The 16 electoral votes that Georgia will deliver to the certified winner of the state’s 2020 presidential election continues to be in dispute, as a video of ballots being pulled out of suitcases after poll watchers had been told to leave one counting facility, surfaced at a state legislative committee meeting this week.
And control of the U.S. Senate continues to hinge on the outcome of two run-off races in Georgia scheduled for January 5, with a recent poll showing both races to be close. Campaign spending has already gone through the roof as Georgians will be inundated with television ads on behalf of all four candidates in those races.
Rudy Giuliani, President Donald Trump’s lawyer, introduced a video on Thursday to a Georgia Senate subcommittee investigating allegations of election fraud. The video, identified as coming from the State Farm Arena, Georgia’s largest vote counting facility, allegedly shows election workers counting ballots after most employees and poll-watchers were dismissed on the night of November 3. Affidavits from Republican poll-watchers state that they were asked to leave for the night, having been assured that all ballot counting had been completed and all work was ceasing.
The video shows various people leaving the building, and then at least four boxes – described as “suitcases” – were brought out from underneath tables that apparently contained thousands of ballots, which the remaining few workers ran through machines for the next couple hours.
As many as 24,000 ballots could have been counted during that time. At the moment, former Vice President Joe Biden is the certified winner in Georgia over President Donald Trump by approximately 12,500 votes.
The video prompted Georgia’s Republican Governor Brian Kemp, during an appearance on Fox News’ “The Ingraham Angle” Thursday night, to call for a “signature audit” of all absentee ballots cast in the presidential race to ensure the integrity of the vote-counting.
“I think it should be done. I think especially [given] what we saw today… it raises more questions,” he said.
The authority to order a signature audit rests with Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, a Republican. He’s already pointed out that absentee ballots go through two signature checks before they are counted, and because ballots and their envelopes are physically separated after opening them, attempting to go back and signature-match them a third time is impossible.
As for the suspicious video from the State Farm Arena, various news outlets have since interviewed officials involved with knowledge of what happened, who explained that nothing out of the ordinary is pictured in the video. Nobody other than employees done with their shifts were told to leave, according to officials; the ballots pulled from underneath tables had already been opened in the presence of Republican poll-watchers and then placed in the containers pictured; and running them through the counting machines was standard procedure.
While the Trump legal team continues to raise questions about the way ballots were counted in the Peach State, the all-important run-off races for the U.S. Senate continue to heat up there as well. The contests leading up to the January 5 vote promise to break all records for spending in the battle for control of Congress’ upper chamber, which currently sits at 50-48 in Republicans’ favor, pending the outcome of the two Georgia contests. Since any tie votes in the Senate can be broken by the vote of the vice president, if Democrats pick up both Georgia seats as well as the White House, they can potentially control the course of federal legislation for at least the next two years.
The first Georgia race, which pits incumbent Republican Sen. David Perdue against Democrat Jon Ossoff, is the result of neither candidate gaining over 50% of the vote on November 3. That came thanks to Libertarian candidate Shane Hazel, who drew 2.3% of the vote, leaving Perdue with 49.7% and Ossoff with 47.9%.
A recent SurveyUSA poll shows Ossoff slightly ahead in the run-off, 50% to 48%, but recent experiences with polls would advise that this be taken with a grain of salt. Prior to the November 3 election, polls showed Ossoff with a lead as well, which proved not to be true when the votes were counted.
In the other run-off, incumbent Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler and Democrat challenger Raphael Warnock will square off. The same SurveyUSA poll shows Warnock with a 52% to 45% edge.
The importance of these races is evident in the amount of advertising money pouring into the state from campaigns, national party committees, super PACs, and other sources. Already, $280 million in television ads have been purchased, with estimates reaching a half billion dollars in total ad spending by the time January 5 rolls around.
If you live in Georgia, your vote on January 5 could determine the course of national policy for the indefinite future. Please make sure to vote your values in this important election.
Screenshot from Daily Mail