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EXCLUSIVE – Georgia’s Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, R., said national media “showed their bias” last year in covering state electoral reforms and defending his record and state electoral security and integrity as he faces a primary challenger approved by former president Trump.
Perhaps the most well-known Secretary of State in the United States because of Georgia’s prominent place in the election drama of the past four years, Raffensperger told Fox News Digital that he has always “followed the law and followed the Constitution” in his position. Paralyzed by both Trump and, indirectly, President Biden for the state’s voting procedures, he has a unique place in American politics.
“The national media by and large showed their bias, and it all leaned up the left side of the aisle,” he said. “If someone said something, they never fact-checked it, said what’s the real truth about this? It’s really easy. Just read the bill. It’s in less than 100 pages. You could have read that bill. It’s not like DC , where you write 1,000-page bills … Ours is less than 100. You will see right there, right now, 17 days of early voting. ”
“We have accessibility, but we have security,” he added. “We’ve had picture ID for personal voting. We now have picture ID for absent voting. It strengthens security, strengthens trust. And that’s a good thing.”
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While some more extreme accusations such as Biden’s claim that working people would not be able to vote, or the law was akin to “Jim Crow” received some media criticism, it was largely the subject of media rage and activists who in eventually led to Major League Baseball moving the 2021 All-Star Game out of Atlanta.
Signed by Governor Brian Kemp, R., last March, Georgia’s new law required voter ID for absentee voting instead of relying on signature matching for verification; limited ballot papers to one per. county or one per. 100,000 voters; shortened the application deadline for the absence of ballot papers to 67 days; and extended early voting days and standardized early voting times to a minimum of 9am to 5pm and a maximum of 7am to 7pm. The legislation prevented external groups from distributing food and water to those standing in line, gave more electoral powers to GOP-controlled state legislators, and shortened runoff from nine weeks to four.
The law caused a volcanic eruption in the media last year, which in media outlets like CNN and MSNBC was portrayed as making it “harder” to vote and an effort for “voter repression”. Hosts like Don Lemon and Nicolle Wallace repeated the “Jim Crow” language used by President Biden and many Democrats and praised companies like Delta and Coca-Cola who spoke out against it under pressure from liberal activists. Kemp and Raffensperger criticized the fact that they were in charge of the law due to pressure from Trump’s undocumented allegations of voter fraud in Georgia.
Raffensperger said that “two big lies” cost the Atlanta All-Star Game: the notion that there was a reduced number of early voting days, and the often repeated line that they had made it illegal to distribute water in a queue.
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“We had a 150 foot [zone] of no politics, no election campaign, “he said.” Candidates came within the 150-foot zone, not with their names, but with their cause. And then they gave people water, but really said, ‘Can I count on your voice?’
Before the election law’s vacuuming, however, Raffensperger came under fire from Trump and key allies after Trump narrowly lost Georgia in the 2020 race. Trump, as a famous Raffensperger, pressed in a leaked phone call to “find” the necessary number of votes to put the state in his slot, claiming that he had been cheated out of it through several forms of voter fraud. Raffersperger pushed back that there was no evidence of such widespread fraud, and served himself as a primary challenger on the road where rep. Jody Hice, R-Ga., Won Trump’s endorsement by continuing to press allegations that irregularities handed the state over to Democrats.
“Jody Hice has been running around the state of Georgia for 18 months now, and point by point, everything he says is a lie,” Raffensperger said. “It’s never supported by facts. And then he says, well, voters do not trust the system. It’s because you lied, Jody Hice, because you said we did not have a signature match in 2020. Our rejection rate for signature matches in 2020 was 11% higher for signature matching issues … in 2020 than it was in 2018. We have facts on our side. ”
In a statement to Fox News Digital, Hice shot back that “that’s exactly why people think Brad Raffensperger is a Democrat.”
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“When he’s backed up in a corner and yells over the mess he’s making, he’s resorting to arguing and making false accusations,” Hice said. “The truth is this: Brad Raffensperger is 100% responsible for the disaster that was the election in 2020 and for the complete lack of integrity in Georgia’s elections. He failed to uphold the duties of his office and in return failed the people of Georgia. If he had done his job, I would not stand up to him. “
The primary election is on May 24, and the two are likely to head toward a drain where neither candidate is likely to clear the 50 percent barrier to avoid one.
Trump lost Georgia, Raffensperger said, because of his campaign, noting that 28,000 Georgians did not vote for the president that year in parliamentary elections, but directly voted for Republicans.
He ran from a list of reforms he said had strengthened electoral integrity in Georgia, saying the state had accurate voter lists, verifiable ballot papers, cross-checked registrations with other states, conducted a 100% citizenship audit, pushed for local prosecution of voter fraud, investigated legal voting of ballots – he was given subpoena powers this week to find evidence of the latest charges on that front – and fought back on lawsuits challenging Georgia’s voting law that created the media storm last year. He also said he was working to hold Fulton County, the state’s largest, responsible for its long-running election problems.
Of course, Raffensperger has seen politicians from both sides of the aisle question the integrity of election results in his state, with Democrat Stacey Abrams as famously not officially admitting his loss to Kemp in 2018 in the gubernatorial race. Since then, she has often said that she really “won” the competition and that “they stole it”, even though she, unlike Trump, has become a national media darling.
“She’s the one who really started it all,” Raffensperger said of the tendency for more politicians to question the results. “In fact, she was up in Virginia campaigning for the Democratic gubernatorial candidate [Terry McAulifffe] back in October. She said that just because you win does not mean you won. So she still has not admitted. “
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He added that the future White House press secretary, Karine Jean-Pierre, who also used the “stolen” rhetoric to describe the race in Georgia and Trump’s victory in 2016, should not have an “authority position.”
Marc Elias, a Democratic lawyer who helped spearhead the infamous Christopher Steele case that helped start Russiagate, has filed a lawsuit challenging Georgia law. He made headlines last month when he suggested Georgians might be too confused to correctly mark their driver’s license number when filling out an absent ballot.
“In fact, what he’s trying to do is ruin the security of the absentee ballot,” Raffensperger said. “We have now moved absent voting to photo ID with your driver’s license number. Very safe. By raising security, we believe we are increasing confidence in the process. It took me three and a half years to get the General Assembly to do that.”
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He lined up on that platform in 2018. Now he hopes it will be enough to keep him in office in 2022.
Fox News’ Brooke Singman contributed to this report.