Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, who is currently overseeing a hand recount of 5 million ballots, is facing immense pressure from members of his own party to use his power to tip the ballot count toward Trump.
In a Monday evening interview with the Washington Post, Raffensperger identified one of these Republicans as Sen. Lindsey Graham, who Raffensperger said called him and asked if he could toss out all of the mail-in ballots cast in counties with higher rates of nonmatching signatures.
The same day as their phone conversation, the Post reports, signature matching became a subject of both a Trump tweet and a federal lawsuit, which was filed by an Atlanta-based lawyer and Trump ally who challenged the way election officials check signatures on ballots.
Graham, among the most loathsome members of the GOP, told the Post that he considered his line of inquiry harmless; Raffensperger viewed it as an entreaty to invalidate Georgia voters’ legally cast ballots.
“It sure looked like he was wanting to go down that road,” he said.
Other Trump acolytes have gone even further than Graham, according to Raffensperger, calling him names and even making death threats. He said he recently received a text message warning him that he better not “botch” the recount: “Your life depends on it,” it read.
It’s obvious—though certainly no less pathetic—why Republicans have chosen to go this route. Raffensperger has said that he doesn’t expect the recount to change the overall result of the presidential race in the state, which saw Biden flip Georgia in a historic upset. And though the recount recently uncovered 2,600 previously unreported ballots from Floyd County, the final count is expected to shift only slightly, with Biden’s lead going from 14,200 votes to 13,300, according to the New York Times.
“The Floyd County situation was unfortunate,” Gabriel Sterling, Georgia Secretary of State’s Office election official, told the Times. “The majority of the counties right now are finding zero deviations from the original number of ballots.”
But there’s no turning back now for Republicans who’ve decided that they’re going to ride this thing out to its bitter end. And by “this thing” I mean the massive grift that is Trump’s refusal to concede the presidency.