Georgia’s top elections official delivered a point-by-point rebuttal of President Trump’s allegations of elections fraud and malfeasance to members of Congress on Wednesday as lawmakers met to certify the Electoral College vote.
In a 10-page letter sent to Vice President Pence and several lawmakers who were expected to challenge Georgia’s election results before Congress, Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (R) pushed back on sweeping claims of misconduct, ranging from allegations that voting machines had altered ballots to rumors of voting by ineligible people.
“You are certainly entitled to your opinions,” Raffensperger wrote. “However, I want to ensure that your colleagues in the House and Senate have accurate information on which to base their votes to your objection.”
“I respectfully request that you enter this letter into the Congressional Record,” he continued. “Once these refutations are considered, I am confident that Georgia’s validly elected electors will be accepted.”
Raffensperger’s letter came as Congress met for a joint session to certify President-elect Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory over President Trump.
Trump has for months refused to accept his loss and has falsely claimed that the election was marred by widespread voter fraud and systemic irregularities, while encouraging his allies in Congress to formally lodge challenges to the results in several states, including Georgia.
Among the lawmakers to receive the letter were Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.) and Reps. Jody Hice (R-Ga.) and Barry Loudermilk (R-Ga.).
Raffensperger has repeatedly defended his handling of the 2020 presidential election, drawing frequent attacks from Trump. In a recording of a phone call released last weekend, Trump pressured Raffensperger to “find” enough votes to hand him a victory in Georgia, despite Biden’s roughly 12,000-vote win in the state.
The Electoral College certification devolved into chaos on Wednesday as a mob of Trump’s supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol in an apparent attempt to upend what is typically seen as a formality in the country’s transfers of power from one president to another.
In an unprecedented event in U.S. history, rioters brawled with police, forced the evacuation of the Capitol and defaced a building that is among the most recognizable symbols of American democracy. One person was shot in the Capitol during the mayhem and was later pronounced dead at a local hospital.
Law enforcement, along the Washington and Virginia National Guards, eventually cleared the Capitol Complex, allowing lawmakers to reconvene Wednesday night to certify the Electoral College votes.
But the chaos that erupted left members of Congress – and the nation – shaken, prompting several senators, including Loeffler, to drop their plans to object to the election results.
“The events that transpired have forced me to reconsider and I cannot now in good conscience object to certification of these electors,” Loeffler said in a speech from the Senate floor. “The violence, the lawlessness and siege of the halls of Congress are abhorrent and stand as a direct attack on what my objection was intended to protect, the sanctity of the American democratic process.”
Hice still challenged Georgia’s electoral votes. He was joined by Georgia GOP Reps. Buddy Carter, Rick Allen and Marjorie Taylor Greene.
Despite efforts to challenge the election results, Congress certified Biden as the winner in an early-morning vote on Wednesday. Trump, who still refuses to drop his false claims of a “rigged” election, issued a statement shortly after the certification, acknowledging that there would be an orderly transfer of power.