Georgia is on everyone’s mind as the vote count and recount efforts have been fraught with hurt personal feelings and faulty software — the Dominion kind. Adding to the election drama, the state’s good governor of Republican persuasion seemingly has forgotten the political coattails from which he hung in 2018 to best the fatally flawed Democrat candidate Stacey Abrams — by 55,000 votes. At the time, with celebrities crawling across the state for Stacey, President Donald Trump threw his heft behind then-Secretary of State Brian Kemp, who so far is not repaying the favor. Recently, Trump called him “hapless.”
The president and his legal team are demanding that the signature on each ballot match the voter’s signature on the envelope during recount efforts in Georgia. With a wave of his hand — and an almost cavalier attitude — Kemp has simply gone about his business while Republicans seethe in anger.
Georgia’s current Secretary of State, Brad Raffensperger, certified election results on Nov. 20, calling his state’s process “wildly successful” and “smooth.” If a lack of transparency and the use of Dominion Voting Systems, with hiccups and burps along the way, is considered “smooth,” that is one sad state of affairs. But Kemp agreed, and that prompted Trump to incinerate the man in a couple of tweets:
“Why won’t Governor @BrianKempGA, the hapless Governor of Georgia, use his emergency powers, which can be easily done, to overrule his obstinate Secretary of State and do a match of signatures on envelopes. It will be a ‘goldmine’ of fraud, and we will easily WIN the state. Also, quickly check the number of envelopes versus the number of ballots … So simple, and so easy to do. Georgia Republicans are angry, all Republicans are angry. Get it done!”
Why indeed? Trump isn’t the only one with a bad feeling about Georgia’s voting problems: U.S. Senators Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue, two Republicans involved in the upcoming runoff, are demanding their state shake the tree, get rid of Raffensperger, and under executive powers perform signature-matching on ballots.
The problem with that explicit demand is before the 2020 presidential election, Georgia adopted emergency rules to preserve the secrecy of each individual vote. Basically, ballots were separated from their envelopes and are impossible to rejoin.
Just an Old Sweet Song Turned Sour
The recount underway has a nearly apoplectic Raffensperger sputtering promises and platitudes that have yet to soothe savage Republican breasts. But try he must, and so he told a local news affiliate, “We will continue to investigate credible claims of illegal voting and violation of state election law.” Then he admitted Georgia has “over 250 open cases from 2020” and only “23 investigators to follow up on that.”
But the bigger problem Raffensperger faces is political blowback from the big oops on the recount of Fulton County, as the good old Dominion mobile unit crashed. Oh, the irony.
No one in the once warm and fuzzy Peach State is happy, except perhaps Abrams, who must be smirking with unabashed pride of late.
Powell: Georgia Is on Her Mind
With legalese-peppered paperwork by Trump’s legal team and the courts volleying back and forth, and Sidney Powell, the woman not affiliated with the Trump campaign, inserting herself into the quagmire, there might perhaps be something for Republicans to celebrate. U.S. District Judge Timothy Batten Sr. issued an order blocking plans to wipe or reset voting machines used in three counties in the state: Cobb, Gwinnett, and Cherokee.
Specifically, the order states: “Defendants are hereby enjoined and restrained from altering, destroying, or erasing, or allowing the alteration, destruction, or erasure of, any software or data on any Dominion voting machine.”
As Kemp and Raffensperger continue to distance themselves from the president over Georgia’s election debacle and the never-ending glitches in the matrix, Powell and the Trump campaign power on, attempting to ensure a complete and fraud-less accounting of election 2020 that is acceptable to Americans. But, as he tends to do, Trump seems to be burning bridges as he tromps through the process, a move that Republicans threatened by his ire would do well to notice.
Trump is not backing down from Kemp’s cold shoulder, saying on Nov. 29, “The governor’s done nothing. He’s done absolutely nothing. I’m ashamed that I endorsed him.” And with the president’s long reach — in politics, fundraising, masses of loyal supporters, and the rumor of a Trump news network — Republicans better keep up appearances or face wrath unwitnessed in the constitutional republic, even if the lights go out in Georgia.
Read more from Sarah Cowgill.