Battleground: Ballot Box Blog

4:15 p.m., Nov. 16:
Audit Continues Across Georgia
 

 A poll watcher, right, and an auditing team, left, in the Bibb County Board of Elections in Macon on Monday, November 16. Monday was the third day of the Georgia presidential ballot recount in Bibb County. Auditors began the day a little over halfway through 71,000 ballots.
Caption
A poll watcher, right, and an auditing team, left, in the Bibb County Board of Elections in Macon on Monday, November 16. Monday was the third day of the Georgia presidential ballot recount in Bibb County. Auditors began the day a little over halfway through 71,000 ballots.
Credit: Grant Blankenship / GPB News
A poll watcher, right, and an auditing team, left, in the Bibb County Board of Elections in Macon on Monday, November 16.
Caption
A poll watcher, right, and an auditing team, left, in the Bibb County Board of Elections in Macon on Monday, November 16.
Credit: Grant Blankenship / GPB News

— From GPB’s Grant Blankenship

 

3:05 p.m., Nov. 16:
Raffensperger Fights Fake Info With Facebook Fact-Checks

Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger turned heads Sunday night with a barrage of Facebook posts debunking misinformation about Georgia’s election processes.

“Let’s address this disinformation about signature match,” Raffensperger wrote above a tweet from President Trump that said, without evidence, that mail-in voting “will lead to the most corrupt Election” in American history. 

“We helped train election officials on GBI signature match — which is confirmed twice before a ballot is ever cast,” Raffensperger wrote. “Failed candidate Doug Collins is a liar — but what’s new?”

Other fact-checks touch on the origin of Georgia’s voting vendor Dominion (“‘Merica,” he wrote), clarify the role political parties play in credentialing monitors (“Find them horribly disorganized? Show up to their office and demand credentials”) and critique requests that officials somehow match ballots back to the envelope and their signatures to expose alleged fraud, against which he pushed back strongly.

“Georgia voters have a right to vote in secret without intimidation from any political candidate or party,” he wrote. 

Raffensperger has been under constant attack from top Republicans in the state and across the country who baselessly accuse him of overseeing a fraudulent election that somehow counted “illegal votes” and caused Trump to lose the Nov. 3 election to President-elect Joe Biden.  

— From GPB’s Stephen Fowler

 

12:40 p.m., Nov. 16:
VIDEO UPDATE: What Is The Difference Between A Recount And An Audit? 
 

Caption

GPB News' Sarah Rose discusses the details of Georgia's risk limiting audit of the presidential race with political reporter Stephen Fowler.


 

Update 11:50 a.m., Nov. 16:
Obama to NPR: Trump Refusal To Concede Another 'Breach Of Basic Democratic Norms'

Former President Barack Obama tells NPR that President Donald Trump's refusal to concede the 2020 election is another “breach of basic democratic norms” that has real-world effects on the transfer of power.

“It is yet one more example of how Donald Trump’s breach of basic democratic norms is hurting the American people,” Obama told All Things Considered host Michel Martin. 

Obama provided some of his most wide-ranging remarks since President-elect Joe Biden won the election. Obama congratulated his former vice president and Sen. Kamala Harris on their victory, even as Trump refuses to concede.

“I don’t think he’ll be successful in denying reality,” Obama said.  “I'm distressed that you haven't seen more Republican leadership make this clear, because the amount of time that's being lost in this transition process has real-world effects.”

The full story can be read here.

From GPB’s Wayne Drash

 

Update 8:10 a.m., Nov. 16:
Ossoff Calls Perdue ‘Coward’ For Declining Debate

Democrat Jon Ossoff has blasted GOP Sen. David Perdue for declining another debate, saying Georgia’s senior senator is “too much of a coward to debate me again.”

Ossoff tweeted his reaction on Sunday shortly after news broke that Perdue had turned down the Atlanta Press Club invitation. 

