President Trump likely lost the election in Georgia because his comments on mail-in voting led some Republican voters to avoid casting ballots, Georgia secretary of state Brad Raffensperger told Atlanta-based WSBTV on Tuesday.
The state is conducting an automatic recount of the general election results because Joe Biden won by a slim margin of about 15,000 votes, according to the Associated Press. However, around 24,000 GOP voters who cast absentee ballots in the Republican primaries did not vote in the general election, according to Raffensperger.
Live exclusive at 4 on @wsbtv: the typically mild mannered @GaSecofState comes out swinging in our interview – says Donald Trump cost himself the election by discouraging mail in votes: "he would have won by 10 thousand votes he actually suppressed, depressed his own voting base" pic.twitter.com/1mM7Mmf8xi
— Justin Gray (@JustinGrayWSB) November 17, 2020
“Either they did not vote absentee because they were told by the president, ‘Don’t vote absentee, it’s not secure’ — but then they did not come out and vote in-person,” Raffensperger said. Trump “would have won by 10,000 votes. He actually depressed, suppressed his own voting base.”
The president has repeatedly assailed universal mail-in voting, in which states send ballots directly to every registered voter on file, as ripe for exploitation for voter fraud. However, the president’s messaging on the issue has sometimes failed to distinguish between “universal mail-in voting” and “absentee ballots.” In a tweet thread from July 10, Trump attempts to differentiate between “mail-in ballots” and “absentee ballots,” despite those terms being essentially interchangeable.
….Absentee Ballots are fine because you have to go through a precise process to get your voting privilege. Not so with Mail-Ins. Rigged Election!!! 20% fraudulent ballots?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 10, 2020
Republican strategists warned over the summer that Trump’s attacks on mail-in voting might depress GOP turnout in the general election.
Voters in one study group “were confused about two different kinds of mail-in balloting,” Alabama secretary of state John Merrill told the Washington Post in August.
With the general election finished, President Trump has alleged that Democrats employed widespread voter fraud to “steal” the election, and Georgia senators Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue have called on Raffensperger to resign. Raffensperger, a Republican, has pushed back on claims that Georgia mishandled the election process.