Rep. Doug Collins, R-Ga., and state GOP chair David Shafer wrote a letter to Georgia‘s Republican secretary of state, Brad Raffensperger, relaying concerns over the hasty and haphazard directives for a full hand recount of the Nov. 3 election results.
The recount, scheduled to begin Friday, was expected to be the largest ballot hand-count in US history, the Epoch Times reported.
Collins and Shafer commended Raffensperger for agreeing to it.
“However, the training and directives issued today do not comport with your stated goals yesterday and do not satisfy our concerns that gave rise to our request for a hand count in the first place,” they wrote.
As was the case in several other battleground states—albeit those with mostly Democrat election officials overseeing them—GOP poll watchers expressed alarm over efforts to prevent them from fully observing the process.
“During the initial vote tabulation, some counties placed ballot reviewers in multiple rooms and aggressively enforced arbitrary distancing restrictions that prevented poll watchers from effectively observing the tabulating process,” Collins and Shafer wrote.
“In other counties, poll watchers were not allowed an unobstructed view of the tabulating process,” they added.
After irregularities forced delays in counting, particularly in the urban and suburban districts surrounding Atlanta and Savannah, the unofficial results gave Democrat candidate Joe Biden an edge of about 15,000 votes over incumbent President Donald Trump.
“We are concerned that your directive today has replicated and aggravated these problems,” Collins and Shafer told Raffensperger.
GOP and campaign officials remained confident that a precise, audited tabulation would ultimately vindicate the Trump campaign, keeping open the path for an eventual victory in the Electoral College.
But Collins and Shafer feared that the recount, if not properly implemented, would instead open a path for Democrats to engage in even more ballot-counting skulduggery that would effectively reinforce the disputed result.
“We do not believe that the protocols and procedures announced today will accomplish what we had requested in our letter or announced by your office yesterday,” they wrote in the letter on Thursday.
“Absent immediate revisions, the people of Georgia cannot have confidence that the hand count and audit were meaningful or delivered on the promised objectives,” they said.
Among the specific concerns they highlighted were:
- Inadequate reviews of the signatures on ballot applications and envelopes after noting that only 0.3% had been rejected in the initial count, down from 3.5% in 2018
- Meaningful access to the audit process by GOP election monitors, which the existing guidelines said would permit only one monitor per 10 auditors
- A deadline of 5 p.m. Friday for certifying the county election results from initial tabulations, even though the hand-recount was still expected to be underway
- Insufficient public notice of the recount and a request that Raffensperger delay it till Monday, allowing more time for observers to be trained and prepared
- Ensuring security of paper ballots—including their transport—and documenting the custody chain, which were only briefly addressed by the initial directives
Some, including GOP Sens. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler, have called on Raffensperger to resign over the failures in his handling of the election.
But Raffensperger, elected in 2018 to fill the seat of incoming Gov. Brian Kemp, dismissed the criticism.
“The voters of Georgia hired me, and the voters will be the one to fire me,” he said. “As Secretary of State, I’ll continue to fight every day to ensure fair elections in Georgia, that every legal vote counts, and that illegal votes don’t count.”
Even after the presidential race is finalized, Georgia’s fraught political turmoil is just beginning.
Both the state’s US Senate seats are now facing a special election after neither race drew 50% or more of the votes.
Long eyed as a potential prize pickup, Democrat mega-donors have sunk untold amounts of dark money into their efforts to flip Georgia into the blue column.
Meanwhile, demographic changes due to an influx of blue-state refugees seeking a more favorable economic climate have continued to narrow the conservative margin of victory in the once solid-red state.
With the control of the Senate potentially hanging in the balance, left-wing operatives including former Democratic candidate Andrew Yang, former Vox propagandist Matthew Yglesias and New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman have recently been encouraging more Democrats to take up temporary residence in order to commit vote fraud in the runoff election.