“Perdue can’t defend his lies about COVID-19, self-dealing stock trades, his bigotry, or his votes to take away Georgians’ health care,” Ossoff said. “Senator, come on out and try to defend your record. I’m ready to go.”

The Atlanta Press Club said the debate will continue on Sunday, Dec. 6, from 5 to 6 p.m. with Perdue “represented by an empty podium.”

"The Atlanta Press Club’s Loudermilk-Young Debate Series is disappointed that Sen. David Perdue has decided to not participate in his debate,” the press club said in a statement. “Jon Ossoff has confirmed his participation, so according to our rules, we will proceed with the debate and Sen. Perdue will be represented by an empty podium.

“That is not our preference.”

Perdue pulled out of the final previously scheduled debate just two days before the Nov. 3 election to appear at a rally in Rome with President Trump.

Ossoff and Perdue face a Jan. 5 runoff for one of Georgia’s two U.S. Senate seats. Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler squares off against Democrat Raphael Warnock for the other Senate seat. 

The Loeffler-Warnock debate is scheduled to air live from 7 to 8 p.m. on Dec. 6, according to the Atlanta Press Club.

From GPB’s Wayne Drash

 

Update 8:15 p.m., Nov. 15:
Atlanta Press Club Will Hold Debate With Empty Podium

The Atlanta Press Club issued a statement Sunday night that two debates for the U.S. Senate runoff will be held Dec. 6, with an empty podium for Sen. David Perdue who declined to attend. 

Full statement from the Press Club:

"The Atlanta Press Club’s Loudermilk-Young Debate Series is disappointed that Sen. David Perdue has decided to not participate in his debate.  Jon Ossoff has confirmed his participation, so according to our rules, we will proceed with the debate and Sen. Perdue will be represented by an empty podium.

That is not our preference. The Atlanta Press Club works hard to provide a platform for all candidates running for public office. We believe it is an essential part of the democratic process for voters to have an opportunity to hear an exchange of ideas from the candidates so they can be better informed when they cast their ballots.

In that spirit, we hope Sen. Perdue will change his mind.  We will leave the door open for him to participate in our Dec. 6 debate."
 

Update 1:30 p.m., Nov. 15:
Perdue Declines Debate Against Ossoff
 

Republican Sen. David Perdue has declined to participate in an Atlanta Press Club debate against his Democratic opponent Jon Ossoff, the Press Club said Sunday. Perdue pulled out of the final previously-scheduled debate just two days before the election to appear at a rally in Rome with President Trump.

Perdue narrowly missed the opportunity to win outright against Ossoff in the general election and will appear on the Jan. 5 runoff ballot along with Sen. Kelly Loeffler, who faces Democrat Raphael Warnock in a runoff after a 20-person special election to fill the remainder of Johnny Isakson's term.

President-elect Joe Biden narrowly won Georgia by about 14,000 votes, pending the final totals from a risk-limiting audit that will hand count nearly 5 million ballots cast, and the presence of a third-party candidate made Perdue narrowly miss an outright victory.

Perdue and Loeffler are campaigning together for the runoff and have indicated they will remain closely aligned with President Trump. Last week, the pair joined a chorus of Republican officials baselessly attacking the administration of Georgia's election by calling on the Republican secretary of state to resign, without any evidence to support their claims of wrongdoing and widespread problems.

— From GPB’s Stephen Fowler

 

Update 10:40 a.m., Nov. 14:
Carter Center Election Monitors Fan Out Across Georgia

Carter Center Election Monitors Fan Out Across Georgia
Caption
A Carter Center monitor works in Macon on Friday.
Credit: Grant Blankenship / GPB News

The Carter Center is deploying dozens of monitors across Georgia to assess the post-election results and to bolster confidence in the election results.

“What we’re monitoring is what many people have been calling the hand recount. Because the margin in the presidential race is so close, this sort of audit essentially requires review of every ballot by hand,” Carter Center CEO Paige Alexander said in a written statement. “This is unusual, but it provides an opportunity to build trust in the electoral system prior to the state’s certification of results.”

