Georgia's secretary of state says fellow Republicans are pressuring him to find ways to exclude legal ballots
Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said Monday that he has come under increasing pressure in recent days from fellow Republicans, including Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., to question the validity of legally cast absentee ballots in an effort to reverse President Donald Trump's narrow loss in the state.
In a wide-ranging interview about the election, Raffensperger expressed exasperation over a string of baseless allegations coming from Trump and his allies about the integrity of the Georgia results, including claims that Dominion Voting Systems, the Colorado-based manufacturer of Georgia's voting machines, is a "leftist" company with ties to Venezuela that engineered thousands of Trump votes not to be counted.
The atmosphere has grown so contentious, Raffensperger said, that both he and his wife, Tricia, have received death threats in recent days, including a text to him that read, "You better not botch this recount. Your life depends on it."
"Other than getting you angry, it's also very disillusioning," Raffensperger said of the threats, "particularly when it comes from people on my side of the aisle. Everyone that is working on this needs to elevate their speech. We need to be thoughtful and careful about what we say." He said he reported the threats to state authorities.
The pressure on Raffensperger, who has bucked his party in defending the state's voting process, comes as Georgia is in the midst of a laborious hand recount of about 5 million ballots. President-elect Joe Biden has a 14,000-vote lead in the initial count.
The normally mild-mannered Raffensperger saved his harshest language for U.S. Rep. Doug Collins, R-Ga., who is leading the president's effort to prove fraud in Georgia and whom Raffensperger called a "liar" and a "charlatan."
Collins has questioned Raffensperger's handling of the vote and accused him of capitulating to Democrats by not backing allegations of voter fraud more strongly.
Raffensperger has said that every accusation of fraud will be thoroughly investigated, but that there is currently no credible evidence that fraud occurred on a broad enough scale to affect the outcome of the election.
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