The recount of Georgia’s 5 million ballots requested by the Trump Campaign could begin as early as tomorrow, Nov. 23, and wrap up next week, according to state election officials.
President Donald Trump and his supporters continue to make baseless – and often outrageous – claims that the election was stolen or rigged in President-elect Joe Biden’s favor. Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger certified the election results on Friday with Biden maintaining a 12,000 vote advantage. Taxpayers will be footing the bill for the recount.
The state’s voting systems manager, Gabe Sterling, said in a Monday morning press conference that despite Trump’s claims, there is no evidence of voter fraud in Georgia. Sterling, Raffensperger, and members of their teams have received multiple threats of violence from Trump supporters, which are now being investigated by the FBI and GBI.
“There’s a lot of smoke, obfuscation and charges with no evidence,” Sterling said of the accusations of voter fraud and conspiracy in the state. “Don’t buy into conspiracy theories.”
Sterling said each county now has high speed, high capacity ballot scanners so the work should go quickly, but because of the Thanksgiving holiday, the recount likely wouldn’t be finished until next week.
Sterling expressed concern that baseless accusations by unhappy Trump supporters could wind up suppressing the vote in the Jan. 5 U.S. Senate runoff that will decide which party controls the chamber.
“This kind of rhetoric undermines the confidence of voters,” Sterling said.
He specifically mentioned noted Atlanta attorney Lin Wood, who is part of the Trump legal team, tweeting that Republicans shouldn’t vote for the two Republican U.S. Senate candidates – David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler – because of their failure to help Trump overturn the election. Sterling said this tactic was likely to have an unfavorable outcome for Republicans wishing to hold on to control of the U.S. Senate.
“I encourage everyone who wants to have their vote counted to vote,” Sterling said. “You can vote absentee, early, or the day of the vote.”
The Georgia Board of Elections has extended an authorization for counties to provide secure, video-monitored drop boxes for absentee ballots and will allow counties to begin opening and scanning absentee ballots before Election Day.