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Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (R) on Monday said that Republicans, including Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), have been pushing him to question the validity of absentee ballots that were legally cast.

In an interview with The Washington Post on Monday, Raffensperger said he spoke with Graham, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, on Friday, and Graham asked him if poll workers, because of their political bias, may have accepted ballots with non-matching signatures. He also wanted to know if Raffensperger had the ability to throw out mail-in ballots from counties with higher rates of non-matching signatures.

This stunned Raffensperger, who does not have the power to toss the mail-in ballots; to him, he told the Post, it sounded like Graham was suggesting he do something to throw out legally cast ballots.

President-elect Joe Biden is ahead of President Trump in Georgia by 14,000 votes, and because of the close margin, the roughly 5 million ballots cast in the state are now being recounted by hand. Trump and his allies, including Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.), are claiming without evidence there was fraud, an accusation that irks Raffensperger. Collins, who unsuccessfully ran for Senate, is “a charlatan,” Raffensperger told the Post. “I’m an engineer,” he added. “We look at numbers. We look at hard data. I can’t help it that a failed candidate like Collins is running around lying to everyone. He’s a liar.”

Fraud accusations in the state are always investigated, Raffensperger said, but as of now, there is no evidence that there was widespread fraud that cost Trump the election, and he is certain the recount will “affirm” the results of the initial vote count. Over the last several days, Raffensperger and his wife have both received death threats, including one that told him, “You better not botch this recount. Your life depends on it.” This has left Raffensperger “angry,” he told the Post. and he wants people to “elevate their speech. We need to be thoughtful and careful about what we say.” Catherine Garcia

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