Georgia’s Foreign Minister Brad Ravensberger said Monday that he has come under increasing pressure in recent days from his colleague Republicans, Including Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, to question the validity of the legally cast absentee ballot in an effort to overturn President Donald TrumpCramped state loss.
In a wide-ranging interview about the election, Ravensberger expressed outrage at a series of baseless claims by Trump and his allies about the integrity of the Georgia results, including allegations that Dominion Voting Systems, the Georgia-based manufacturer of voting machines, is a “left-wing” company It has ties to Venezuela which has engineered thousands of Trump votes to be excluded from the count.
The atmosphere has become so controversial, Ravensburger said, that he and his wife, Tricia, have received death threats in recent days, including a text message to him saying, “You better not spoil this story. Your life depends on it.”
“Other than making you angry, he’s also very frustrating,” said Ravensberger of the threats, especially when he comes from the people next to me down the aisle. Everyone who works on this needs to raise their level of speaking. We need to be thoughtful and careful about what we are saying. ”He said he informed the state authorities of the threats.
The pressure on Ravensberger, who has defied his party in defending the state’s voting process, comes as Georgia goes through an arduous manual recount of nearly five million ballot papers. Elected President Joe Biden He has an advance of 14,000 votes in the pre-screening.
Usually moderate, Ravensburger saved his harshest language to Rep. Douglas Collins, Georgia, who leads the efforts of the President in Georgia and whom Ravensberger has called a “liar” and “impostor.”
Collins questioned the way Ravensberger handled the vote and accused him of capitulation Democrats By not substantially supporting allegations of voter fraud.
Ravensburger said every accusation of fraud would be thoroughly investigated, but there is currently no reliable evidence of fraud on a large enough scale to influence the election outcome.
Ravensburger said in an interview on Monday that the recount would confirm the results of the initial screening. He said the manual audit that began last week will also prove the accuracy of Dominion’s machines; Some counties have already reported that the manual recount matches exactly the previously reported machine sorting operations. County election officials, Floyd, discovered about 2,600 eligible votes that were not included in the initial count due to failure to load from a memory stick. The foreign minister’s office said those votes might have been discovered, but called for the district election director’s resignation.
“I’m an engineer. We look at the numbers, we look at the hard data,” he said. “I can’t help but a failed candidate like Collins is running around lying to everyone. He’s a liar.”
A Collins spokeswoman responded to a request for comment by linking it to a tweet Collins sent on Monday describing Ravensburger’s incompetence as Secretary of State.
Collins unsuccessfully ran for the Senate this year and is blamed by some Republicans for pushing the incumbent president in that race, Republican Senator Kelly Loeffler, to a second round against Reverend Raphael Warnock, a Democrat.
In the interview, Ravensburger also said that on Friday he spoke with Graham, the chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, who echoed Trump’s unfounded allegations about voting irregularities.
In their conversation, Graham questioned Ravensberger about the state’s signature matching law and whether political bias might drive poll workers to accept ballots with mismatched signatures, Ravensburger said. Graham also asked whether Ravensburger had the ability to mail all polls in counties that were found to have higher rates of mismatched signatures, Ravensburger said.
Ravensberger said he was stunned that Graham apparently suggested he find a way to cast the votes legally. In the absence of court intervention, Ravensberger does not have the authority to do what Graham has proposed, as the provinces administer elections in Georgia.
“He definitely wanted to go down that path,” said Ravensberger.
In an interview on Capitol Hill on Monday evening, Graham denied that he had suggested Ravensberger cast the legal ballot papers, calling that description “ridiculous.”
But he said he asked the Secretary of State to understand the state’s signature matching requirements. Graham said he called Ravensberger alone and Trump did not ask him to.
“The main issue for me is: How do you protect the integrity of mail voting and how does signature verification work?” He said.
“If he feels threatened by that conversation, he has a problem,” Graham added. “I actually thought it was a good conversation.”
On the same day that Graham spoke to Ravensburger about matching signatures, a lawsuit was filed in federal court in Georgia challenging the way in which county election officials verify signatures and allow voters the opportunity to fix ballot papers with errors.
The lawsuit, filed by Atlanta attorney and Trump supporter Lyn Wood, seeks to block certification of the Georgia election until all ballot envelopes have been examined.
Also on that day, Trump tweeted about matching signatures in Georgia and criticized Ravensberger for running the state election: “Georgia’s Secretary of State, the so-called Republican (RINO), will not allow people who check the ballot to see the signatures. Fraudulent. Why? Without that the whole process is. “It is unfair and close to meaning. Everyone knows that we won the state.”
Ravensberger said he would fight the lawsuit aggressively, which would require matching ballot envelopes with ballot papers – which could expose individual voter options.
“It doesn’t matter which political party or campaign is doing this,” Ravensberger said. “Secrecy of the vote is sacred.”
The secretary of state also warned that the Republican attacks on Dominion’s voting machines could create problems for the state’s Republican senators, Loeffler and David Purdue, who will face a January 5 run-off that will be administered using the Dominion machines themselves.
Over the weekend, social media posts began popping up from Trump supporters asking if they would feel comfortable using the Dominion machines in the two run-off rounds, which will determine which party controls the Senate.
“I don’t think it is helpful to raise doubts about the election process,” said Ravensberger. “People might raise their arms and say, ‘Why are they voting?'” “