm election and record primary turnout in 2020, with over 1.1 million absentee by mail voters and over 1.2 million in-person voters utilizing Georgia’s new, secure, paper ballot voting system.”