President Joe Biden delivered a speech in defense of democracy and in support of voting rights legislation as the nation undergoes an unprecedented attempt to suppress the vote.
Biden delivered the following remarks at Atlanta University Center Consortium in Atlanta, Georgia on January 11, 2022:
In our lives and the lives of our nation — the life of our nation, there are moments so stark that they divide all that came before from everything that followed. They stop time. They rip away the trivial from the essential. And they force us to confront hard truths about ourselves, about our institutions, and about our democracy.
In the words of Scripture, they remind us to “hate evil, love good, and establish justice in the gate.”
Last week, [Vice] President Harris and I stood in the United States Capitol to observe one of those “before and after” moments in American history: January 6th insurrection on the citadel of our democracy.
Today, we come to Atlanta — the cradle of civil rights — to make clear what must come after that dreadful day when a dagger was literally held at the throat of American democracy.
We stand on the grounds that connect Clark Atlanta — Atlanta University, Morehouse College, and near Spelman College — the home of generations of advocates, activists, educators and preachers; young people, just like the students here, who have done so much to build a better America. (Applause.)
We visited the sacred Ebenezer Baptist Church and paused to prayed at the crypt of Dr. and Mrs. King, and spent time with their family. And here in the district — as was pointed out — represented and reflected the life of beloved friend, John Lewis.
In their lifetimes, time stopped when a bomb blew up the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham and murdered four little girls.
They [Time] stopped when John and many others seeking justice were beaten and bloodied while crossing the bridge at Selma named after the Grand Dragon of the Ku Klux Klan.
They stopped — time stopped, and they forced the country to confront the hard truths and to act — to act to keep the promise of America alive: the promise that holds that we’re all created equal but, more importantly, deserve to be treated equally. And from those moments of darkness and despair came light and hope.
Democrats, Republicans, and independents worked to pass the historic Civil Rights Act and the voting rights legislation. And each successive generation continued that ongoing work.
But then the violent mob of January 6th, 2021, empowered and encouraged by a defeated former president, sought to win through violence what he had lost at the ballot box, to impose the will of the mob, to overturn a free and fair election, and, for the first time — the first time in American history, they — to stop the peaceful transfer of power.
They failed. They failed. (Applause.) But democracy’s — but democracy’s visi- — victory was not certain, nor is democracy’s future.
That’s why we’re here today to stand against the forces in America that value power over principle, forces that attempted a coup — a coup against the legally expressed will of the American people — by sowing doubt, inventing charges of fraud, and seeking to steal the 2020 election from the people.
They want chaos to reign. We want the people to rule. (Applause.)
But let me be clear: This is not about me or Vice President Harris or our party; it’s about all of us. It’s about the people. It’s about America.
Hear me plainly: The battle for the soul of America is not over. We must stand strong and stand together to make sure January 6th marks not the end of democracy but the beginning of a renaissance of our democracy. (Applause.)
You know, for the right to vote and to have that vote counted is democracy’s threshold liberty. Without it, nothing is possible, but with it, anything is possible.
But while the denial of fair and free elections is un-democratic, it is not unprecedented.
Black Americans were denied full citizenship and voting rights until 1965. Women were denied the right to vote until just 100 years ago. The United States Supreme Court, in recent years, has weakened the Voting Rights Act. And now the defeated former president and his supporters use the Big Lie about the 2020 election to fuel torrent and torment and anti-voting laws — new laws designed to suppress your vote, to subvert our elections.
Here in Georgia, for years, you’ve done the hard work of democracy: registering voters, educating voters, getting voters to the polls. You’ve built a broad coalition of voters: Black, white, Latino, Asian American, urban, suburban, rural, working class, and middle class.
And it’s worked: You’ve changed the state by bringing more people, legally, to the polls. (Applause.) That’s how you won the historic elections of Senator Raphael Warnock and Senator Jon Ossoff. (Applause.)
You did it — you did it the right way, the democratic way.
And what’s been the reaction of Republicans in Georgia? Choose the wrong way, the undemocratic way. To them, too many people voting in a democracy is a problem. So they’re putting up obstacles.
For example, voting by mail is a safe and convenient way to get more people to vote, so they’re making it harder for you to vote by mail.
The same way, I might add, in the 2020 Election, President Trump voted from behind the desk in the White House — in Florida.
Dropping your ballots off to secure drop boxes — it’s safe, it’s convenient, and you get more people to vote. So they’re limiting the number of drop boxes and the hours you can use them.
Taking away the options has a predictable effect: longer lines at the polls, lines that can last for hours. You’ve seen it with your own eyes. People get tired and they get hungry.
When the Bible teaches us to feed the hungry and give water to the thirsty, the new Georgia law actually makes it illegal — think of this — I mean, it’s 2020, and now ’22, going into that election — it makes it illegal to bring your neighbors, your fellow voters food or water while they wait in line to vote. What in the hell — heck are we talking about? (Laughter and applause.)
I mean, think about it. (Applause.) That’s not America. That’s what it looks like when they suppress the right to vote.
And here’s how they plan to subvert the election: The Georgia Republican Party, the state legislature has now given itself the power to make it easier for partisan actors — their cronies — to remove local election officials.
Think about that. What happened in the last election? The former president and allies pursued, threatened, and intimidated state and local election officials.
Election workers — ordinary citizens — were subject to death threats, menacing phone calls, people stalking them in their homes.
Remember what the defeated former president said to the highest-ranking election official — a Republican — in this state? He said, quote, “I just want to find 11,780 votes.”
Pray God. (Laughter.) He didn’t say that part. (Laughter.)
He didn’t say, “Count the votes.” He said, “find votes” that he needed to win.
He failed because of the courageous officials — Democrats, Republicans — who did their duty and upheld the law. (Applause.)
But with this new law in Georgia, his loyal- — his loyalists will be placed in charge of state elections. (Laughs.) What is that going to mean? Well, the chances for chaos and subversion are even greater as partisans seek the result they want — no matter what the voters have said, no matter what the count. The votes of nearly 5 million Georgians will be up for grabs if that law holds.
It’s not just here in Georgia. Last year alone, 19 states not proposed but enacted 34 laws attacking voting rights. There were nearly 400 additional bills Republican members of state legislatures tried to pass. And now, Republican legislators in several states have already announced plans to escalate the onslaught this year.
Their endgame? To turn the will of the voters into a mere suggestion — something states can respect or ignore.
Jim Crow 2.0 is about two insidious things: voter suppression and election subversion. It’s no longer about who gets to vote; it’s about making it harder to vote. It’s about who gets to count the vote and whether your vote counts at all.
It’s not hyperbole; this is a fact.
Look, this matters to all of us. The goal of the former president and his allies is to disenfranchise anyone who votes against them. Simple as that. The facts won’t matter; your vote won’t matter. They’ll just decide what they want and then do it.
That’s the kind of power you see in totalitarian states, not in democracies.
We must be vigilant.
And the world is watching. I know the majority of the world leaders — the good and the bad ones, adversaries and allies alike. They’re watching American democracy and seeing whether we can meet this moment. And that’s not hyperbole.
When I showed up at the G7 with seven other world leaders — there were a total of nine present — Vice President Harris and I have spent our careers doing this work — I said, “America is back.” And the response was, “For how long?” “For how long?”
As someone who’s worked in foreign policy my whole life, I never thought I would ever hear our allies say something like that.
Over the past year, we’ve directed federal agencies to promote access to voting, led by the Vice President. We’ve appointed top civil rights advocates to help the U.S. Department of Justice, which has doubled its voting rights enforcement staff.
And today, we call on Congress to get done what history will judge: Pass the Freedom to Vote Act. (Applause.) Pass it now — (applause) — which would prevent voter suppression so that here in Georgia there’s full access to voting by mail, there are enough drop boxes during enough hours so that you can bring food and water as well to people waiting in line.
The Freedom to Vote Act takes on election subversion to protect nonpartisan electors [election] officials, who are doing their job, from intimidation and interference.
It would get dark money out of politics, create fairer district maps and ending partisan gerrymandering. (Applause.)
Look, it’s also time to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act. (Applause.)
I’ve been having these quiet conversations with the members of Congress for the last two months. I’m tired of being quiet! (Applause.)
Folks, it’ll restore the strength of the Voting Rights Act of ’65 — the one President Johnson signed after John Lewis was beaten, nearly killed on Bloody Sunday, only to have the Supreme Court weaken it multiple times over the past decade.
Restoring the Voting Rights Act would mean the Justice Department can stop discriminatory laws before they go into effect — before they go into effect. (Applause.) The Vice President and I have supported voting rights bills since day one of this administration. But each and every time, Senate Republicans have blocked the way. Republicans oppose even debating the issue. You hear me?
I’ve been around the Senate a long time. I was Vice President for eight years. I’ve never seen a circumstance where not one single Republican has a voice that’s ready to speak for justice now.
When I was a senator, including when I headed up the Judiciary Committee, I helped reauthorize the Voting [Rights] Act three times. We held hearings. We debated. We voted. I was able to extend the Voting Rights Act for 25 years.
In 2006, the Voting Rights Act passed 390 to 33 in the House of Representatives and 98 to 0 in the Senate with votes from 16 current sitting Republicans in this United States Senate. Sixteen of them voted to extend it.
The last year I was chairman, as some of my friends sitting down here will tell you, Strom Thurmond voted to extend the Voting Rights Act. Strom Thurmond.
AUDIENCE MEMBER: Wow.
THE PRESIDENT: You can say that again: “Wow.” You have no idea how damn ha- — how darn hard I worked on that one. (Laughter and applause.)
But, folks, then it was signed into law, the last time, by President George W. Bush.
You know, when we got voting rights extended in the 1980s, as I’ve said, even Thurmond supported it. Think about that. The man who led the longest filibu- — one of the longest filibusters in history in the United States Senate in 1957 against the Voting Rights Act [Civil Rights Act]. The man who led and sided with the old Southern Bulls in the United States Senate to perpetuate segregation in this nation. Even Strom Thurmond came to support voting rights.
But Republicans today can’t and won’t. Not a single Republican has displayed the courage to stand up to a defeated president to protect America’s right to vote. Not one. Not one.
We have 50-50 in the United States Senate. That means we have 51 presidents. (Laughter.) You all think I’m kidding. (Laughter.)
I’ve been pretty good at working with senators my whole career. But, man, when you got 51 presidents, it gets harder. Any one can change the outcome.
Sadly, the United States Senate — designed to be the world’s greatest deliberative body — has been rendered a shell of its former self. It gives me no satisfaction in saying that, as an institutionalist, as a man who was honored to serve in the Senate.
