Trump’s Georgia Lawyer Letter Demands Audit of up to 45,000 Ballot Signatures

December 1, 2020 Updated: December 1, 2020

One of President Donald Trump’s lawyers in Georgia is asking for the audit of as many as 45,000 ballot signatures that were allegedly illegally cast in the state.

Trump lawyer Ray S. Smith, in a letter (pdf) to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensberger, said that an “immediate audit” of signatures is necessary, according to a news release.

“The Trump Campaign estimates that between 38,250 and 45,626 illegal votes from the absentee ballots alone were cast in the state of Georgia – far beyond the Biden-Harris ticket’s current margin of 12,670 votes,” the news release stated.

Smith concluded that it’s impossible for the secretary of state’s office to certify the results of the presidential race between Trump and Democrat Joe Biden unless a “thorough audit” of signatures is carried out. He noted that the campaign made the request four previous times in writing but was rejected.

“You cannot in good faith conclude the ongoing statutory recount until you have institute[d] a Signature matching audit,” Smith added. In the letter, he said it is unusual that Raffensberger is unwilling to take steps to audit the signatures before the current recount is carried out. “Until the signatures are matched, the vote count in Georgia is a complete fraud,” former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani added in the news release. “There is no way of knowing which ballots are honest and which ballots are fraudulent.”

For his part, Raffensberger has denied claims of fraud and irregularities that would overturn the election results in the state.

“There are those who are exploiting the emotions of many Trump supporters with fantastic claims, half-truths, misinformation, and frankly, they are misleading the President as well, apparently,” he said on Monday, reported CNN. A post-election audit that included matching signatures along with the current recount shows the election was fair, he argued.

Earlier in November, Raffensberger said it’s impossible for the state to match the signature from the outer ballot envelope to the ballot itself, a process that was set up over privacy concerns. Republicans and Trump have said the practice is an invitation for fraud and mistakes.

Trump, in a Twitter post on Monday, implored Gov. Brian Kemp, a Republican, to exercise his executive authority to overrule Raffensberger.

The president asked why Kemp won’t “use his emergency powers, which can be easily done, to overrule his obstinate Secretary of State, and do a match of signatures on envelopes?” He continued: “It will be a ‘goldmine’ of fraud, and we will easily WIN the state.”

A Kemp spokesperson, in response, said that “Georgia law prohibits the Governor from interfering in elections. The Secretary of State, who is an elected constitutional officer, has oversight over elections that cannot be overridden by executive order.” Kemp, when he was the secretary of state, was accused by Democrats of interfering with the state’s election to win in 2018.

On Tuesday, Georgia Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan claimed that claims of voter fraud in the state could risk “alienating voters” ahead of two January runoff races for two Senate positions.

“I think we are better than this,” he told CNN. “My hope is that we move past this here in Georgia and as a country.”

Raffensberger’s office has not responded to a request for comment after Smith’s latest letter.