While the media's looking ahead to January, some states are still trying to sort out what happened in November. No one is busier than Georgia, where election officials aren't just working through two Senate runoffs but a critical presidential recount. If anyone doubted Georgia's political importance before, trust me: they aren't doubting it now. With one congressional chamber in the balance -- and the possible fate of Trump's legal challenge -- this one is for all the marbles.
People on the ground, like election law attorney Cleta Mitchell, are hoping that what happens with the recount at least gets some of the mess cleaned up before next month's races. Right now, she says, the state's process is in complete shambles. "I can make this simple statement. The election in Georgia was not conducted in accordance with the legislative enactments of duly enacted laws, the election code of the state of Georgia." Mitchell, who's been working as a volunteer with the campaign's legal team in Georgia, has seen enough to make anyone question the outcome.
The Left may be ready to move on, but for the sake of every voter, she argues, Republicans should not. "The entire absentee ballot program [was rewritten] by the secretary of state -- not the legislature," Cleta pointed out on "Washington Watch." As a result, no one is ensuring that the absentee ballot applications "match the signatures on file on the voter registration cards and... ballot envelopes." The Trump campaign has made the simple request that this is corrected. "And so far," she says, "[Secretary Brad Raffensperger] has refused to do that."
Right now, Cleta argues, Joe Biden is winning by less than .5 percent. In a typical year, a safeguard like signature matching usually means that anywhere from 30,000 to 40,000 ballots would be tossed out because the information didn't correspond. This year, because the secretary refused to authenticate the ballots, only a tiny fraction of the votes were rejected. That's even fishier when you consider that there was a six-fold increase in the number of absentee ballots. The rejection rate got smaller (.3 percent), even though the number of ballots got higher? "It's not even statistically possible," Cleta insists.
Nor is it in keeping with any other election in the state, including the primary election year, the 2014 general election, and so many more. The numbers don't lie. And while they may not necessarily point to fraud -- it's certainly the smoke that leads to the fire.
"We should have zero tolerance for violations of the law," Cleta said. When the Constitution empowers the legislature to determine how an election is handled, she went on, and those provisions are violated "over and over in a myriad of ways and producing votes that are contrary to the statute," Americans should care -- and Americans should fight back. Right now, she and the legal team have evidence of at least 25 provisions of the election statute that were violated -- including how ballots were accepted, cast, and counted. "And so we're going to be filing an even more robust petition later this week," Mitchell promised.
In the meantime, Georgia's Secretary Raffensperger isn't the only one in the hot seat. In a press conference earlier today, he came out swinging at Fulton County for the Atlanta area's "dysfunction" in the recount process. He slammed their "compounding errors," the biggest of which, he insisted, was refusing to follow "the procedures that my office laid out ... Fulton County once again cut corners, the biggest one being he backed up the election project on the server itself instead of on an external backup. Because of that decision, they lost the ability to upload hundreds of thousands of scanned ballots." Adding to the drama, a district judge just stopped three Georgia counties from erasing their Dominion voting machine data so that officials could take a closer look at some irregularities.
The plot is getting thicker, while the stakes are getting higher. The process matters. And as Senator Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) told listeners Monday, "exercising all of your rights under the process matters too." Not just for Donald Trump, but for every American who cares about fair and honest elections.