But as an institutionalist, I believe that the threat to our democracy is so grave that we must find a way to pass these voting rights bills, debate them, vote.
Let the majority prevail. (Applause.) And if that bare minimum is blocked, we have no option but to change the Senate rules, including getting rid of the filibuster for this. (Applause.)
You know, last year, if I’m not mistaken, the filibuster was used 154 times. The filibuster has been used to generate compromise in the past and promote some bipartisanship. But it’s also been used to obstruct — including and especially obstruct civil rights and voting rights.
And when it was used, senators traditionally used to have to stand and speak at their desks for however long it took, and sometimes it took hours. And when they sat down, if no one immediately stood up, anyone could call for a vote or the debate ended.
But that doesn’t happen today. Senators no longer even have to speak one word. The filibuster is not used by Republicans to bring the Senate together but to pull it further apart.
The filibuster has been weaponized and abused.
While the state legislatures’ assault on voting rights is simple — all you need in your House and Senate is a pure majority — in the United States Senate, it takes a supermajority: 60 votes, even to get a vote — instead of 50 — to protect the right to vote.
State legislatures can pass anti-voting laws with simple majorities. If they can do that, then the United States Senate should be able to protect voting rights by a simple majority. (Applause.)
Today I’m making it clear: To protect our democracy, I support changing the Senate rules, whichever way they need to be changed — (applause) — to prevent a minority of senators from blocking action on voting rights. (Applause.)
When it comes to protecting majority rule in America, the majority should rule in the United States Senate.
I make this announcement with careful deliberation, recognizing the fundamental right to vote is the right from which all other rights flow.
And I make it with an appeal to my Republican colleagues, to those Republicans who believe in the rule of law: Restore the bipartisan tradition of voting rights.
The people who restored it, who abided by it in the past were Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, George W. Bush. They all supported the Voting Rights Act.
Don’t let the Republican Party morph into something else. Restore the institution of the Senate the way it was designed to be.
Senate rules were just changed to raise the debt ceiling so we wouldn’t renege on our debt for the first time in our history and prevent an economic crisis. That was done by a simple majority.
As Senator Warnock said a few weeks ago in a powerful speech: If we change the rules to protect the full faith and credit of the United States, we should be able to change the rules to protect the heart and soul of our democracy. (Applause.) He was right.
In the days that followed John Lewis’s death, there was an outpouring of praise and support across the political spectrum.
But as we stand here today, it isn’t enough just to praise his memory. We must translate eulogy into action. We need to follow John Lewis’s footsteps. We need to support the bill in his name.
Just a few days ago, we talked about — up in the Congress and in the White House — the event coming up shortly to celebrate Dr. King’s birthday. And Americans of all stripes will praise him for the content of his character.
But as Dr. King’s family said before, it’s not enough to praise their father. They even said: On this holiday, don’t celebrate his birthday unless you’re willing to support what he lived for and what he died for. (Applause.)
The next few days, when these bills come to a vote, will mark a turning point in this nation’s history.
We will choose — the issue is: Will we choose democracy over autocracy, light over shadows, justice over injustice?
I know where I stand. I will not yield. I will not flinch. I will defend the right to vote, our democracy against all enemies — foreign and, yes, domestic. (Applause.)
And the question is: Where will the institution of the United States Senate stand? Every senator — Democrat, Republican, and independent — will have to declare where they stand, not just for the moment, but for the ages.
Will you stand against voter suppression? Yes or no? That’s the question they’ll answer. Will you stand against election subversion? Yes or no? Will you stand for democracy? Yes or no?
And here’s one thing every senator and every American should remember: History has never been kind to those who have sided with voter suppression over voters’ rights. And it will be even less kind for those who side with election subversion.
So, I ask every elected official in America: How do you want to be remembered?
At consequential moments in history, they present a choice: Do you want to be the si- — on the side of Dr. King or George Wallace? Do you want to be on the side of John Lewis or Bull Connor? Do you want to be on the side of Abraham Lincoln or Jefferson Davis?
This is the moment to decide to defend our elections, to defend our democracy. (Applause.)
And if you do that, you will not be alone. That’s because the struggle to protect voting rights has never been borne by one group alone.
We saw Freedom Riders of every race. Leaders of every faith marching arm in arm. And, yes, Democrats and Republicans in Congress of the United States and in the presidency.
I did not live the struggle of Douglass, Tubman, King, Lewis, Goodman, Chaney, and Schwerner, and countless others — known and unknown.
I did not walk in the shoes of generations of students who walked these grounds. But I walked other grounds. Because I’m so damn old, I was there as well. (Laughter.)
You think I’m kidding, man. (Laughter.) It seems like yesterday the first time I got arrested. Anyway — (laughter).
But their struggles here — they were the ones that opened my eyes as a high school student in the late — in the late ’50s and early ’60s. They got me more engaged in the work of my life.
And what we’re talking about today is rooted in the very idea of America — the idea that Annell Ponder, who graduated from Clark Atlanta, captured in a single word. She was a teacher and librarian who was also an unyielding champion of voting rights.
In 1963 — when I was just starting college at university — after registering voters in Mississippi, she was pulled off a bus, arrested, and jailed, where she was brutally beaten.
In her cell, next to her, was Fannie Lou Hamer, who described the beating this way, and I quote: “I could hear the sounds of [the] licks and [the] horrible screams…They beat her, I don’t know [for] how long. And after a while, she began to pray, and asked God to have mercy on those people.”
Annell Ponder’s friends visited her the next day. Her face was badly swollen. She could hardly talk.
But she managed to whi- — whisper one word: “Freedom.” “Freedom” — the only word she whispered.
After nearly 250 years since our founding, that singular idea still echoes. But it’s up to all of us to make sure it never fades, especially the students here — your generation that just started voting — as there are those who are trying to take away that vi- — vote you just started to be able to exercise.
But the giants we honor today were your age when they made clear who we must be as a nation. Not a joke. Think about it. In the early ’60s, they were sitting where you’re sitting. They were you. And like them, you give me much hope for the future.
Before and after in our lives — and in the life of the nation — democracy is who we are, who we must be — now and forever. So, let’s stand in this breach together. Let’s love good, establish justice in the gate.
And remember, as I said, there is one — this is one of those defining moments in American history: Each of those who vote will be remembered by class after class, in the ’50s and ’60s — the 2050s and ’60s. Each one of the members of the Senate is going to be judged by history on where they stood before the vote and where they stood after the vote.
There’s no escape. So, let’s get back to work.
As my fath- — my grandfather Finnegan used to say every time I walked out the door in Scranton, he’d say, “Joey, keep the faith.” Then he’d say, “No, Joey, spread it.”
Let’s spread the faith and get this done. (Applause.)
May God bless you all. And may God protect the sacred right to vote. (Applause.) Thank you. I mean it. Let’s go get this done. Thank you. (Applause.)
The Department of Justice’s lawsuit is an important step to ensure that voting rights are upheld. We encourage the DOJ to pursue lawsuits in other states – including critically important swing states like Arizona and Florida – where voter suppression has become the primary strategy for Republicans to retain power.
Georgia was set to host the 2021 All-Star Game along with the 2021 MLB Draft at Truist Park, home to the Atlanta Braves. Both events are being relocated to a yet-to-be-determined location because of the voter suppression law.
According to ESPN:
In a statement, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said the league is “finalizing a new host city and details about these events will be announced shortly.” A source told ESPN that the All-Star Game is still planned for Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles in 2022 and won’t be moved up to fill the void this summer.
“Over the last week, we have engaged in thoughtful conversations with Clubs, former and current players, the Players Association, and The Players Alliance, among others, to listen to their views,” Manfred said in his statement. “I have decided that the best way to demonstrate our values as a sport is by relocating this year’s All-Star Game and MLB Draft.
“Major League Baseball fundamentally supports voting rights for all Americans and opposes restrictions to the ballot box. In 2020, MLB became the first professional sports league to join the non-partisan Civic Alliance to help build a future in which everyone participates in shaping the United States. We proudly used our platform to encourage baseball fans and communities throughout our country to perform their civic duty and actively participate in the voting process. Fair access to voting continues to have our game’s unwavering support.”
The Players Alliance – which consists of more than 150 Black professional baseball players – tweeted out their support for MLB’s decision.
Civil rights groups have called for businesses to condemn voter suppression in the Peach State. Major League Baseball’s decision – which comes shortly after Opening Day during the 2021 season – could put pressure on companies like Coca-Cola to respond more forcefully.
Image Credit: SunTrust Park Opening Day 2017, Thechased, Wikipedia
Instead of celebrating the rights of all Georgians to vote or winning campaigns on the merits of their ideas, Republicans in the state instead rushed through an un-American law to deny people the right to vote. This law, like so many others being pursued by Republicans in statehouses across the country, is a blatant attack on the Constitution and good conscience.
This is Jim Crow in the 21st Century. It must end.
The president’s statements were no hyperbole. The severity of the restrictions of Georgia’s new voting law hasn’t been seen since the Jim Crow Era where Black Americans were subject to absurd hurdles to vote in the form of literacy tests that literally no one would pass today and other restrictions such as property tests and grandfather clauses. Under the new law, some counties will only have one ballot drop box and in-person early voting hours will be mostly restricted to a 9 am – 5 pm timeframe, when most people work.
Adding to the absurdity of this new Jim Crow Era for Georgia Republicans is the arrest of Black Georgia state lawmaker Park Cannon. Cannon has served in Georgia’s House of Representatives since 2016 and she was peacefully protesting the signing of the legislation with others. A Facebook Live video posted to Twitter shows Cannon outside of the locked room where Governor Brian Kemp was signing SB 202 into law. Cannon merely knocked on the door and was immediately arrested by Georgia State Patrol officers.
Canon was charged with felony obstruction of law enforcement and a misdemeanor for preventing or disrupting General Assembly sessions or other meetings of members.
Many Georgia activists and Democratic lawmakers decried the arrest of Park Cannon, recalling scenes from the Jim Crow Era of the early and mid 20th century.
From passage of the #SB202 voter suppression bill targeted at Black and brown voters to the arrest of a Black legislator who was advocating for the voting rights of her constituents, today was a reminder of Georgia’s dark past. We must fight for the future of our democracy #gapolpic.twitter.com/IZWZGAX9RT
The signing of SB 202, the arrest of Park Cannon, and the fact that the charges against her continue to stand to this day, is a reassertion of white supremacy at a time when Black voting power, particularly in some places in the South, is growing. The rise of Black voting and political power is challenging the generations-old white supremacist power establishment and they’re reacting to it the same way they did during the Jim Crow Era.
