Secretary of State Raffensperger Now Supports Forensic Audit In Georgia

OPINION: This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger has made a total reversal.

After several stunts, insulting comments about Donald Trump, and even coming out against election audits, Raffensperger has now changed his tune.

Last week, a Georgia judge ruled that a group of voters must be allowed to view copies of all 147,000 absentee ballots cast in the state’s largest county.

Now, Raffensperger is voicing his support for the effort and says inspecting the ballots would provide “another layer of transparency and citizen engagement.”

Raffensperger spoke with the New York Times and voiced his support for the forensic audit.

Below is a partial transcript of the interview:

So why support this most recent order to inspect ballots?

So from Day 1, I’ve encouraged Georgians who have concerns about the elections in their counties to pursue those claims through legal avenues. Frankly, Fulton County has a longstanding history of election mismanagement that has weakened voter faith in the system.

And I’m very grateful that S.B. 202 [the state’s new voting law] strengthens the ability of the secretary of state’s office to hold counties accountable. I think that’s a good thing.

The NYT then asked: “But in a letter you wrote to Congress in January, you refuted the false allegations regarding absentee ballots in Fulton County, nearly the very same claims that are a part of this lawsuit that led to the judge’s order. So what has changed?”

Raffensperger responded:

Unfortunately, the No. 1 issue that we’re facing right now in elections nationwide is voter confidence. Now, in Georgia, it goes back to the 2018 governor’s race, when Stacey Abrams did not concede, and then in 2016, days after President Trump won, the other camp talks about Russian collusion. And so we had those aspersions cast on Trump’s victory.

But what happens each time is that voter confidence takes a hit. So whenever we can restore, or have a process that will help restore, voter confidence, I think that’s a good thing — if you have an open and transparent process in which everyone can objectively agree that this is due process that they’re doing, that they’re making sure they’re following the law.

At the end of the day, they’re going to get the same results we got after November. And then we can hopefully put this to bed.

The Times then asked: “Georgia’s new voting law gives more power over elections to state lawmakers. Do you have any worries that this new inspection of ballots could prompt the Legislature to exert even more control over election administration?”

Raffensperger replied:

All Georgians should take great comfort at the end of the day that we have a fair election process. We have 159 counties that are running these elections, we have 159 county election directors who have personal integrity. People need to understand that the people who are running these elections at the precinct level — those are your friends, those are your neighbors, those are your friends at church, those are your friends from Kiwanis, Rotary. Your kids could be on the same youth league baseball or soccer team.

The glue that holds the process together is the individual personal integrity of local Georgians, plus our office, and what I will stand for is fair and honest elections.

Henry County, Georgia Chief Judge Brian Amero has called for a motion to unseal ballots after suspicious discrepancies were found.

During a hearing, lawyers “described large discrepancies (21%) between the number of ballot batches reported by the GA Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger who certified the election, and the number of ballot batches actually provided by court-ordered access in the previous April hearing in the case.”

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