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Georgia’s Secretary of State says Republican colleagues are pushing him to find ways to turn off legal ballots

The atmosphere has become so controversial, Rafensperger said, that both he and his wife, Trisha, have received death threats in recent days, including a text to him that read: “You better not raise this retelling. Your life depends on it. “

“Apart from making you angry, it’s very frustrating,” Rafensperger said of the threats, “especially when it comes from people on my side of the aisle.” Everyone who works on this should raise their speech. We have to be careful and attentive to what we say. “He said he had reported threats to state authorities.

The pressure on Rafensperger, who has raised his party in defense of the state voting process, comes as Georgia is in the process of laboriously counting about 5 million ballots. President-elect Joe Biden has a lead of 1

4,000 votes in the initial count.

Usually, the soft-spoken, well-mannered Rafensperger retained his harshest language for US Representative Doug Collins (R-Ga.), Who led the president’s efforts to prove fraud in Georgia and whom Rafensperger called a “liar” and a “charlatan.”

Collins questioned the management of Rafensperger’s vote and accused him of capitulating to Democrats, failing to back up allegations of voter fraud.

Rafensperger said any allegations of fraud would be thoroughly investigated, but there was currently no reliable evidence that the fraud had occurred on a large enough scale to affect the outcome of the election.

The census, Rafensperger said in an interview Monday, will “confirm” the results of the initial census. He said the hand-numbered audit, which began last week, would also prove the accuracy of Dominion machines; some counties have already reported that the counting of their hands coincides exactly with the machine amounts reported earlier.

“I’m an engineer. We’re looking at numbers. We’re looking at hard data,” he said. “I can’t help an unsuccessful candidate like Doug Collins run around lying to everyone. He’s a liar.

A Collins spokesman responded to a request for comment by referring to a tweet sent by Collins on Monday, in which he described “Rafensperger’s incompetence as secretary of state.”

Collins ran unsuccessfully for the Senate this year and has been accused by some Republicans of pushing former Republican Sen. Kelly Löfler in a run-off against the Rev. Raphael Warnock (D).

In an interview, Rafensperger also said he spoke Friday with Graham, chairman of the Senate Justice Committee, who reiterated Trump’s baseless allegations of voting irregularities.

In their conversation, Graham asked Rafensperger about the state’s law on matching signatures and whether political bias could have led poll workers to accept ballots with inappropriate signatures, according to Rafensperger. Graham also asked if Rafensperger had the authority to throw all mail ballots in counties that were found to have a higher percentage of non-compliant signatures, Rafensperger said.

Rafspenger said he was stunned that Graham seemed to be offering to find a way to cast legally cast ballots. In the absence of judicial intervention, Rafensperger does not have the power to do what Graham has proposed, as the counties administer elections in Georgia.

“It certainly looked like he wanted to go that route,” he said.

Asked for comment, a spokesman for Graham’s Senate office, Kevin Bishop, addressed The Post in a letter from Republicans in Georgia expressing concern about the audit process, as well as a Collins tweet attacking the Secretary of State.

On the same day that Graham asked Rafensperger to throw out ballots in the mail in districts with high levels of signature problems, a lawsuit was filed in a federal court in Georgia challenging the way district election officials checked signatures and allowed voters to correct ballots with errors.

The lawsuit, filed by Atlanta lawyer and Trump supporter Lynn Wood, aims to block certification of Georgia’s election until all ballot envelopes are checked.

Also that day, Trump tweeted that Georgia’s signatures matched, criticizing Rafensperger for running his state election: “Georgia’s secretary of state, the so-called Republican (RINO), will not allow people who check ballots to see signatures for fraud. Why? Without this, the whole process is very unfair and almost pointless. Everyone knows we won the state. ”

Rafensperger said he would fight vigorously against the case, which would require matching the envelopes to the ballots – a potential exposure of individual voters.

“It doesn’t matter which political party or which campaign does that,” Rafensperger said. “The secret ballot is sacred.”

The Secretary of State also warned that Republican attacks on Dominion voting machines could create problems for two U.S. senators on both sides, Loeffler and David Perdue, who face run-offs on Jan. 5, which will be administered with the same Dominion machines.

Trump supporters began posting on social media over the weekend, wondering if they were comfortable using Dominion machines during the two run-offs to determine which party controlled the Senate.

“I don’t think it’s useful when you cast doubt on the election process,” Rafensperger said. “People can raise their hands and say, ‘Why should I vote?’ “

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