Spokeswoman Soyia Ellison said the Carter Center will dispatch about 50 to 60 monitors this weekend and will have additional monitors deployed next week, perhaps doubling the size of its team.

Ellison said the monitors would be in counties around metro Atlanta and other large population centers, as well as several other counties around Georgia.

“We’d guess we’ll hit 25 or 30 counties in all,” she said. “We plan to have monitors working through the planned conclusion of the process next Wednesday.”

The Carter Center was founded by former President Jimmy Carter and former First Lady Rosalynn Carter in 1982, in partnership with Emory University, to advance peace, democracy and health worldwide.

Its monitors have observed 111 elections in 39 countries — from Africa to Latin America to Asia — in an effort to help “ensure democratic elections that reflect the will of the people,” according to its website.

— From GPB’s Grant Blankenship

Update 9:30 a.m., Nov. 14:
More Than 1.1M Ballots Counted As 50 Counties Finish Audit

Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger’s office said Saturday morning that the risk-limiting audit process is going smoothly, with 50 of 159 counties completing their hand recount of ballots.

More than 20% of the nearly 5 million votes have been counted so far. The deadline is 11:59 p.m. Wednesday.

“As with any new process there were some questions and we are aware of some errors made by individual counties,” Raffensperger said. “We are aware of one county who mistakenly thought they could hand sort and then use machines to then count the sorted stacks. That is incorrect and not allowed in this process. They will have to recount those batches by hand.”

— From GPB’s Stephen Fowler

 

Update 2:40 p.m., Nov. 13:
Decision Desks Project Biden Wins Georgia

CNN, ABC and NBC News are projecting that President-elect Joe Biden has won the state of Georgia’s 16 electoral votes, which would make him the first Democrat to carry the state since Bill Clinton in 1992.

The news comes as the final counties certify their election results and begin the statewide risk-limiting audit that will result in a full hand recount of nearly 5 million ballots.

— From GPB’s Stephen Fowler and Sarah Rose

 

Update 2:30 p.m., Nov. 13:
Former Kentucky Sec. of State Pens NYT Op-Ed Defending Raffensperger

Former Kentucky Secretary of State Trey Grayson.
Caption
Former Kentucky Secretary of State Trey Grayson.
Credit: AP Photo/Ed Reinke

Trey Grayson, the former Republican Secretary of State of Kentucky, has penned an editorial in the New York Times coming to the defense of Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger. 

Raffensperger has been sharply criticized and asked to resign by prominent Republicans across Georgia, including U.S. Sens. Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue, due to unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud.

Grayson said that Raffensperger is being used as a “scapegoat” by Republicans who are unhappy with Trump’s loss of the typically red state to President-elect Biden.

Instead of attacking him, Republicans should be celebrating Mr. Raffensperger for running an election that was free of widespread malfeasance, despite record turnout, a pandemic, threats from hostile foreign countries and a persistent lack of funding.

Grayson joins fellow Republican Karl Rove, who penned a Wall Street Journal editorial earlier this week, in encouraging Republicans to accept Trump’s election loss.

— From GPB’s Sarah Rose

 

Update 12:00 p.m., Nov. 13:

A Republican Party poll watcher keeps an eye on the recount in Macon Friday. There were two poll watchers for seven teams of auditors.
Caption
A Republican Party poll watcher keeps an eye on the recount in Macon Friday. There were two poll watchers for seven teams of auditors.
Credit: Grant Blankenship / GPB News

— From GPB’s Grant Blankenship

 

Update 11:20 a.m., Nov. 13:

Bibb County auditors being sworn in.
Caption
Bibb County auditors being sworn in.
Credit: Grant Blankenship / GPB News
Absentee ballots are unpacked for audit in Macon.
Caption
Absentee ballots are unpacked for audit in Macon.
Credit: Grant Blankenship / GPB News

 

— From GPB’s Grant Blankenship

 

Update 10:40 a.m., Nov. 13:

Dade County has begun streaming its work on the risk-limiting audit of the presidential race live on Facebook.
Credit: Dade County / Facebook

Dade County has begun streaming its work on the risk-limiting audit of the presidential race live on Facebook.

