Graham pushes back on accusations he pressured Georgia to throw out legal ballots

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Sen. Lindsey Graham pushed back against accusations by the Georgia Secretary of State earlier this week that the Senate Judiciary Chairman allegedly pressured him to toss legally mailed ballots.

“I know what I talked to the Secretary of State about, and it wasn’t for him to throw out ballots, that was beyond bizarre and ridiculous,” Graham said in an interview with Fox News' Sean Hannity on Tuesday. “I was talking about a system and how it works and to make sure we have confidence in it.”

Graham said he had called Brad Raffensperger, the Georgia's secretary of state and the official in charge of the state’s electoral system, to address security around the mail-in ballot signature verification process.

The Republican senator has taken issue with the way Georgia verifies mail-in ballots, which are reportedly verified by a single individual who compares the ballot's signature with the signature on the ballot request form.

Graham has called for the voter signature to be checked against a driver’s license or government document, and then verified by both a Democrat and a Republican before being counted. 

“Make it bipartisan,” Graham said on the Tuesday radio program. “Don’t leave it in the hands of a single individual.”

“What happens in Georgia affects my life, it affects your life,” Graham added, jumping from the presidential race to the Senate runoff between Democratic candidates Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock and Georgia’s Republican senators, David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler.

Graham claimed that if Democrats were able to win both seats and take the majority in the Senate with Vice President-elect Kamala Harris serving as the tie-breaking vote, they would expand the Supreme Court to 13 justices to give Democrats a leading voice on the court and move to make Washington, D.C., a state.

“Mail-in voting without signature verification is going to be the end of the Republican Party,” Graham claimed, before saying that former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams is encouraging people to move to the Peach State so their vote can be counted in the Jan. 5, runoff election.

“Stacey Abrams is trying to cook the election her way,” he said.  “She has got a game plan, she’s signing up people to vote.”

Graham himself has reportedly poured $1 million into the Georgia election and thrown his support in keeping the Senate seats in Republican control.

He has also backed the Trump campaign’s attempts to question the validity of certain swing state’s results by drawing doubt over mail-in voting.

“It’s not just Georgia, it’s all over the place — the machines in Nevada that read signatures was turned down so low, according to the Trump campaign, that every ballot went through,” Graham told Hannity.  “How do you set the system up, determines the quality of the outcome.”

Graham provoked some confusion Tuesday morning after he said he had also spoken with Arizona and Nevada officials after reports that Graham asked Georgia’s secretary of state whether or not he had the ability to toss ballots in counties where high rates of irregularities were found – reportedly suggesting he should throw out legally cast ballots.

But Nevada’s secretary of state said she had not in fact spoke with Graham.

“I meant to [apologize], I didn’t talk to anyone in Nevada,” Graham clarified with Fox News. “I got briefed about what they do in Nevada. I can’t remember by who.”

 Graham confirmed he also spoke with Arizona’s Gov. Doug Ducey about verifying mail-in ballots.


“It’s not complicated. It wasn’t about trying to change an election result,” Graham said, adding that the reason he has contacted these states was an attempt to find a way to explain to President Trump how the signatures were verified.

“It’s to try and find out how do you deal with mail-in voting signature validation, to the president,” Graham said.

Georgia's secretary of state could not be immediately reached for comment. 

Jason Donner contributed to this report. 

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