The Corner

Elections

Trump to Georgia’s Governor: ‘Call Off Election. It Won’t Be Needed’

President Donald Trump speaks during the second presidential campaign debate in Nashville, Tenn., October 22, 2020. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

The latest thoughts on the Georgia elections from President Trump:

Once again, every signature of every absentee voter in Georgia was checked twice. When a registered voter requests an absentee ballot, the signature on the ballot request is compared to the signature on the voter-registration card. Then, when the absentee ballot arrives to the county clerk, the signature on the absentee ballot oath envelope is compared a second time to the signature on the voter registration card and to the signature on the absentee-ballot request.

The consent decree signed earlier this year requires Georgia election officials to consult with their peers on mismatching signatures, to ensure one official isn’t making subjective assessments of a signature match. “A mail-in absentee ballot shall not be rejected unless a majority of the registrars, deputy registrars, or absentee ballot clerks reviewing the signature agree that the signature does not match any of the voter’s signatures on file in eNet or on the absentee ballot application.” If the absentee ballot is rejected, officials are required to notify the voter within three days with an “opportunity to cure” — that is, sort out whether they really are who they say they are, and work out whatever problem led to the rejection of the ballot.

The Georgia state constitution states, “Elections by the people shall be by secret ballot and shall be conducted in accordance with procedures provided by law.” Thus, once a ballot is determined to be valid, it is separated from the envelope with the signature: “Once an election worker counting votes opens your envelope and takes out your ballot, there is no way to re-connect them. Counties do keep the envelopes for records purposes, according to Gabriel Sterling in the Secretary of State’s Office, but again – there’s no way to connect an envelope with your signature back to your ballot.”

The Trump campaign has yet to prove that tens of thousands of signatures do not match and represent ballots cast illegally. And it would require more than ten thousand fraudulent votes to call the validity of the election results into question. According to the official results after a second recount, Trump lost the state of Georgia by 12,670 votes. Republican senator David Perdue fell 13,471 votes short of 50 percent, which would have avoided a runoff election.

Trump’s statement, “Then call off election. It won’t be needed. We will all WIN!” is nonsensical. The second Georgia Senate race was a “jungle primary,” where all candidates were listed and if no one reached 50 percent, the top two finishers went to a runoff. The top vote-getter in the November Senate race was Democrat Raphael Warnock, by a wide margin. Warnock won 343,821 more votes than Kelly Loeffler – in part because Republicans were split between two major candidates, Loeffler and Doug Collins.

Georgia law requires those runoffs. The secretary of state cannot willy-nilly decree that runoffs are not needed. Loeffler won 1,273,214 votes, or 25.9 percent of all votes cast. For that sum to represent 50 percent, the Republican Party would have to prove that 2.63 million votes cast in Georgia were fraudulent.

When you point out all of these facts and the law, a lot of people will call you a Trump hater or accuse you of having “Trump Derangement Syndrome.” But the facts and the law do not hate anyone, they are not deranged, and they are all posted online. You will notice a lot of links above, to primary sources, including the state’s legal code. The laws and regulations about Georgia’s elections and absentee ballots are not written in Sanskrit and hidden away in some vault.

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