— From GPB’s Sarah Rose

 

Update 9:30 a.m., Nov. 13:
Georgia Begins Statewide Audit Of Presidential Race

Poll watchers huddle in front of the Bibb County Board of Elections before the start of the Georgia risk-limiting audit of the presidential vote Friday.
Caption
Poll watchers huddle in front of the Bibb County Board of Elections before the start of the Georgia risk-limiting audit of the presidential vote Friday.
Credit: Grant Blankenship / GPB News
Auditors begin their training in Macon.
Caption
Auditors begin their training in Macon.
Credit: Grant Blankenship / GPB News

 

— From GPB’s Grant Blankenship

 

Update 9:15 a.m., Nov. 13:
Karl Rove Pens WSJ Op-Ed Affirming Biden Victory

Republican strategist Karl Rove penned an op-ed earlier this week urging Republicans to accept that the Trump campaign’s legal challenges would not lead to an overturning of President-elect Biden’s victory.

“Mr. Trump is now pursuing legal challenges in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan, Arizona, and Nevada, and there will be an automatic recount in Georgia, given Mr. Biden's 0.29-point lead there. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is correct that Mr. Trump is "100 percent within his rights" to go to court over concerns about fraud and transparency. But the president's efforts are unlikely to move a single state from Mr. Biden's column, and certainly they're not enough to change the final outcome.”

Rove is also a contributor for the cable news network Fox News, which came under fire on election night from Trump supporters and the president for calling the race in Arizona for Biden earlier than other outlets.

— From GPB’s Sarah Rose

 

Update 2:00 p.m., Nov. 12:
Sec. of State Raffensperger To Quarantine Following Wife's COVID-19 Diagnosis

Raffensperger
Credit: Stephen Fowler / GPB News

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger will be self-quarantining following his wife's positive diagnosis of COVID-19, according to the Associated Press. This news comes on the heels of his announcement yesterday that Georgia would begin a risk-limiting audit that will result in a hand recount of the Nov. 3 vote.

— From GPB’s Sarah Rose

 

Update 1:50 p.m., Nov. 12:
Senate Candidates Continue Campaigns Across State, Television

Democratic Senate candidate Jon Ossoff speaks in Albany.
Caption
Democratic Senate candidate Jon Ossoff speaks in Albany.
Credit: Jon Ossoff campaign

 

Georgia’s U.S. Senate candidates continue to campaign across Georgia today. 

This afternoon, Raphael Warnock is meeting in Atlanta with labor leaders "to inform voters of the issues at stake in the runoff election and the importance of registering to vote." Jon Ossoff, who is running against Sen. David Perdue, continues his "Future of Georgia" tour in Savannah tonight, speaking at the Georgia State Railroad Museum. He spoke in Albany earlier in the day.

Meanwhile, Sen. Kelly Loeffler’s campaign is spending $1 million on new attack ads against her opponent, Warnock, according to a report by the Atlanta-Journal Constitution. The ads characterize Warnock as defending the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, a controversial figure that became a point of criticism for Barack Obama’s presidential campaign. They also describe Warnock as being sympathetic to “Marxists and socialists.” 

— From GPB’s Sarah Rose

 

Update 12:30 p.m., Nov. 12:

Secretary of Raffensperger will be hosting a press conference at 2 p.m. on "the election and the work of Georgia's election officials."

Georgia's 159 counties will begin a risk-limiting audit of the presidential election that will result in a hand recount of nearly 5 million votes cast. The process must be completed by Wednesday at midnight, state officials said.