SB 202 is one example of the reassertion of white supremacy. Another example can be seen in the not-so-subtle slave era imagery set as the literal backdrop to Governor Brian Kemp’s signing of the bill — the Washington, Georgia Callaway Plantation which held slaves in the 1800s.
The legislation that was passed into law in Georgia not only aims to suppress the Black vote, but also allows Republicans to seize control over how elections are run in the state.
The new law removes the secretary of state from serving as chair of the State Board of Elections, giving the legislature the authority to appoint a majority of the members, and authorizes the state board to suspend local election officials.
If these measures had been in place in 2020, critics say, the state board could have tried to interfere when the secretary of state, Republican Brad Raffensperger, certified Democrat Joe Biden’s victory in the state and rejected Trump’s unsubstantiated claims that the election was stolen.
Separately, the new power to suspend county election boards could give state officials unprecedented influence over all manner of election decisions, including the acceptance and rejection of mail ballots, early-voting hours, poll-worker hiring and the number of polling locations, critics say.
All told, the measures represent an unprecedented power grab and an attempt to usurp local control, said Lauren Groh-Wargo, executive director of Atlanta-based Fair Fight Action, the voting rights group founded by Stacey Abrams, a Democrat who ran for governor in 2018. They allow legislators to target heavily Democratic counties in the metro Atlanta region, home of the state’s highest concentration of Black and Brown voters, “if they don’t like how elections are being run,” she said.
“It will make what we all lived through in 2020 child’s play,” Groh-Wargo said in a call with reporters earlier this week, before the measure passed. “Donald Trump won’t have to strong-arm our election administrators. The most radical fringes of the Republican Party sitting in the state legislature will be able to wipe out boards of elections.”
What the Washington Post is describing here is a small-scale political coup which is exactly what Trump and the insurrectionists tried for months to accomplish, culminating in the January 6th insurrection. If SB 202 is allowed to remain in place, not only will democracy in the state of Georgia be imperiled, but also the entire country. Republicans across the country will be emboldened to pass similar laws in the states they control, like Florida and Texas. Rising Democratic and Black political power will face massive roadblocks. The only way to reverse our current dangerous trajectory is to pass both H.R. 1 and H.R. 4 which would override draconian voter restrictions across the country and reverse the Republican coup against Georgia’s election system.
The day after SB 202 was signed into law, Senator Raphael Warnock, who won a January runoff election in Georgia, noted that “our democracy is in a 911 emergency.”
“I’m not about to be stopped or stymied by debates about Senate rules,” Warnock said, referring to the Senate filibuster. “I respect rules … but no Senate rule should overrule the integrity of our democracy. And I was on the phone with my colleagues even last night.”
Our democracy is indeed in an emergency. The survival of a functioning US democracy will depend on Democrats reforming or gutting the filibuster and then passing H.R. 1 and H.R. 4. If we’re successful, this is not to say that US democracy won’t face future threats and attacks. But we must pass these crucial bills so that we can have the tools to fight another day.
Voting should be a quick and simple process. In many places, you can show up at a polling place, request a ballot, verify your identity, and fill out the ballot in 15 minutes.
But states with a history of racial discrimination are often different. They may erect artificial barriers that are meant to deter – or even intimidate – voters. The barriers are usually meant to target people of color but sometimes young voters and college students – who may not have the knowledge or the proper identification – find themselves caught up in the voter suppression web as well.
Georgia is a perfect example of this. Just last October, the state had 10-hour long lines in counties with large black populations. This, by the way, was in the midst of a pandemic where Georgians – particularly the elderly and immuno-compromised – were quite literally putting their life at risk just to vote.
It’s not like state officials were caught by surprise. Back in June 2020, Georgia conducted its primary elections. Voters in Atlanta waited for hours. Volunteers provided bottled water and sandwiches to make the wait a little more bearable. It’s not far-fetched to imagine that those volunteers saved lives as voters waited in the heat for hours on end.
What was the reaction from Georgia’s Republican-controlled legislature and Governor Brian Kemp to the outrageously long lines at polling places? Surely, their concern was making sure that this never happened again, right?
Their concern was making sure that the state’s black voters – who had helped Joe Biden become the first Democrat to win the state since 1992 (and also helped elect a pair of Democratic senators in January) – would have to suffer even more if they dared to exercise their right to vote.
In short, this law is meant to suppress voting among the state’s black voters. Rather than expand the number of polling places and make vote-by-mail easier after voters waited for hours during two separate elections last year, Republicans in the state legislature (along with Governor Kemp) decided to make voting even more onerous in order to hurt Democrats. That’s morally reprehensible.
Republicans in Texas, the country’s second-largest state, have begun to roll out election bills aiming to restrict voting rights in a push to curtail the rising political power of Democrats in the state.
Several bills seek to limit early voting to certain hours or to standardize hours across the state, which would expand early voting in smaller counties while limiting it in the largest counties. All would cut early voting hours in urban, Democratic areas.
Other proposed legislation targets mail voting, which lawmakers say needs additional precautions to prevent fraud.
Republicans have proposed a bill that would shrink the period when voters could return mail ballots, while another bill would ask voters to mail back photocopies of their driver’s licenses or other qualifying identification with their mail ballots.
Several bills also seek to ensure that noncitizens stay off the voter rolls and urge election officials to aggressively purge the rolls. And a slew of bills would add or increase penalties for fraud or mistakes made by voters or officials in running elections.
Hughes’ election bill, which he said he expects will be the vehicle for any voting legislation coming out of the Senate, would impose civil fines on local officials who don’t purge their voter rolls quickly enough — $100 for every voter the secretary of state’s office identifies as improperly being on the books.
State Sen. Paul Bettencourt, a Republican from Harris County, has sponsored a bill that would prohibit election officials from waiving signature match requirements on mail ballots, which he said hasn’t happened in Texas.
“We saw it in Atlanta, Pennsylvania — Philadelphia, Detroit, Milwaukee,” he said, pointing to many of the Democratic cities with large populations of Black voters that Trump’s allies baselessly accused of orchestrating a large voter fraud campaign to steal the election.
The Texas GOP understands what we understand – that conservative politics are becoming increasingly unpopular and out of touch with a changing society, and the only way they can win is to abandon democracy.
The Texas GOP is not alone. Georgia’s Republican attack on voting rights is getting the most attention, and rightly so. The Georgia GOP is scrambling to roll back the rise of Democratic political power. For the first time since the 1992 election, a Democrat won Georgia’s electoral votes. And in what seemed like a nearly impossible feat, Georgia voters sent two Democrats to the Senate during the January 5, 2021 runoff elections. Unfortunately, the GOP is still in control of Georgia’s state government and they are doing everything they can to make it very difficult for Democratic voters, particularly Black voters, in upcoming elections.
The Georgia House bill proposes to shorten the period of early voting, prevent ballots from being mailed out more than four weeks before an election, reduce the use of ballot drop boxes, further criminalize giving food or water to those waiting in line to vote, and severely restrict early voting on Sundays, when many Black churches take their congregants to polling places.
The Senate bill would cut mobile voting facilities, end no-excuse absentee voting, and require people who are qualified to vote absentee to provide a witness’s signature on the ballot envelope. Additional proposals would end, among other things, automatic voter registration at the Department of Driver Services. All these measures are meant to diminish turnout and undo the state of affairs that led to Democrats winning the Presidential race in November and both Senate runoff races in January.
Voter advocacy and civil rights groups are coming together to try and thwart these draconian bills by calling on major corporations to come out against this attack on democracy. Organizers say that this is not an issue of partisanship or taking sides for or against a particular party, but that this is an issue about whether certain Georgians are effectively blocked from participating in democracy itself.
Fenika Miller, the Georgia state coordinator for Black Voters Matter, said the group is running a corporate accountability campaign to garner support to squash House Bill 531, Senate Bill 241 and Senate Bill 202, which she said would restrict Georgian’s access to vote.
In the summer of 2020, many companies, such as Coca-Cola, took a pledge during the protests against the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery.
“They were going to stand on the side of racial equity and inclusion and help to move the needle to make sure that communities of color and Black communities in particular were protected, and so, all that we’re doing is asking them to make good on that pledge,” she said. “We’re asking them to be bold and to take a stand and to say that we do not believe that restricting access to the ballot will help democracy.”
There is precedent for corporations opposing blatantly oppressive legislation. Arizona is a perfect example where a 2014 anti-LGBT bill was passed by the state’s legislature but was then vetoed by right-wing Governor Jan Brewer after corporations mounted strong pressure for her to veto the legislation.
After business owners lashed out, Arizona’s governor vetoed a bill that would have allowed retailers to refuse service to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender customers based on the owners’ religious convictions.
The bill drew controversy since it passed the Arizona legislature last Thursday. While proponents say the legislation was introduced as a way to afford religious freedom to business owners, critics say it opened the door to discrimination.
“When the legislature passes bills like this, it creates a reputation that Arizona is judgmental and unwelcoming,” states a letter that more than 80 businesses sent to Gov. Brewer on Monday. “This will haunt our business community for decades to come.”
After business owners lashed out, Arizona’s governor vetoed a bill that would have allowed retailers to refuse service to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender customers based on the owners’ religious convictions.
The bill drew controversy since it passed the Arizona legislature last Thursday. While proponents say the legislation was introduced as a way to afford religious freedom to business owners, critics say it opened the door to discrimination.
“When the legislature passes bills like this, it creates a reputation that Arizona is judgmental and unwelcoming,” states a letter that more than 80 businesses sent to Gov. Brewer on Monday. “This will haunt our business community for decades to come.”
National corporations including American Airlines (AAL), AT&T (ATT ), Delta Airlines (DAL), Intel (INTC), Marriott (MAR), PetSmart (PETM), Starwood (HOT), and Yelp (YELP) were among those urging Brewer to veto the bill, saying the law would be bad for the state’s reputation and bad for business — repelling tourists, potential employees and current workers who live in the state.
“I can assure you that this proposed legislation is causing tremendous concerns for our employees, particularly those who live and work in Arizona,” American Airlines CEO Doug Parker wrote in a letter to Brewer.
Meanwhile, Intel, which has nearly 12,000 employees in Arizona, said the bill directly conflicted with its own non-discrimination policy, which “values and welcomes diversity in the workplace.”
It is our belief that this type of corporate pressure could be mounted in Georgia with the possibility of thwarting most of the measures proposed by Georgia’s GOP.
Amid the mounting pressure, corporations such as Coca-Cola, Aflac, Delta, Home Depot, and UPS have issued statements in support of voting rights.
