Trump Campaign Calls for Full Hand-Count of Ballots in Georgia

Trump Campaign Calls for Full Hand-Count of Ballots in Georgia
Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.) speaks to media while other impeachment defense team advisors look on, at the Capitol in Washington on Jan. 27, 2020. (Charlotte Cuthbertson/The Epoch Times)
Tom Ozimek

The Trump campaign has called on Georgia’s top elections official to take steps related to the planned vote recount to ensure “confidence in our electoral process,” including verifying voter eligibility and a full hand-count of all ballots.

Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.), who leads the Trump campaign’s recount team in Georgia, made the request to Georgia’s Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger in a statement on Tuesday, calling for a series of election integrity-related measures amid allegations of voter irregularities.

Collins asked for a full comparison of absentee ballots cast and in-person and provisional ballots cast, and for carrying out a voter eligibility check to make sure no felons or other ineligible individuals cast a vote in the state.

“Most importantly, the Secretary of State should announce a full hand-count of every ballot cast in each and every county due to widespread allegations of voter irregularities, issues with voting machines, and poll watcher access,” Collins added.

In recounts, ballots are typically rescanned using machines, but some reports of election irregularities in Georgia include issues in Fulton County that prompted a rescan of a number of ballots. Other reports pertain to claims by David Shafer, chairman of the Georgia Republican Party, that county workers told GOP poll watchers to go home on Election Day “because they were closing up and then continued to count ballots in secret.” A Fulton County official disputed the claim, telling The Epoch Times in a statement that when an elections official learned that staff were dismissed in the evening, he advised some workers to continue to work through the night and that the processing area remained open to observers.

“It may be possible that observers left at the time the majority of the staff left, but from the information we have, the processing area was never closed to observers,” said Jessica Corbitt, a spokesperson for Fulton County.

Collins called on Raffensperger to act on the request voluntarily.

“We can—and we will—petition for this in court after statewide certification is completed if the Secretary of State fails to act, but we are hopeful he will preemptively take this action today to ensure every Georgian has confidence in our electoral process,” Collins said.

Then-Republican candidate for Georgia secretary of state, Brad Raffensperger, in a file photograph. (Joan Wang/The Epoch Times)
Then-Republican candidate for Georgia secretary of state, Brad Raffensperger, in a file photograph. (Joan Wang/The Epoch Times)
The request to Raffensperger comes after calls for his resignation by Sens. David Perdue (R-Ga.) and Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.), who claimed he has failed to deliver honest and transparent elections.

Raffensperger rejected demands that he resign, saying “the voters of Georgia hired me, and the voters will be the one to fire me.”

“As Secretary of State, I'll continue to fight every day to ensure fair elections in Georgia, that every legal vote counts, and that illegal votes don’t count,” he said in a statement.
Georgia’s voting system implementation manager Gabriel Sterling said Monday that elections are “imperfect” and that officials are sure to find that some people did vote illegally. He added, however, that he does not believe the scale of voting improprieties will be significant enough to change the outcome.

“We are going to find that people did illegally vote,” Sterling said, according to The Associated Press. “That’s going to happen. They’re going to be double voters. There are going to be people who ... didn’t have the qualifications of a registered voter to vote in the state. That will be found. Is it 10,353? Unlikely.”

As of Monday, Democratic challenger Joe Biden was leading Trump by 10,353 votes out of nearly 5 million ballots cast, a lead of around 0.2 percentage points. The law in Georgia permits candidates to request a recount if the margin is 0.5 percentage points or less.

Electoral research carried out by The Associated Press found there have been at least 31 statewide recounts since 2000, with three of those changing the outcome of the election.

Tom Ozimek is a senior reporter for The Epoch Times. He has a broad background in journalism, deposit insurance, marketing and communications, and adult education.