— From GPB’s Sarah Rose and Stephen Fowler

 

Update 9:30 a.m., Nov. 12:
Why Georgia’s Presidential Audit Is A Recount — Sort Of

Over the next several days, all 159 counties will conduct a statewide risk-limiting audit of the presidential race by hand recounting nearly 5 million ballots. It’s not the RLA officials had in mind and isn’t exactly what the law defines as a recount. So what will election workers be doing?

A risk-limiting audit uses a statistical formula to determine the minimum number of ballots needed to review to be confident that the right person won a race. Workers roll several 10-sided dice to create a seed number that is then entered into a software that randomly generates the exact ballots to pull. The human-readable text is reviewed for ballots cast on ballot-marking devices, the bubbled choices are read for absentee-by-mail votes.

The closer the margin, the more ballots need to be reviewed to hit a certain confidence level that the correct victor was declared. 

But for Georgia’s presidential contest, the margin was so close that the number of ballots needed to reach that confidence level would have been extremely high, and with the ballot-tracking chain of custody requirements to make sure things are put back into the right place, officials say it is easier to review all votes cast.

Ben Adida, executive director of the nonprofit VotingWorks that is helping Georgia with the RLA process, explains more:

The preliminary vote count for Georgia indicates today that Joe Biden won the election with a margin of approximately 14,000 votes, or roughly 0.3%. This is a fairly tight margin of victory. When a risk-limiting audit is performed, the number of ballots examined is based on the margin of the contest: a tight margin requires a significantly larger sample size, while a wider margin means fewer ballots can be examined. In Georgia’s case this year, the required sample size is so large – more than 1.5M ballots – that it is less work to sample every cast ballot, simply because attempting to audit a large subset incurs the work of retrieving and replacing specific ballots, while reviewing all ballots does not.

So while this is still a risk-limiting audit, the risk limit is essentially zero — meaning every vote will be reviewed in a recount and must be finished by the state’s Nov. 20 certification deadline.

But a pure recount under Georgia law is something slightly different: Ballots are re-scanned by machine, can only be requested by a losing candidate within 0.5% of the victor and comes after the state certification deadline.

That means the Trump campaign could potentially ask for a recount after the audit process is complete, although the state says it is unlikely.

It is also extremely unlikely that the winner of the race will change, as Joe Biden is up over Donald Trump by more than 14,000 votes — though with an audit, recount or recanvass it is likely and expected for the totals to slightly shift.

Counties will get instructions on the audit process at 11 a.m.

— From GPB’s Stephen Fowler

 

Update 2:30 p.m., Nov. 11:
Ossoff Speaks In Macon: 'Trump Is Leaving, Like It Or Not'

Democratic Candidate for the US Senate Jon Ossoff spoke in Macon Wednesday. He had his picture made with supporters, one by one, after his stump speech.
Caption
Democratic Candidate for the US Senate Jon Ossoff spoke in Macon Wednesday. He had his picture made with supporters, one by one, after his stump speech.
Credit: Grant Blankenship / GPB News

Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate Jon Ossoff spoke Wednesday in the same spot, in front of the same pickup truck, and in the same Macon park as he did a few days before the election.  

The message about his platform was largely the same, too. He asked for health care access for all, affordable housing and living wages.  

What was new was what Ossoff had to say about what has happened in the country since that first Macon stump speech. 

“Trump is leaving, like it or not,” Ossoff said. Then he took aim at his opponent, Republican Sen. David Perdue. “He may go kicking and screaming, and Sen. Perdue may indulge his temper tantrum, but Trump's going.” 

Ossoff said the big question, for not only Georgia but for the nation, was what comes next.   

"Unless we win these two U.S. Senate races in Georgia, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris will not be able to pass the legislation to control this pandemic and to jump-start our economy,” Ossoff said.  

Ossoff said the same would be true for goals such as investing in renewable energy and environmental sustainability, for new laws protecting voters or for a new Civil Rights Act. 

