Georgia top election official says Trump depressed his own base

  • Georgia’s Republican top election official Brad Raffensperger says he believes President Trump’s attacks on mail voting suppressed his own base and cost him the state.
  • For months, Trump spread baseless claims that mail voting is untrustworthy and fundamentally fraudelent. He’s now attacking Georgia officials like Raffensperger over his loss in the state. 
  • Raffensperger pointed that around 24,000 Republicans who voted by mail in the state’s June 9 primary elections did not vote at all in the general, and said Trump’s rhetoric could be a reason why.
  • One expert on elections and voter turnout, Michael McDonald of the University of Florida, pointed out that an even greater number of Democrats who voted by mail in the primary didn’t vote at all in the general. 
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Georgia’s Republican Secretary of State and chief election official Brad Raffensperger is facing attacks on his own credibility and the integrity of Georgia’s 2020 presidential election after President-elect Joe Biden won the state.

But Raffensperger says that President Donald Trump, who spent months discouraging supporters from voting by mail in the COVID-19 pandemic, has no one but himself to blame but himself for his poor performance in the state.

In an interview with WSB TV correspondent Justin Gray, Raffensperger pointed that around 24,000 Republicans who voted by mail in the state’s June 9 primary elections did not vote at all, either in-person or by mail, in the general — and said Trump’s attacks on mail voting are a reason why. 

The actual extent to which Trump’s rhetoric not only pushed his supporters away from voting by mail but discouraged them from casting a ballot altogether is unknown.  

Michael McDonald, a professor at the University of Florida who specializes in elections and voter turnout patterns and runs the US Elections Project, pointed out on Twitter Tuesday that an even higher number of Georgia Democrats who voted by mail in the primaries stayed home for the general. 


“Did Trump depress his own vote? Enough to change the outcome of the general election? That one would be tough to prove. I don’t think there are enough votes here to make the case,” McDonald wrote on Twitter.

While Trump outperformed the polls in many states, he lost the key battleground states of Arizona, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, in addition to Georgia. Trump was the first Republican presidential nominee to lose Georgia since George H.W. Bush in 1992. 

In the wake of Trump’s loss, Georgia’s two Republican US Senators David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler claimed, without pointing out to any specific evidence, that Raffensperger had “failed to deliver an honest and transparent election.”

Raffensperger and Georgia’s GOP Governor Brian Kemp have both been criticized on Twitter by Trump, who falsely suggested that the consent decree that Georgia entered into to standardize its signature verification procedures is “unconstitutional,” and spread unfounded conspiracies attacking Dominion Voting Systems, the election technology vendor that provides Georgia’s ballot marking device voting machines. 

Raffenspeger also told the Washington Post that another top Trump ally, Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, asked if he could disqualify all mail ballots cast in counties with high rates of signature mismatch on the outer envelopes containing mail ballots. 

But Graham strongly disputed Raffensperger’s account of the conversation, saying that he simply wanted to learn about Georgia’s signature matching procedures and that the notion he pressured Raffensperger to throw out ballots was “ridiculous.”


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