The statements from the corporations came after civil rights and activist groups— including Black Voters Matter, the New Georgia Project Action Fund, and the Georgia NAACP—called on major Georgia-based corporations on Friday to publicly speak out against voting restrictions proposed by the state’s GOP and stop donating money to the Republican legislators sponsoring the bills.
The groups focused on six of the largest companies in Georgia, which include Aflac, Coca-Cola, Delta Airlines, Home Depot, Southern Company and UPS. All six companies belong to the Georgia Chamber of Commerce.
The Georgia Chamber previously shared in a February 5 statement the importance of voting rights, saying it’s “one of the most sacred rights of a U.S. citizen.” The Georgia Chamber, however, didn’t voice opposition against any specific legislation at the time.
The Georgia Chamber said it has “expressed concern and opposition to provisions found in both HB 531 and SB 241 that restrict or diminish voter access,” and “continues to engage in a bipartisan manner with leaders of the General Assembly on bills that would impact voting rights in our state.”
The statements by the corporations and the Georgia Chamber of Commerce are a start, but they are much weaker, especially the statements by the Chamber of Commerce, than what we saw during the Arizona anti-LGBT legislation battle in 2014.
Voting and civil rights groups in Georgia are keeping up the pressure, but time is running out. If these bills pass, they would be among the most restrictive in the country. If these corporate leaders believe in our democracy, they will do everything they can to mount the pressure needed to stop these disastrous bills. If not, then we have a much bigger problem on our hands than we thought. It would set a precedent and signal to Republicans across the country that corporate America has given them a green light to attack our democracy.
It appears as though Republicans are betting on that. Across the country, more than 253 bills have been introduced in 43 states to date in what can only be described as a coordinated campaign to end US democracy as we know it. The bills introduced in these states by Republicans take similar aim at early voting, mail-in voting, and other practices which make it easier for people to vote – a baseline for any functioning democracy. Some of the measures were put into effect in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic which made in-person voting dangerous.
Republicans have ruled by minority for decades and now that rule is under threat. This is mostly why they cling so hard to Donald Trump – a disgraced former president who attempted a violent overthrow of US democracy after months of delegitimizing and nearly imperiling an election he was widely expected to lose.
The only tools they have left are to surrender to political civility and moderation or to adopt authoritarian and at times borderline fascist tendencies, aiming to dismantle key pillars of our democracy. They’re opting for the latter and they’re mounting a national campaign to achieve this goal. Such suppression of democracy occurring in any other country would prompt leveling of sanctions on them at this very moment.
Drastic action must be taken to stop this coordinated campaign on our democracy. We support and urgently call on the Senate to pass the House’s H.R.1 which would amount to a historic overhaul of our voting and election system and protect our democracy against these attacks by Republicans. Even if some of these draconian election bills do pass in some states, passing H.R.1 would override them. But to get this done, we will need to reform the filibuster. So, we urgently call on Senate Democrats to reform the filibuster in a way that allows the passage of this and other extremely important legislation. With Democrats controlling the House, Senate, and the White House, we have to pass this legislation now and save our democracy.
President Jimmy Carter has released a statement condemning voter suppression efforts and calling for “fair, open, and secure” elections.
The former president is a resident of Georgia. Republicans in the state legislature are pushing voting restrictions following President Joe Biden’s win in the traditionally-Republican state in November. Democrats won two subsequent runoffs for United States Senate seats in January.
The statement reads:
In 1962, I ran to represent the 14th Senate District in the Georgia legislature. I won my Senate seat, but only after the courts ruled that a ballot box had been illegally “stuffed” with votes for my opponent. My experience with our election system was one of the reasons Rosalynn and I created The Carter Center. Since 1989, we have observed 113 elections in 39 countries and helped build consensus on standards for democratic elections, perhaps the most fundamental of which are the rights to vote and be elected.
One thing we have learned from our international work is that while states must safeguard the integrity of the election process to prevent fraud, this should not be at the expense of voters’ access to the polls. They should proactively expand voter access through safe, secure administrative practices.
Since that 1962 Senate race, Georgia has established itself as a leader in providing voter access and taking steps to enhance election integrity. Georgia now uses technologies that provide a paper trail allowing voters to review their ballot before it is cast. In addition, Georgia requires post-election risk-limiting audits that make it possible to check the accuracy of voting machines. Indeed, November saw a successful set of elections with record turnout and few or no fraudulent ballots counted—which should make us all proud.
Now, as our state legislators seek to turn back the clock through legislation that will restrict access to voting for many Georgians, I am disheartened, saddened, and angry. Many of the proposed changes are reactions to allegations of fraud for which no evidence was produced—allegations that were, in fact, refuted through various audits, recounts, and other measures. The proposed changes appear to be rooted in partisan interests, not in the interests of all Georgia voters.
I also am disappointed that advocates for these restrictive changes have repeatedly and selectively referenced a report prepared by a 2005 commission that I co-chaired with former Secretary of State James Baker. While our report noted a few good and bad examples of vote-by-mail practices, its main recommendation was that further study of voting by mail was needed. In the 16 years since the report’s release, vote-by-mail practices have progressed significantly as new technologies have been developed. In light of these advances, I believe that voting by mail can be conducted in a manner that ensures election integrity. This is just one of several ways to expand access to the voting process for voters across the state, regardless of political affiliation.
American democracy means every eligible person has the right to vote in an election that is fair, open, and secure. It should be flexible enough to meet the electorate’s changing needs. As Georgians, we must protect these values. We must not lose the progress we have made. We must not promote confidence among one segment of the electorate by restricting the participation of others. Our goal always should be to increase, not decrease, voter participation.
Photo Credit: Children’s Bureau Centennial, Flickr
Donald Trump continues to pressure state officials to overturn the presidential election, months after voters elected Joe Biden president and weeks after the Electoral College formalized Biden’s victory.
We now have the transcript from the call. While there are plenty of bombshells, Trump’s intentions are laid bare with one quote:
“So look. All I want to do is this. I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have because we won the state.”
You can read the entire transcript and listen to the audio recording below.
Meadows: Ok. Alright. Mr. President, everyone is on the line. This is Mark Meadows, the chief of staff. Just so we all are aware. On the line is secretary of state, and two other individuals. Jordan and Mr. Germany with him. You also have the attorneys that represent the president, Kurt and Alex and Cleta Mitchell — who is not the attorney of record but has been involved — myself and then the president. So Mr. President, I’ll turn it over to you.
Trump: OK, thank you very much. Hello Brad and Ryan and everybody. We appreciate the time and the call. So we’ve spent a lot of time on this and if we could just go over some of the numbers, I think it’s pretty clear that we won. We won very substantially in Georgia. You even see it by rally size, frankly. We’d be getting 25-30,000 people a rally and the competition would get less than 100 people. And it never made sense.
But we have a number of things. We have at least two or three — anywhere from 250-300,000 ballots were dropped mysteriously into the rolls. Much of that had to do with Fulton County, which hasn’t been checked. We think that if you check the signatures — a real check of the signatures going back in Fulton County you’ll find at least a couple of hundred thousand of forged signatures of people who have been forged. And we are quite sure that’s going to happen.
Another tremendous number. We’re going to have an accurate number over the next two days with certified accountants. But an accurate number but its in the 50s of thousands— and that’s people that went to vote and they were told they can’t vote because they’ve already been voted for. And it’s a very sad thing. They walked out complaining. But the number’s large. We’ll have it for you. But it’s much more than the number of 11,779 that’s — The current margin is only 11,779. Brad, I think you agree with that, right? That’s something I think everyone — at least that’s a number that everyone agrees on.
But that’s the difference in the votes. But we’ve had hundreds of thousands of ballots that we’re able to actually — we’ll get you a pretty accurate number. You don’t need much of a number because the number that in theory I lost by, the margin would be 11,779. But you also have a substantial numbers of people, thousands and thousands who went to the voting place on November 3, were told they couldn’t vote, were told they couldn’t vote because a ballot had been put on their name. And you know that’s very, very, very, very sad.https://e47c8f61c5f7f96849e7f2e9ca1c0282.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html
We had, I believe it’s about 4,502 voters who voted but who weren’t on the voter registration list, so it’s 4,502 who voted but they weren’t on the voter registration roll which they had to be. You had 18,325 vacant address voters. The address was vacant and they’re not allowed to be counted. That’s 18,325.
Smaller number — you had 904 who only voted where they had just a P.O. — a post office box number — and they had a post office box number and that’s not allowed. We had at least 18,000 — that’s on tape we had them counted very painstakingly — 18,000 voters having to do with [name]. She’s a vote scammer, a professional vote scammer and hustler [name]. That was the tape that’s been shown all over the world that makes everybody look bad, you me and everybody else.
Where they got — number one they said very clearly and it’s been reported they said there was a major water main break. Everybody fled the area. And then they came back, [name] and her daughter and a few people. There were no Republican poll watchers. Actually, there were no Democrat poll watchers, I guess they were them. But there were no Democrats, either and there was no law enforcement. Late in the morning, they went early in the morning they went to the table with the black robe, the black shield and they pulled out the votes. Those votes were put there a number of hours before the table was put there. I think it was, Brad you would know, it was probably eight hours or seven hours before and then it was stuffed with votes.
They weren’t in an official voter box, but they were in what looked to be suitcases or trunks, suitcases but they weren’t in voter boxes. The minimum number it could be because we watched it and they watched it certified in slow motion instant replay if you can believe it but slow motion and it was magnified many times over and the minimum it was 18,000 ballots, all for Biden.
You had out-of-state voters. They voted in Georgia but they were from out of state, of 4,925. You had absentee ballots sent to vacant, they were absentee ballots sent to vacant addresses. They had nothing on them about addresses, that’s 2,326.
And you had drop boxes, which is very bad. You had drop boxes that were picked up. We have photographs and we have affidavits from many people.
I don’t know if you saw the hearings, but you have drop boxes where the box was picked up but not delivered for three days. So all sorts of things could have happened to that box including, you know, putting in the votes that you wanted. So there were many infractions and the bottom line is, many, many times the 11,779 margin that they said we lost by — we had vast I mean the state is in turmoil over this.
And I know you would like to get to the bottom of it, although I saw you on television today and you said that you found nothing wrong. I mean, you know, And I didn’t lose the state, Brad. People have been saying that it was the highest vote ever. There was no way. A lot of the political people said that there’s no way they beat me. And they beat me. They beat me in the … As you know, every single state … we won every state. we one every statehouse in the country. We held the Senate which is shocking to people, although we’ll see what happens tomorrow or in a few days.