“Those are the stakes,” Ossoff said.  

Ossoff said he’s counting on the same record-breaking voter turnout for the Jan. 5 runoff election as the state saw earlier this month. Early voting begins in five weeks.  

Ossoff said without him and Raphael Warnock in the Senate, a Biden agenda would likely stall. So he urged supporters to turnout in record numbers in January as they did earlier this month.  

 
— From GPB’s Grant Blankenship

 

Update 1:30 p.m., Nov. 11:
Warnock Issues Response To Loeffler's Demand For Raffensperger's Resignation

U.S. Senate candidate Raphael Warnock issued a response to Sen. Kelly Loeffler's call for Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to step down.

“I've watched with alarm as Kelly Loeffler intentionally seeks to erode trust in our democracy for her own political benefit,” Warnock said. "No matter what party you belong to or who you supported in the last week, I hope we can all agree that we must protect the integrity of our elections.  Every vote must be counted and we all should stand together for taking the responsible, American path of accepting the results.”

The statement comes on the heels of a new attack ad that accuses the Democrat of being “too extreme for Georgia” and being “anti-Israel, anti-Second Amendment, and sympathizing with Marxists and socialists.”

Warnock, the senior pastor of Martin Luther King Jr.’s Ebenezer Baptist Church, got 32.9% of the vote in a crowded general election race. Loeffler received 25.9% percent. 

— From GPB’s Sarah Rose

 

Update 1 p.m., Nov. 11: 

The Secertary of State's office says counties will receive training on conducting the hand recount and will begin either Thursday afternoon or Friday morning.

— From GPB’s Stephen Fowler
 

Update 10:50 a.m., Nov. 11: 
Raffensperger Announces Hand Recount Of Presidential Race

Read the full story from GPB News' Stephen Fowler here.

In a press conference this morning, Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger announced a full audit and hand recount of the presidential race.
Caption
In a press conference this morning, Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger announced a full audit and hand recount of the presidential race.
Credit: GPB News

In a press conference this morning, Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger announced a full hand recount of the presidential race. He said that President-elect Joe Biden continues to lead President Trump in the typically red state by 14,111 votes.

Raffensperger also defended his staff in the wake of calls for his resignation by several prominent state Republicans, including the Republican Party of Georgia, the state’s Republican U.S. House delegation, and Sens. Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue, amidst unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud.

 

“We’ve been open and transparent,” he said. “If you have any information about illegal voting or voter fraud, bring that to our attention and we’ll investigate every case that we hear.”

— From GPB’s Sarah Rose and Stephen Fowler

 

Update 10:15 a.m., Nov. 11: 
Loeffler And Rubio Rally Begins In Marietta

'Save Our Majority' Rally with Sens. Loeffler and Rubio has begun in Marietta.

— From GPB’s Sarah Rose

 

Update 9:40 a.m., Nov. 11: 
Loeffler, Marco Rubio To Rally In Marietta Today

Sen. Marco Rubio
Credit: Al Drago/Pool via AP

Florida U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio is expected to join Sen. Kelly Loeffler in Marietta at 10 a.m. Wednesday for a “Save Our Majority” rally at the Cobb County Republican Party headquarters.

Earlier this morning, Rubio called out Loeffler's opponent Raphael Warnock on Twitter.

“This will be a great opportunity to get to know Kelly if you haven't met her yet,” the event description reads. “Ask questions, take pictures, and spend some time with Senator Loeffler!”

Loeffler and fellow Sen. David Perdue have called for the resignation of Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger because of unsubstantiated allegations of voter fraud and election mismanagement.

— From GPB’s Sarah Rose

 

Update 9:15 a.m., Nov. 11:
Raffensperger To Hold Press Conference Following Criticism

Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger is scheduled to hold a press conference at this Capitol at 10:30 a.m.
Credit: Stephen Fowler / GPB News

Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger is scheduled to hold a press conference at the Capitol at 10:30 a.m.

