Georgia’s Foreign Minister Brad Raffensperger said on Thursday that his office is investigating allegations that ballot papers were submitted illegally, but said there is no evidence to suggest widespread election fraud.
Raffensperger spoke to CBS this morning to discuss the nationwide recount of ballots in Georgia, which is to be done by hand. Official sources have yet to announce a winner in the state presidential election campaign, although President-elect Joe Biden led President Donald Trump by some 14,000 votes on Thursday afternoon.
Although the national race for Biden was announced in several media on November 7, Trump has not yet given in.
“We have ongoing investigations,” said Raffensperger when he was questioned about the accusations of election fraud in Georgia. “But the number is not rising to the 14,000 level,” Raffensperger said investigators will continue to investigate “every case we hear” of illegally submitted ballots, but so far “we do not see widespread election fraud.
“We had record turnout, we had record registrations, and people only participated on both sides of the aisle,” Raffensperger said. “At the end of the day you will probably find that the manual recount of all votes will prove what we have achieved with the electronic vote counting with the machines.
Raffensperger, a Republican, received criticism from other members of his party last week as the counting of votes continued. The state’s two GOP senators, both scheduled for the runoff elections in January, called on Raffensperger to resign earlier this week. Raffensperger responded to their calls in a statement that began with the words, “This is not going to happen,” then explained how Georgia is dealing with the record-breaking turnout and how it will deal with the recount of votes.
The head of the Georgian GOP, David Shafer, and Congressman Doug Collins-who as “head of the recount team” represents Trump’s campaign in Georgia-also wrote a letter sent to Raffensperger earlier this week requesting approval for a manual recount. Raffensperger announced during a press conference on Wednesday that the nationwide recount would indeed be done by hand.
Raffensperger called the manual recount a “gold standard of auditing” and told CBS this morning that while it would be “a big boost”, he expected the state to complete the recount by November 20, which is Georgia’s deadline for confirming the election results.
“We think that this is the right way for Georgia. We want to remain at the forefront of election integrity,” Raffensperger said about the decision to recount the votes.
Raffensperger said that not only will Georgia’s risk-limiting audit be continued, but also that people from different political backgrounds will be given the opportunity to observe the recount in order to ensure an “open and transparent process” which, in his opinion, will give “the voters confidence” in both the original election results and those obtained by the recount.
“We will have the eyes of the Democrats on it, the eyes of the Republicans on it, we will have independent eyes on it to ensure that it is an accurate recount,” Raffensperger said. “Ultimately, it is our job to make sure that we follow this line of integrity.
Washington Newsday asked the Georgia GOP to comment, but did not receive a timely response for publication.