And we won the House, but we won every single statehouse and we won Congress, which was supposed to lose 15 seats, and they gained, I think 16 or 17 or something. I think there’s a now difference of five. There was supposed to be a difference substantially more. But politicians in every state, but politicians in Georgia have given affidavits or are going to that, that there was no way that they beat me in the election that the people came out, in fact, they were expecting to lose and then they ended up winning by a lot because of the coattails. And they said there’s no way that they’ve done many polls prior to the election. There was no way that they won.
Ballots were dropped in massive numbers. And we’re trying to get to those numbers and we will have them.
They’ll take a period of time. Certified. But but they’re massive numbers. And far greater than the 11,779.
The other thing, dead people. So dead people voted and I think the number is close to 5,000 people. And they went to obituaries. They went to all sorts of methods to come up with an accurate number and a minimum is close to about 5,000 voters.
The bottom line is when you add it all up and then you start adding, you know, 300,000 fake ballots. Then the other thing they said is in Fulton County and other areas. And this may or may not … because this just came up this morning that they are burning their ballots, that they are shredding, shredding ballots and removing equipment. They’re changing the equipment on the Dominion machines and, you know, that’s not legal.
And they supposedly shredded I think they said 300 pounds of, 3,000 pounds of ballots. And that just came to us as a report today. And it is a very sad situation.
But Brad, if you took the minimum numbers where many, many times above the 11,779 and many of those numbers are certified, or they will be certified but they are certified. And those are numbers that are there that exist. And that beat the margin of loss, they beat it, I mean by a lot and people should be happy to have an accurate count instead of an election where there’s turmoil.
I mean there’s turmoil in Georgia and other places. You’re not the only one I mean we have other states that I believe will be flipping to us very shortly. And this is something that — You know, as an example, I think it in Detroit, I think there’s a section a good section of your state actually, which we’re not sure so we’re not going to report it yet. But in Detroit, we had, I think it was, 139% of the people voted. That’s not too good.
In Pennsylvania, they had well over 200,000 more votes than they had people voting. And uh that doesn’t play too well, and the legislature there is, which is Republican, is extremely activist and angry. I mean, there were other things also that were almost as bad as that. But, uh, they had as an example, in Michigan, a tremendous number of dead people that voted. I think it was I think, Mark, it was 18,000. Some unbelievably high number, much higher than yours, you were in the 4-5,000 category.
And that was checked out laboriously by going through, by going through the obituary columns in the newspapers.
So I guess with all of it being said, Brad, the bottom line and provisional ballots, again, you know, you’ll have to tell me about the provisional ballots, but we have a lot of people that were complaining that they weren’t able to vote because they were already voted for. These are great people.
And, you know, they were shellshocked. I don’t know if you call that provisional ballots. In some states we had a lot of provisional ballot situations where people were given a provisional ballot because when they walked in on November 3 and they were already voted for.
So that’s it. I mean, we have many many times the number of votes necessary to win the state. And we won the state and we won it very substantially and easily and we’re getting, we have, much of this is a very, you know they’re certified, far more certified than we need. But we’re getting additional numbers certified, too. And we’re getting pictures of dropboxes being delivered and delivered late. Delivered three days later, in some cases, plus we have many affidavits to that effect.
Meadows: So Mr. President, if I might be able to jump in and I’ll give Brad a chance. Mr. Secretary, obviously there is, there are allegations where we believe that not every vote or fair vote and legal vote was counted and that’s at odds with the representation from the secretary of state’s office.
What I’m hopeful for is there some way that we can we can find some kind of agreement to look at this a little bit more fully. You know the president mentioned Fulton County.
But in some of these areas where there seems to be a difference of where the facts seem to lead, and so Mr. Secretary, I was hopeful that, you know, in the spirit of cooperation and compromise is there something that we can at least have a discussion to look at some of these allegations to find a path forward that’s less litigious?
Raffensperger: Well, I listened to what the President has just said. President Trump, we’ve had several lawsuits and we’ve had to respond in court to the lawsuits and the contentions. Um, we don’t agree that you have won. And we don’t — I didn’t agree about the 200,000 number that you’d mentioned. And I can go through that point by point.
What we have done is we gave our state Senate about one and a half hours of our time going through the election issue by issue and then on the state House, the government affairs committee, we gave them about two and a half hours of our time, going back point by point on all the issues of contention. And then just a few days ago we met with our U.S. congressmen, Republican congressmen, and we gave them about two hours of our time talking about this past election. Going back, primarily what you’ve talked about here focused in on primarily, I believe, is the absentee ballot process. I don’t believe that you’re really questioning the Dominion machines. Because we did a hand retally, a 100% retally of all the ballots and compared them to what the machines said and came up with virtually the same result. Then we did the recount, and we got virtually the same result. So I guess we can probably take that off the table.
I don’t think there’s an issue about that. What you–
Trump: Well, Brad. Not that there’s not an issue, because we have a big issue with Dominion in other states and perhaps in yours. But we haven’t felt we needed to go there. And just to, you know, maybe put a little different spin on what Mark is saying, Mark Meadows, uh, yeah we’d like to go further, but we don’t really need to. We have all the votes we need.
You know, we won the state. If you took, these are the most minimal numbers, the numbers that I gave you, those are numbers that are certified, your absentee ballots sent to vacant addresses, your out of state voters 4,925. You know when you add them up, it’s many more times, it’s many times the 11,779 number. So we could go through, we have not gone through your Dominion. So we can’t give them blessing. I mean, in other states, we think we found tremendous corruption with Dominion machines but we’ll have to see.
But we only lost the state by that number, 11,000 votes, and 779. So with that being said, with just what we have, with just what we have we’re giving you minimal, minimal numbers. We’re doing the most conservative numbers possible, we’re many times, many, many times above the margin. And so we don’t really have to, Mark, I don’t think we have to go through …
Trump: Because, what’s the difference between winning the election by two votes and winning it by half a million votes. I think I probably did win it by half a million. You know, one of the things that happened Brad, is we have other people coming in now from Alabama and from South Carolina and from other states, and they’re saying it’s impossible for you to have lost Georgia. We won. You know in Alabama, we set a record, got the highest vote ever. In Georgia, we set a record with a massive amount of votes. And they say it’s not possible to have lost Georgia.
And I could tell you by our rallies. I could tell you by the rally I’m having on Monday night, the place, they already have lines of people standing out front waiting. It’s just not possible to have lost Georgia. It’s not possible. When I heard it was close I said there’s no way. But they dropped a lot of votes in there late at night. You know that, Brad. And that’s what we are working on very, very stringently. But regardless of those votes, with all of it being said, we lost by essentially 11,000 votes and we have many more votes already calculated and certified, too.
And so I just don’t know, you know, Mark, I don’t know what’s the purpose. I won’t give Dominion a pass because we found too many bad things. But we don’t need Dominion or anything else. We have won this election in Georgia based on all of this. And there’s nothing wrong with saying that, Brad. You know I mean, having the correct — the people of Georgia are angry. And these numbers are going to be repeated on Monday night. Along with others that we’re going to have by that time which are much more substantial even. And the people of Georgia are angry, the people of the country are angry. And there’s nothing wrong with saying, you know, um, that you’ve recalculated. Because the 2,236 in absentee ballots. I mean, they’re all exact numbers that were done by accounting firms law firms, etc. and even if you cut ’em in half, cut ’em in half and cut ’em in half, again, it’s more votes than we need.
Raffensperger: Well Mr. President, the challenge that you have is, the data you have is wrong. We talked to the congressmen and they were surprised.
But they — I guess there was a person Mr. Braynard who came to these meetings and presented data and he said that there was dead people, I believe it was upward of 5,000. The actual number were two. Two. Two people that were dead that voted. So that’s wrong. There were two.
Trump: Well Cleta, how do you respond to that? Maybe you tell me?
Mitchell: Well, I would say Mr. Secretary, one of the things that we have requested and what we said was, if you look, if you read our petition, it said that we took the names and birth years and we had certain information available to us. We have asked from your office for records that only you have and so we said there is a universe of people who have the same name and same birth year and died.
But we don’t have the records that you have. And one of the things that we have been suggesting formally and informally for weeks now is for you to make available to us the records that would be necessary —
Trump: But Cleta, even before you do that, and not even including that, that’s why hardly even included that number, although in one state we have a tremendous amount of dead people. So I don’t know — I’m sure we do in Georgia, too. I’m sure we do in Georgia too.
But, um, we’re so far ahead. We’re so far ahead of these numbers, even the phony ballots of [name], known scammer. You know the Internet? You know what was trending on the Internet? “Where’s [name]?” Because they thought she’d be in jail. “Where’s [name]?” It’s crazy, it’s crazy. That was. The minimum number is 18,000 for [name], but they think it’s probably about 56,000, but the minimum number is 18,000 on the [name] night where she ran back in there when everybody was gone and stuffed, she stuffed the ballot boxes. Let’s face it, Brad, I mean. They did it in slow motion replay magnified, right? She stuffed the ballot boxes. They were stuffed like nobody had ever seen them stuffed before.
So there’s a term for it when it’s a machine instead of a ballot box, but she stuffed the machine. She stuffed the ballot — each ballot went three times they were showing: Here’s ballot No 1. Here it is second time, third time, next ballot.
I mean, look. Brad. We have a new tape that we’re going to release. It’s devastating. And by the way, that one event, that one event is much more than the 11,000 votes that we’re talking about. It’s uh, you know. That one event was a disaster. And it’s just, you know, but it was, it was something, it can’t be disputed. And again we have a version that you haven’t seen but it’s magnified. It’s magnified and you can see everything. For some reason they put it in three times, each ballot, and I don’t know why. I don’t know why three times. Why not five times, right? Go ahead.
Raffensperger: You’re talking about the State Farm video. And I think it’s extremely unfortunate that Rudy Giuliani or his people, they sliced and diced that video and took it out of context. The next day we brought in WSB-TV and we let them show, see the full run of tape and what you’ll see, the events that transpired are nowhere near what was projected by, you know —
Trump: But where were the poll watchers, Brad? There were no poll watchers there. There were no Democrats or Republicans. There was no security there.
It was late in the evening, late in the, early in the morning, and there was nobody else in the room. Where were the poll watchers and why did they say a water main broke, which they did and which was reported in the newspapers? They said they left. They ran out because of a water main break, and there was no water main. There was nothing. There was no break. There was no water main break. But we’re, if you take out everything, where were the Republican poll watchers, even where were the Democrat poll watchers, because there were none.