Over the past several days, Raffensperger has been under fire from a chorus of his fellow Republicans — including the Republican Party of Georgia, the state’s Republican U.S. House delegation, and Sens. Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue — over what they claim are irregularities and fraud that took place in the general election last week. They have not provided evidence or specifics.

— From GPB’s Sarah Rose

 

Update 4:30 p.m., Nov. 10:
Georgia GOP Doubles Down On Evidence-Free Election Concerns

GA Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger
Credit: Stephen Fowler / GPB News

In a pair of letters sent to the secretary of state’s office Monday, the Georgia Republican Party and the state’s 2021 Republican House delegation continue to claim irregularities with the November election without providing specifics.

The Georgia GOP letter, cosigned by President Trump’s campaign, is asking for a hand recount of the nearly 5 million ballots cast in the election — but a new State Election Board rule passed earlier this year calls for the votes to be retabulated using scanners.

“Millions of Georgians doubt the process for counting ballots in this state,” the letter from Chairman David Shafer and Rep. Doug Collins reads, without any evidence to back it up. “We respectfully request, prior to certification of the election results, that your office exercise its statutory authority to order a manual hand recount of every ballot cast within the state of Georgia.”

The pair allege that dead and ineligible people voted, that some people double voted, absentee ballots were counted without the proper signatures, people were denied the opportunity of the right to vote, observers weren’t allowed to watch absentee ballot counting and that bipartisan vote review panels did not include Republicans.

Not present in the statement was any actual evidence to support the claims, much like Republican Sens. Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue’s earlier accusations of a failed election in their call for Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to resign Monday. He declined to do so.

The letter to Raffensperger also included the request that officials recount the votes for the presidential race, which Trump is currently losing by about 12,000 votes, the Senate election that Perdue failed to win outright and must go to a runoff and a similar situation for a Public Service Commission race where the Republican incumbent narrowly failed to win outright.

A later letter signed by the rest of Georgia’s Republican House members — including Marjorie Taylor Greene and Andrew Clyde, who appear to have won their elections but have not been officially certified as the winners — echoed the vague claims made as well.

Raffensperger and the integrity of the election have been under fire for much of the week, with local and national Republicans spreading baseless misinformation about the vote-counting process. The Republican secretary of state, overseeing a voting system approved by Republicans and governed by laws written by Republicans, said multiple times there is no evidence of widespread problems with the Nov. 3 election.

— From GPB’s Stephen Fowler

 

Update 4:00 p.m., Nov. 10: 
Warnock Unveils New Campaign TV Ad

U.S. Senate candidate Raphael Warnock has released his second television ad since qualifying for a runoff on Jan. 5. 

“People like me aren’t supposed to run for office,” Warnock says in the ad. “I grew up in the housing projects of Savannah.”

Warnock, the senior pastor of Martin Luther King Jr.’s Ebenezer Baptist Church, got 32.9% of the vote in a crowded general election race. His opponent, incumbent Sen. Kelly Loeffler, received 25.9% percent. 

From GPB’s Sarah Rose

 

Update 3:45 p.m., Nov. 10:
Biden Extends Lead In Georgia

Democratic President-elect Joe Biden on Tuesday extended his lead in Georgia over President Donald Trump, stretching the margin to more than 12,500 votes, according to the secretary of state’s office. 

The new tally comes as counties keep counting votes amid Republican allegations of a rigged election, even though there is no evidence of any widespread problems or fraud with Georgia's election system. 

"We can't be having people who are out there who are putting out hoaxes and nonsense,” Georgia’s voting system implementation manager Gabriel Sterling told reporters on Monday.

You can view the latest results from the secretary of state’s office here

The state still has not been called for Biden. A Democrat has not carried Georgia in the presidential election since Bill Clinton won in 1992.

