Georgia's GOP secretary of state says Lindsey Graham pressured him to toss legal ballots
Someone get Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick on the phone. I'd like my share of the $1 million bounty he offered, now that I've uncovered some of the nefarious voter fraud he's been so worried about. In an interview with The Washington Post this week, Georgia's Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger claimed that during a conversation with recently re-elected South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham (R), Graham had probed whether Raffensperger could and would toss a number of perfectly legal ballots during the state's laborious hand recount of the 2020 election results. He later affirmed his allegation during an interview with CNN on Monday evening, telling Wolf Blitzer that Graham had asked whether he could toss mail-in ballots en masse in counties found to have higher levels of mismatched signatures on their forms.
The implication, Raffensperger explained, was to "look hard and see how many ballots you could throw out." And with President Trump facing a seemingly insurmountable climb to overtake President-elect Joe Biden in Georgia's vote count, any mass expungement of ballots would only serve to benefit the president.
Even if Raffensperger had been interested in Graham's transparent-seeming effort to skew the presidential election recount in a completely different state than the one he actually represents, he would have no legal authority to enact Graham's plan, as that level of election administration power lies with Georgia's individual counties, rather than the secretary of state.
Graham, meanwhile, has denied Raffensperger's implication that he tried to meddle in another state's ballot-counting, telling the Post that the allegation was "ridiculous." He did, however, confirm that he'd called Raffensperger on his own initiative to learn more about Georgia's laws regarding signature-matching on mail-in ballots (I leave it to you to speculate as to why a senator from South Carolina suddenly has such an intense interest in a different state's voting legislation), but characterized their conversation as "very pleasant" in a statement to Politico.
"If he feels threatened by that conversation, he’s got a problem,” Graham told the Post. “I actually thought it was a good conversation."
Coming to Graham's defense Tuesday was arch-conservative commentator Hugh Hewitt, who speculated that Raffensperger just wasn't smart enough to understand that the senator was simply joking about tossing ballots to skew a presidential election that could very well tip the country into a permanent state of authoritarianism.
Ha ha ha, just a hilarious goof, you see.
For his part, Raffensperger — who claims he's received death threats as a result of Trump's persistently deranged agitation — is admirably committed to plowing ahead undaunted.
"I’m going to probably be disappointed because I was rooting for the Republicans to win, obviously," he told the Post. "But, I have a law and a process I follow. Integrity in this office matters."