And then you say, well, they left their station, you know, if you look at the tape, and this was, this was reviewed by professional police and detectives and other people, when they left in a rush, everybody left in a rush because of the water main, but everybody left in a rush. These people left their station.
When they came back, they didn’t go to their station. They went to the apron, wrapped around the table, under which were thousands and thousands of ballots in a box that was not an official or a sealed box. And then they took those. They went back to a different station. So if they would have come back, they would have walked to their station and they would have continued to work. But they couldn’t do even that because that’s illegal, because they had no Republican poll watchers. And remember, her reputation is deva — she’s known all over the Internet, Brad. She’s known all over.
I’m telling you, “Where’s [name]” was one of the hot items …[name] They knew her. “Where’s [name]?” So Brad, there can be no justification for that. And I you know, I give everybody the benefit of the doubt. But that was — and Brad, why did they put the votes in three times? You know, they put ’em in three times.
Raffensperger: Mr. President, they did not put that. We did an audit of that and we proved conclusively that they were not scanned three times.
Trump: Where was everybody else at that late time in the morning? Where was everybody? Where were the Republicans? Where were the security guards? Where were the people that were there just a little while before when everyone ran out of the room. How come we had no security in the room? Why did they run to the bottom of the table? Why do they run there and just open the skirt and rip out the votes? I mean, Brad. And they were sitting there, I think for five hours or something like that, the votes. But they just all happened to run back and go, you know, Brad…
Raffensperger: Mr. President, we’ll send you the link from WSB.
Trump: I don’t care about the link. I don’t need it. Brad, I have a much better link —
Mitchell: I will tell you. I’ve seen the tape. The full tape. So has Alex. We’ve watched it. And what we saw and what we’ve confirmed in the timing is that. They made everybody leave, we have sworn affidavits saying that. And then they began to process ballots. And our estimate is that there were roughly 18,000 ballots. We don’t know that. If you know that …
Trump: It was 18,000 ballots but they used each one three times.
Mitchell: Well, I don’t know about that.
Trump: I do think because we had ours magnified out. Each one magnified out is 18 times three
Mitchell: I’ve watched the entire tape.
Trump: Nobody can make a case for that, Brad. Nobody. I mean, look, you’d have to be a child to think anything other than that. Just a child. I mean you have your never Trumper…
Mitchell: How many ballots, Mr. Secretary, are you saying were processed then?
Raffensperger: We had GBI … investigate that.
Germany: We had our — this is Ryan Germany. We had our law enforcement officers talk to everyone who was who was there after that event came to light. GBI was with them as well as FBI agents.
Trump: Well, there’s no way they could — then they’re incompetent. They’re either dishonest or incompetent, okay?
Mitchell: Well, what did they find?
Trump: There’s only two answers, dishonesty or incompetence. There’s just no way. Look. There’s no way. And on the other thing, I said too, there is no way. I mean, there’s no way that these things could have been you know, you have all these different people that voted but they don’t live in Georgia anymore. What was that number, Cleta? That was a pretty good number too.
Mitchell: The number who have registered out of state after they moved from Georgia. And so they had a date when they moved from Georgia, they registered to vote out of state. And then it’s like 4,500, I don’t have that number right in front of me.
Trump: And then they came back in and they voted.
Mitchell: And voted. Yeah.
Trump: I thought that was a large number, though. It was in the 20s. The point is…
Germany: We’ve been going through each of those as well and those numbers that we got that Ms. Mitchell was just saying, they’re not accurate. Every one we’ve been through, are people that lived in Georgia, moved to a different state, but then moved back to Georgia legitimately. And in many cases
Trump: How many people do that? They moved out and then they said, “Ah, to hell with it I’ll move back.” You know, it doesn’t sound like a very normal … you mean, they moved out, and what, they missed it so much that they wanted to move back in? It’s crazy.
Germany: This is they moved back in years ago. This was not like something just before the election. So there’s something about that data that, it’s just not accurate.
Trump: Well, I don’t know, all I know is that it is certified. And they moved out of Georgia and they voted. It didn’t say they moved back in Cleta, did it?
Mitchell: No, but I mean, we’re looking at the voter registration. Again, if you have additional records, we’ve been asking for that, but you haven’t shared any of that with us. You just keep saying you investigated the allegations.
Trump: But, Cleta, a lot of it you don’t need to be shared. I mean, to be honest, they should share it. They should share it because you want to get to an honest election.
I won this election by hundreds of thousands of votes. There’s no way I lost Georgia. There’s no way. We won by hundreds of thousands of votes. I’m just going by small numbers when you add them up they’re many times the 11,000. But I won that state by hundreds of thousands of votes.
Do you think it’s possible that they shredded ballots in Fulton County? Because that’s what the rumor is. And also that Dominion took out machines. That Dominion is really moving fast to get rid of their, uh, machinery.
Do you know anything about that? Because that’s illegal, right?
Germany: This is Ryan Germany. No, Dominion has not moved any machinery out of Fulton County.
Trump: But have they moved the inner parts of the machines and replaced them with other parts?
Trump: Are you sure, Ryan?
Germany: I’m sure. I’m sure, Mr. President.
Trump: What about, what about the ballots. The shredding of the ballots. Have they been shredding ballots?
Germany: The only investigation that we have into that — they have not been shredding any ballots. There was an issue in Cobb County where they were doing normal office shredding, getting rid of old stuff, and we investigated that. But this is stuff from, you know, from you know past elections.https://e47c8f61c5f7f96849e7f2e9ca1c0282.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html
Trump: I don’t know. It doesn’t pass the smell test because we hear they’re shredding thousands and thousands of ballots and now what they’re saying, “Oh, we’re just cleaning up the office.” So I don’t think they’re cleaning.
Raffensperger: Mr. President, the problem you have with social media, they — people can say anything.
Trump: Oh this isn’t social media. This is Trump media. It’s not social media. It’s really not it’s not social media. I don’t care about social media. I couldn’t care less. Social media is Big Tech. Big Tech is on your side. I don’t even know why you have a side, because you should want to have an accurate election. And you’re a Republican.
Raffensperger: We believe that we do have an accurate election.
Trump: No, no you don’t. No, no you don’t. You don’t have. Not even close. You’re off by hundreds of thousands of votes. And just on the small numbers, you’re off on these numbers and these numbers can’t be just — well, why wont? — Okay. So you sent us into Cobb County for signature verification, right? You sent us into Cobb County, which we didn’t want to go into. And you said it would be open to the public. And we could have our – So we had our experts there they weren’t allowed into the room. But we didn’t want Cobb County. We wanted Fulton County. And you wouldn’t give it to us. Now, why aren’t we doing signature — and why can’t it be open to the public?
And why can’t we have professionals do it instead of rank amateurs who will never find anything and don’t want to find anything? They don’t want to find, you know, they don’t want to find anything. Someday you’ll tell me the reason why, because I don’t understand your reasoning, but someday you’ll tell me the reason why. But why don’t you want to find?
Germany: Mr. President, we chose Cobb County —
Trump: Why don’t you want to find … What?
Germany: Sorry, go ahead.
Trump: So why did you do Cobb County? We didn’t even request — we requested Fulton County, not Cobb County. Go ahead, please. Go ahead.
Germany: We chose Cobb County because that was the only county where there’s been any evidence submitted that the signature verification was not properly done.
Trump: No, but I told you. We’re not, we’re not saying that.
Mitchell: We did say that.
Trump: Fulton County. Look. Stacey, in my opinion, Stacey is as dishonest as they come. She has outplayed you … at everything. She got you to sign a totally unconstitutional agreement, which is a disastrous agreement. You can’t check signatures. I can’t imagine you’re allowed to do harvesting, I guess, in that agreement. That agreement is a disaster for this country. But she got you somehow to sign that thing and she has outsmarted you at every step.
And I hate to imagine what’s going to happen on Monday or Tuesday, but it’s very scary to people. You know, where the ballots flow in out of nowhere. It’s very scary to people. That consent decree is a disaster. It’s a disaster. A very good lawyer who examined it said they’ve never seen anything like it.
Raffensperger: Harvesting is still illegal in the state of Georgia. And that settlement agreement did not change that one iota.
Trump: It’s not a settlement agreement, it’s a consent decree. It even says consent decree on it, doesn’t it? It uses the term consent decree. It doesn’t say settlement agree. It’s a consent decree. It’s a disaster.
Raffensperger: It’s a settlement agreement.
Trump: What’s written on top of it?
Germany: I don’t have it in front of me, but it was not entered by the court, it’s not a court order.
Trump: But Ryan, it’s called a consent decree, is that right? On the paper. Is that right?
Germany: I don’t. I don’t. I don’t believe so, but I don’t have it in front of me.
Trump: OK, whatever, it’s a disaster. It’s a disaster. Look. Here’s the problem. We can go through signature verification and we’ll find hundreds of thousands of signatures, if you let us do it. And the only way you can do it, as you know, is to go to the past. But you didn’t do that in Cobb County. You just looked at one page compared to another. The only way you can do a signature verification is go from the one that signed it on November whatever. Recently. And compare it to two years ago, four years ago, six years ago, you know, or even one. And you’ll find that you have many different signatures. But in Fulton, where they dumped ballots, you will find that you have many that aren’t even signed and you have many that are forgeries.
OK, you know that. You know that. You have no doubt about that. And you will find you will be at 11,779 within minutes, because Fulton County is totally corrupt and so is she, totally corrupt.
And they’re going around playing you and laughing at you behind your back, Brad, whether you know it or not, they’re laughing at you and you’ve taken a state that’s a Republican state, and you’ve made it almost impossible for a Republican to win because of cheating, because they cheated like nobody’s ever cheated before. And I don’t care how long it takes me, you know, we’re going to have other states coming forward — pretty good.
But I won’t … this is never … this is … We have some incredible talent said they’ve never seen anything … Now the problem is they need more time for the big numbers. But they’re very substantial numbers. But I think you’re going to find that they — by the way, a little information, I think you’re going to find that they are shredding ballots because they have to get rid of the ballots because the ballots are unsigned. The ballots are corrupt, and they’re brand new and they don’t have a seal and there’s the whole thing with the ballots. But the ballots are corrupt.
And you are going to find that they are — which is totally illegal, it is more illegal for you than it is for them because, you know what they did and you’re not reporting it. That’s a criminal, that’s a criminal offense. And you can’t let that happen. That’s a big risk to you and to Ryan, your lawyer. And that’s a big risk. But they are shredding ballots, in my opinion, based on what I’ve heard. And they are removing machinery and they’re moving it as fast as they can, both of which are criminal finds. And you can’t let it happen and you are letting it happen. You know, I mean, I’m notifying you that you’re letting it happen. So look. All I want to do is this. I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have because we won the state.