From GPB’s Wayne Drash

 

Update 2 p.m., Nov. 10:
Pompeo Promises ‘Smooth Transition to 2nd Trump Administration’

When asked if the State Department was preparing to work with the transition team of President-elect Joe Biden, Secretary of State Pompeo pushed back and said “there would be a smooth transition to a second Trump administration.”

“The world is watching what’s taking place,” he said. “We’re going to count all the votes.”

— From GPB’s Sarah Rose

 

Update 1:30 p.m., Nov. 10:
Ossoff Launches 'Future of Georgia' Tour Ahead of Runoff Election

Ossoff announced that he will be launching a “Future of Georgia” statewide tour starting this morning.
Caption
Ossoff announced that he will be launching a “Future of Georgia” statewide tour starting this morning.
Credit: Grant Blankenship / GPB News

Jon Ossoff, fresh off the heels of news that he will face incumbent Sen. David Perdue in a runoff Jan. 5, announced that he will be launching a “Future of Georgia” statewide tour starting this morning.

The Democrat’s first stop is Atlanta, and will “continue with stops in Macon, Columbus, Albany, Savannah, Augusta, and Athens through Friday,” according to a campaign press release.

The campaign goes on to say that Ossoff will “lay out his vision for the future of Georgia, which includes putting working families and small businesses first in this economic response and ensuring every Georgian has affordable, accessible health care.”

Ossoff received 47.9% of the vote for one of two U.S. Senate seats on the ballot last week.

— From GPB’s Sarah Rose

 

Update 12:10 p.m., Nov. 10:
GOP Infighting Ensues Over ‘Laughable’ Claims Of Election Problems

Day 1 of the U.S. Senate runoffs in Georgia began with the state’s Republican lieutenant governor saying there was no credible evidence of voter fraud. By day’s end, the state’s Republicans were embroiled in a feud over unsubstantiated claims of election problems.

The dramatic turn of events reached a fever pitch when the two senators up for reelection, Sen. Kelly Loeffler and Sen. David Perdue, demanded the state’s top election official resign for what they called "too many failures in Georgia elections this year,” although there is no evidence of any widespread problems or fraud with Georgia's election system.

Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, a Republican himself, shot back that he would not be stepping down, and he blasted Loeffler and Perdue for making “laughable” claims.

“The voters of Georgia hired me, and the voters will be the one to fire me,” Raffensperger said.

Georgia’s voting system implementation manager Gabriel Sterling, who has become a media darling for his matter-of-fact news briefings that beat back election disinformation, took up for his boss, saying the secretary of state’s office would “follow the law and count all legal votes, and no illegal votes.”

Republican Gov. Brian Kemp, who has been in quarantine for nearly two weeks after being exposed to COVID-19, tweeted: “Georgia's election result will include legally cast ballots — and ONLY legally cast ballots. Period.”

President Donald Trump, who trails Democrat Joe Biden by more than 12,000 votes in Georgia, seized on Kemp’s remarks, saying, “This is good news, it means I won!”

Twitter flagged the presidential tweet as misleading.

The tit-for-tat infighting underscored the political stakes over the next two months with Georgia set to determine the balance of power in the U.S. Senate in the Jan. 5 runoffs. Loeffler faces Democrat Raphael Warnock; Perdue squares off against Jon Ossoff.

Democrats took a step-back approach, soaking in the GOP infighting while gearing up for the next two months.

Stacey Abrams, the former Georgia gubernatorial candidate who is being hailed as the Democrat MVP for her voter registration efforts, said she and her group, Fair Fight, will continue to fight voter suppression to deliver the Senate for Democrats in January. The group has raised nearly $10 million since last Friday.

“People will do anything when they know success is likely,” Abrams told CBS This Morning. “It is the actual thing that can change the future, and I believe they’ll show up.”

—   From GPB’s Wayne Drash

Original Link:

https://www.gpb.org/news/2020/11/16/battleground-blog-audit-continues-across-georgia

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