And flipping the state is a great testament to our country because, cause you know, this is — it’s a testament that they can admit to a mistake or whatever you want to call it. If it was a mistake, I don’t know. A lot of people think it wasn’t a mistake. It was much more criminal than that. But it’s a big problem in Georgia and it’s not a problem that’s going away. I mean, you know, it’s not a problem that’s going away.
Germany: Mr President, this is Ryan. We’re looking into every one of those things that you mentioned.
Trump: Good. But if you find it you’ve got to say it, Ryan.
Germany: … Let me tell you what we are seeing. What we’re seeing is not at all what you’re describing, these are investigators from our office, these are investigators from
GBI, and they’re looking and they’re good. And that’s not what they’re seeing. And we’ll keep looking, at all these things.
Trump: Well, you better check the ballots because they are shredding ballots, Ryan. I’m just telling you, Ryan. They’re shredding ballots. And you should look at that very carefully. Because that’s so illegal. You know, you may not even believe it because it’s so bad. But they’re shredding ballots because they think we’re going to eventually get … because we’ll eventually get into Fulton. In my opinion it’s never too late. … So, that’s the story. Look, we need only 11,000 votes. We have are far more than that as it stands now. We’ll have more and more. And. Do you have provisional ballots at all, Brad? Provisional ballots?
Raffensperger: Provisional ballots are allowed by state law.
Trump: Sure, but I mean, are they counted or did you just hold them back because they, you know, in other words, how many provisional ballots do you have in the state?
Raffensperger: We’ll get you that number.
Trump: Because most of them are made out to the name Trump. Because these are people that were scammed when they came in. And we have thousands of people that have testified or that want to testify when they came in they were probably going to vote on November 3. And they were told I’m sorry, you’ve already been voted for, you’ve already voted. The women, men started screaming, No. I proudly voted til November 3. They said, I’m sorry, but you’ve already been voted for and you have a ballot and these people are beside themselves. So they went out and they filled in a provisional ballot, putting the name Trump on it.
And what about that batch of military ballots that came in. And even though I won the military by a lot, it was 100 percent Trump. I mean 100 percent Biden. Do you know about that? A large group of ballots came in. I think it was to Fulton County and they just happened to be 100 percent for Trump — for Biden, even though Trump won the military by a lot, you know, a tremendous amount. But these ballots were 100 percent for Biden. And, do you know about that? A very substantial number came in, all for Biden. Does anybody know about it?
Mitchell: I know about it, but —
Trump: OK, Cleta, I’m not asking you Cleta, honestly. I’m asking Brad. Do you know about the military ballots that we have confirmed now. Do you know about the military ballots that came in that were 100 percent, I mean 100 percent for Biden. Do you know about that?
Germany: I don’t know about that, I do know that we have when military ballots come in, it’s not just military, it’s also military and overseas citizens. The military part of that does generally go Republican. The overseas citizen part of it generally goes very Democrat. This was a mix of ’em.
Trump: No, but this was. That’s OK. But I got like 78 percent in the military. These ballots were all for … They didn’t tell me overseas. Could be overseas too, but I get votes overseas too, Ryan, you know in all fairness. No they came in, a large batch came in and it was, quote, 100 percent for Biden. And that is criminal. You know, that’s criminal. OK. That’s another criminal, that’s another of the many criminal events, many criminal events here.
Oh, I don’t know, look Brad. I got to get … I have to find 12,000 votes and I have them times a lot. And therefore, I won the state. That’s before we go to the next step, which is in the process of right now. You know, and I watched you this morning and you said, uh, well, there was no criminality.https://e47c8f61c5f7f96849e7f2e9ca1c0282.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html
But I mean, all of this stuff is very dangerous stuff. When you talk about no criminality, I think it’s very dangerous for you to say that.
I just, I just don’t know why you don’t want to have the votes counted as they are. Like even you when you went and did that check. And I was surprised because, you know …the check… And we found a few thousand votes that were against me. I was actually surprised because the way that check was done, all you’re doing is you know, recertifying existing votes and, you know, and you were given votes and you just counted them up and you still found 3,000 that were bad. So that was sort of surprising that it came down to three or five I don’t know. still a lot of votes. But you have to go back to check from past years with respect to signatures. And if you check with Fulton County, you’ll have hundreds of thousands because they dumped ballots into Fulton County and the other county next to it.
So what are we going to do here folks? I only need 11,000 votes. Fellas, I need 11,000 votes. Give me a break. You know, we have that in spades already. Or we can keep it going but that’s not fair to the voters of Georgia because they’re going to see what happened and they’re going to see what happened. I mean, I’ll, I’ll take on to anybody you want with regard to [name] and her lovely daughter, a very lovely young lady, I’m sure. But, but [name] … I will take on anybody you want. And the minimum, there were 18,000 ballots but they used them three times. So that’s, you know, a lot of votes. …and that one event… And they were all to Biden, by the way, that’s the other thing we didn’t say. You know, [name] , the one thing I forgot to say which was the most important. You know that every single ballot she did went to Biden. You know that, right? Do you know that, by the way, Brad?https://e47c8f61c5f7f96849e7f2e9ca1c0282.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html
Every single ballot that she did through the machines at early, early in the morning, went to Biden. Did you know that, Ryan?
Germany: That’s not accurate, Mr. President.
Trump: Huh. What is accurate?
Germany: The numbers that we are showing are accurate.
Trump: No, about [name] . About early in the morning, Ryan. When the woman took, you know, when the whole gang took the stuff from under the table, right? Do you know, do you know who those ballots, who they were made out to, do you know who they were voting for?
Germany: No, not specifically.
Trump: Did you ever check?
Germany: We did what I described to you earlier —
Trump: No no no — did you ever check the ballots that were scanned by [name] , a known political operative and balloteer. Did ever check who those votes were for?
Germany: We looked into that situation that you described.
Trump: No, they were 100 percent for Biden. 100 percent. There wasn’t a Trump vote in the whole group. Why don’t you want to find this, Ryan? What’s wrong with you? I heard your lawyer is very difficult, actually, but I’m sure you’re a good lawyer. You have a nice last name.
But, but I’m just curious why wouldn’t, why do you keep fighting this thing? It just doesn’t make sense. We’re way over the 17,779, right? We’re way over that number and just if you took just [name] , we’re over that number by five, five or six times when you multiply that times three.
And every single ballot went to Biden, and you didn’t know that, but, now you know it. So tell me, Brad, what are we going to do? We won the election and it’s not fair to take it away from us like this. And it’s going to be very costly in many ways. And I think you have to say that you’re going to reexamine it and you can reexamine it, but reexamine it with people that want to find answers, not people that don’t want to find answers. For instance, I’m hearing Ryan that he’s probably, I’m sure a great lawyer and everything. But he’s making statements about those ballots that he doesn’t know. But he’s making them with such — he did make them with surety. But now I think he’s less sure because the answer is they all went to Biden and that alone wins us the election by a lot. You know, so.
Raffensperger: Mr. President, you have people that submit information and we have our people that submit information. And then it comes before the court and the court then has to make a determination. We have to stand by our numbers. We believe our numbers are right.
Trump: Why do you say that? I don’t know. I mean, sure, we can play this game with the courts, but why do you say that? First of all they don’t even assign us a judge. They don’t even assign us a judge. But why wouldn’t you — Hey Brad, why wouldn’t you want to check out [name] ? And why wouldn’t you want to say, hey, if in fact, President Trump is right about that, then he wins the state of Georgia, just that one incident alone without going through hundreds of thousands of dropped ballots. You just say, you stick by, I mean I’ve been watching you, you know, you don’t care about anything. “Your numbers are right.” But your numbers aren’t right. They’re really wrong and they’re really wrong, Brad. And I know this phone call is going nowhere other than, other than ultimately, you know — Look ultimately, I win, okay?
Mitchell: Mr. Secretary…
Trump: Because you guys are so wrong. And you treated this. You treated the population of Georgia so badly. You, between you and your governor, who was down at 21, he was down 21 points. And like a schmuck, I endorsed him and he got elected, but I will tell you, he is a disaster.
And he knows, I can’t imagine that people are so angry in Georgia, I can’t imagine he’s ever getting elected again I’ll tell you that much right now. But why wouldn’t you want to find the right answer, Brad, instead of keep saying that the numbers are right? Cause those numbers are so wrong?
Mitchell: Mr. Secretary, Mr. President, one of the things that we have been, Alex can talk about this, we talked about it, and I don’t know whether the information has been conveyed to your office, but I think what the president is saying, and what we’ve been trying to do is to say, look, the court is not acting on our petition. They haven’t even assigned a judge. But the people of Georgia and the people of America have a right to know the answers. And you have data and records that we don’t have access to. And you keep telling us and making public statements that you investigated this and nothing to see here. But we don’t know about that. All we know is what you tell us. What I don’t understand is why wouldn’t it be in everyone’s best interest to try to get to the bottom, compare the numbers, you know, if you say, because – to try to be able to get to the truth because we don’t have any way of confirming what you’re telling us. You tell us that you had an investigation at the State Farm Arena. I don’t have any report. I’ve never seen a report of investigation. I don’t know that is. I’ve been pretty involved in this and I don’t know. And that’s just one of like , 25 categories. And it doesn’t even, and as I, as the president said, we haven’t even gotten into the Dominion issue. That’s not part of our case. It’s not part of our, we just didn’t feel as though we had any way to be able to develop —
Trump: No, we do have a way but I don’t want to get into it. We found a way in other states excuse me, but we don’t need it because we’re only down 11,000 votes so we don’t even need it. I personally think they’re corrupt as hell. But we don’t need that. Because all we have to do Cleta is find 11,000-plus votes. So we don’t need that. I’m not looking to shake up the whole world. We won Georgia easily. We won it by hundreds of thousands of votes. But if you go by basic simple numbers, we won it easily, easily. So we’re not giving Dominion a pass on the record. We just, we don’t need Dominion, because we have so many other votes that we don’t need to prove it any more than we already have.
Hilbert: Mr. President and Cleta, this is Kurt Hilbert, if I might interject for a moment. Um Ryan, I would like to suggest just four categories that have already been mentioned by the president that have actually hard numbers of 24,149 votes that were counted illegally. That in and of itself is sufficient to change the results or place the outcome in doubt. We would like to sit down with your office and we can do it through purposes of compromise and just like this phone call, just to deal with that limited category of votes. And if you are able to establish that our numbers are not accurate, then fine. However, we believe that they are accurate. We’ve had now three to four separate experts looking at these numbers.
Trump: Certified accountants looked at them.
Hilbert: Correct. And this is just based on USPS data and your own secretary of state’s data. So that’s what we would entreat and ask you to do, to sit down with us in a compromise and settlements proceeding and actually go through the registered voter IDs and registrations. And if you can convince us that that 24,149 is inaccurate, then fine. But we tend to believe that is, you know, obviously more than 11,779. That’s sufficient to change the results entirely in of itself. So what would you say to that, Mr. Germany?
Germany: Kurt, um I’m happy to get with our lawyers and we’ll set that up. That number is not accurate. And I think we can show you, for all the ones we’ve looked at, why it’s not. And so if that would be helpful, I’m happy to get with our lawyers and set that up with you guys.
Trump: Well, let me ask you, Kurt, you think that is an accurate number. That was based on the information given to you by the secretary of state’s department, right?
Hilbert: That is correct. That information is the minimum most conservative data based upon the USPS data and the secretary of state’s office data that has been made publicly available. We do not have the internal numbers from the secretary of state. Yet, we have asked for it six times. I sent a letter over to Mr… several times requesting this information, and it’s been rebuffed every single time. So it stands to reason that if the information is not forthcoming, there’s something to hide. That’s the problem that we have.https://e47c8f61c5f7f96849e7f2e9ca1c0282.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html
Germany: Well, that’s not the case sir. There are things that you guys are entitled to get. And there’s things that under the law, we are not allowed to give out.
Trump: Well, you have to. Well, under the law you’re not allowed to give faulty election results, OK? You’re not allowed to do that. And that’s what you done. This is a faulty election result. And honestly, this should go very fast. You should meet tomorrow because you have a big election coming up and because of what you’ve done to the president — you know, the people of Georgia know that this was a scam. And because of what you’ve done to the president, a lot of people aren’t going out to vote and a lot of Republicans are going to vote negative because they hate what you did to the president. Okay? They hate it. And they’re going to vote. And you would be respected. Really respected, if this thing could be straightened out before the election. You have a big election coming up on Tuesday. And therefore I think that it is really important that you meet tomorrow and work out on these numbers. Because I know Brad that if you think we’re right, I think you’re going to say, and I’m not looking to blame anybody. I’m just saying you know, and, you know, under new counts, and under uh, new views, of the election results, we won the election. You know? It’s very simple. We won the election. As the governors of major states and the surrounding states said, there is no way you lost Georgia, as the Georgia politicians say, there is no way, you lost Georgia. Nobody. Everyone knows I won it by hundreds of thousands of votes. But I’ll tell you it’s going to have a big impact on Tuesday if you guys don’t get this thing straightened out fast.
Meadows: Mr. President. This is Mark. It sounds like we’ve got two different sides agreeing that we can look at these areas ands I assume that we can do that within the next 24 to 48 hours to go ahead and get that reconciled so that we can look at the two claims and making sure that we get the access to the secretary of state’s data to either validate or invalidate the claims that have been made. Is that correct?
Germany: No, that’s not what I said. I’m happy to have our lawyers sit down with Kurt and the lawyers on that side and explain to my him, here’s, based on what we’ve looked at so far, here’s how we know this is wrong, this is wrong, this is wrong, this is wrong, this is wrong.
Meadows: So what you’re saying, Ryan, let me let me make sure … so what you’re saying is you really don’t want to give access to the data. You just want to make another case on why the lawsuit is wrong?
Germany: I don’t think we can give access to data that’s protected by law. But we can sit down with them and say —
Trump: But you’re allowed to have a phony election? You’re allowed to have a phony election right?
Germany: No sir.
Trump: When are you going to do signature counts, when are you going to do signature verification on Fulton County, which you said you were going to do, and now all of a sudden you’re not doing it. When are you doing that?
Germany: We are going to do that. We’ve announced —
Hilbert: To get to this issue of the personal information and privacy issue, is it possible that the secretary of state could deputize the lawyers for the president so that we could access that information and private information without you having any kind of violation?
Trump: Well, I don’t want to know who it is. You guys can do it very confidentially. You can sign a confidentiality agreement. That’s OK. I don’t need to know names. But we go the information on this stuff that we’re talking about. We got all that information from the secretary of state.
Meadows: Yeah. So let me let me recommend, Ryan, if you and Kurt would get together, you know, when we get off of this phone call, if you could get together and work out a plan to address some of what we’ve got with your attorneys where we can we can actually look at the data. For example, Mr. Secretary, I can tell you say they were only two dead people who would vote. I can promise you there were more than that. And that may be what your investigation shows, but I can promise you there were more than that. But at the same time, I think it’s important that we go ahead and move expeditiously to try to do this and resolve it as quickly as we possibly can. And if that’s the good next step. Hopefully we can, uh we can finish this phone call and go ahead and agree that the two of you will get together immediately.
Trump: Well why don’t my lawyers show you where you got the information. It will show the secretary of state, and you don’t even have to look at any names. We don’t want names. We don’t care. But we got that information from you. And Stacey Abrams is laughing about you know she’s going around saying these guys are dumber than a rock. What she’s done to this party is unbelievable, I tell ya. And I only ran against her once. And that was with a guy named Brian Kemp and I beat her. And if I didn’t run, Brian wouldn’t have had even a shot, either in the general or in the primary. He was dead, dead as a doornail. He never thought he had a shot at either one of them. What a schmuck I was. But that’s the way it is. That’s the way it is. I would like you … for the attorneys … I’d like you to perhaps meet with Ryan ideally tomorrow, because I think we should come to a resolution of this before the election. Otherwise you’re going to have people just not voting. They don’t want to vote. They hate the state, they hate the governor and they hate the secretary of state. I will tell you that right now. The only people like you are people that will never vote for you. You know that Brad, right? They like you know, they like you. They can’t believe what they found. They want people like you. So, look, can you get together tomorrow? And Brad. We just want the truth. It’s simple. And everyone’s going to look very good if the truth comes out. It’s OK. It takes a little while but let the truth come out. And the real truth is I won by 400,000 votes. At least. That’s the real truth. But we don’t need 400,000. We need less than 2,000 votes. And are you guys able to meet tomorrow Ryan?https://e47c8f61c5f7f96849e7f2e9ca1c0282.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.htmlhttps://e47c8f61c5f7f96849e7f2e9ca1c0282.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html
Germany: Um, I’ll get with Chris, the lawyer representing us and the case, and see when he can get together with Kurt.
Raffensperger: Ryan will be in touch with the other attorney on this call, Mr. Meadows. Thank you President Trump for your time.
Trump: OK, thank you, Brad. Thank you, Ryan. Thank you. Thank you, everybody. Thank you very much. Bye.
Donald Trump’s behavior after losing the election was expected. The lame-duck president signaled an unwillingness to accept the results weeks in advance, and he planted the seeds of doubt regarding mail-in ballots as far back as June.
What’s more shocking is the willingness of large chunks of the Republican Party to play along with his authoritarian power plays and repeated attempts to overturn the presidential election (and no other election). If successful in his quest to invalidate millions of votes, Trump would effectively be dismantling what’s left of American democracy.
But he’s not alone in his attacks on American democracy.
As if on cue, Republican lawmakers in Georgia are proposing the elimination of no-excuse mail-in voting, nixing secure ballot drop boxes, and instituting a voter ID requirement for absentee ballots. The proposed legislation is in response to the president’s false claims of rampant mail-in voting fraud. Instead of standing up for Georgia voters and defending the rule of law, these lawmakers are bending the knee to a would-be autocrat.
Likewise, the attorney general of Texas, Ken Paxton, has made a mockery of the courts with a frivolous lawsuit against the battleground states of Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. Paxton claims that the four battleground states – all of which President-elect Joe Biden won – improperly changed their election procedures to accommodate voters during the COVID-19 pandemic. (It’s worth noting that several subordinates recently accused Paxton of bribery and abuse of office.)
Not to be outdone, seventeen Republican state attorneys general (along with the president himself) threw their support behind the Texas lawsuit, asking the U.S. Supreme Court to intervene and throw the election to Trump. Undoubtedly the publicity-seeking attorneys general will relish their moment in the sun – but at the cost of democratic norms and the reputation of the courts in the eyes of the public.
Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel – who was recently the target of armed Trump supporters protesting at her home – called Paxton’s lawsuit “beneath the dignity of the office of [the] attorney general and the people of the great state of Texas.” She added that the complaint has “already been thoroughly litigated and roundly rejected in both state and federal courts — by judges appointed from both political parties.”
By the way, if it strikes you as odd that one state sues another state (let alone multiple states) regarding how they conduct their own elections (over a month after that election is already completed, no less), that’s because it is highly unusual.
Which brings us back to the title of this piece. The Republican Party is increasingly authoritarian. And it’s not just Trump that we’re talking about but his enablers in Congress and state government as well.
In yet another example of the lengths that Donald Trump will go to hold onto power, the Washington Post is reporting that the outgoing president pressured Georgia’s Republican governor to overturn that state’s election results. A third official count – the initial count plus two recounts – confirmed that Biden won the state with a nearly 12,000 vote lead.
President Trump called Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) on Saturday morning to urge him to persuade the state legislature to overturn President-elect Joe Biden’s victory in the state and asked the governor to order an audit of absentee ballot signatures, the latest brazen effort by the president to interfere in the 2020 election.
Hours before he was scheduled to hold a rally in Georgia on behalf of the state’s two GOP senators, Trump pressed Kemp to call a special session of the state legislature to get lawmakers to override the results and appoint electors that would back him, according to a person familiar with the conversation who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe the private call. He also asked the governor to demand an audit of signatures on mail ballots, something Kemp has previously noted he has no power to do.
Kemp declined the entreaty from Trump, according to the person.
Trump sent out a tweet on Saturday to his millions of followers, questioning the loyalty of two of Georgia’s leading Republican state leaders, Governor Brian Kemp and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger.
I will easily & quickly win Georgia if Governor @BrianKempGA or the Secretary of State permit a simple signature verification. Has not been done and will show large scale discrepancies. Why are these two “Republicans” saying no? If we win Georgia, everything else falls in place!
Trump is scheduled to appear at a campaign rally on behalf of Georgia’s two incumbent Republican senators. Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue find themselves in tight races with control of the Senate on the line. It’s unclear how Georgia voters will respond to Trump’s continued attempts to subvert American democracy.
Photo Credit: Official White House photo by Shealah Craighead