Saturday June 19th, 2021 11:15PM

Graham facing ethics complaint over Georgia ballots question

By The Associated Press

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — Three attorneys have filed an ethics complaint against U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, accusing the South Carolina Republican of pressuring a Georgia elections official to toss out legally cast absentee votes in the presidential race.

In a complaint filed Wednesday with the Senate Select Committee on Ethics, Claire Finkelstein, Richard Painter and Walter Shaub “urge the committee to investigate whether Senator Graham suggested that Secretary Raffensperger disenfranchise Georgia voters by not counting votes lawfully cast for the office of president.” They also “demand clarity as to whether Senator Graham has threatened anyone with a Senate investigation of the Georgia vote tally and or taken steps to initiate such an investigation.”

The complaint also requests that Graham, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, “be recused from any investigation or other Senate matter relating to alleged irregularities in the 2020 election” while any probe of his comments is ongoing.

The complaint stems from comments by Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, who said this week that Graham asked him whether he had the power to reject certain absentee ballots, a question Raffensperger interpreted as a suggestion to toss out legally cast votes. Raffensperger told The Washington Post he’s faced rising pressure from fellow Republicans who want to see Democrat Joe Biden’s narrow lead in the state reversed.

The Associated Press has not declared a winner in Georgia, where Biden leads President Donald Trump by 0.3 percentage points. There is no mandatory recount law in Georgia, but state law provides that option to a trailing candidate if the margin is less than 0.5 percentage points. It is AP’s practice not to call a race that is – or is likely to become – subject to a recount.

Election officials have said a hand recount has turned up more than 5,000 votes in four counties that weren't previously counted but won't alter the overall outcome of the race, in which nearly 5 million votes were cast in the state. Officials have said the margin between Trump and Biden will be about 12,800 votes when those previously uncounted votes are accounted for.

When Georgia voters return an absentee ballot, they have to sign an oath on an outer envelope. County election office workers are required to ensure the signature matches the one on the absentee ballot application and the one in the voter registration system, Raffensperger has said.

“He asked if the absentee ballots could be matched back to the envelope,” Raffensperger told The Associated Press this week, of his conversation with Graham. “I thought that then Sen. Graham implied for us to audit the envelopes and throw out ballots of counties who had the highest frequency error rate of signatures, and I told him that’s something that we couldn’t do.”

Graham spokesman Kevin Bishop called the attorneys “longtime vocal critics” of both Graham and Trump, adding, “Their complaint should be viewed in that light.” Painter has called Graham “Putin’s favorite senator,” while Finkelstein said this week Trump “will likely be indicted” after leaving office.

Schaub, the former head of the federal Office of Government Ethics, complained in 2017 about Graham’s tweets that he said improperly promoted Trump International Golf Club.

When asked about the conversation with Raffensperger, Graham said Monday that he was “trying to find out how the signature stuff worked” and that Raffensperger “did a good job of explaining to me how they verify signatures.”

Asked about Raffensperger’s interpretation that he was suggesting legally cast ballots should be thrown out, Graham said, “That’s ridiculous.”

Trump -- who has made unfounded claims of widespread voting irregularities and fraud — and his campaign have repeatedly taken to social media to criticize Raffensperger and the way the state’s hand tally was being conducted. Once the hand tally is complete and the results certified, the losing campaign can request a recount, which would be done using scanners that read and tally the votes.

County election officials were instructed to complete the count by 11:59 p.m. Wednesday. The deadline for the state to certify election results is Friday.


Kate Brumback in Atlanta contributed.


Meg Kinnard can be reached at http://twitter.com/MegKinnardAP.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Online Headlines - Washington, AP Online Congress News, AP Elections, General Presidential Election News, AP Online - Georgia News, AP Online Headlines - Georgia News
© Copyright 2021 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Graham facing ethics complaint over Georgia ballots question
Three attorneys have filed an ethics complaint against U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham
4:34PM ( 8 minutes ago )
Pfizer: COVID-19 shot 95% effective, seeking clearance soon
Pfizer says new test results show its coronavirus vaccine is 95% effective
4:33PM ( 9 minutes ago )
'Tired to the bone': Hospitals overwhelmed with virus cases
Conditions inside the nation’s hospitals are deteriorating by the day as the coronavirus rages through the country at an unrelenting pace
4:31PM ( 10 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
The Latest: New York City closes schools at 3% positive rate
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio says the city will close schools to try to stop the spread of the coronavirus
3:27PM ( 1 hour ago )
Acting Pentagon chief cites risks during troop reductions
The acting defense secretary says the period of U.S. troop withdrawals from Afghanistan and Iraq in the coming weeks is “fraught with risk,” Speaking at Fort Bragg in North Carolina, Christopher C
2:50PM ( 1 hour ago )
The Latest: Biden promises to prioritize state virus funding
President-elect Joe Biden says he’s hopeful that Republicans in Congress will be more willing to send money to state and local governments after President Donald Trump leaves office
2:46PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP Online Headlines - Washington
Berlin police forcefully disperse protest over virus rules
German police fired water cannons at demonstrators protesting coronavirus restrictions after saying the crowd ignored warnings to wear masks and to keep their distance from one another
12:24PM ( 4 hours ago )
Controversial Fed nominee Shelton stalls in Senate test vote
President Donald Trump's controversial nominee to the Federal Reserve has stalled in the Senate after Vice President-elect Kamala Harris returned to the chamber to cast a key vote
12:05PM ( 4 hours ago )
Thousands protest violence-marred rally at Thai Parliament
Thousands of pro-democracy demonstrators have rallied in central Bangkok a day after a chaotic protest outside Parliament was marred by violence that left 55 people injured, including as many as six with gunshot wounds
9:47AM ( 6 hours ago )
AP Online Congress News
Trump pays $3 million for recount of 2 Wisconsin counties
President Donald Trump's campaign has paid $3 million for a recount of two heavily Democratic Wisconsin counties, saying that they were the site of the “worst irregularities.”
1:24PM ( 3 hours ago )
Trump pays $3 million for partial Wisconsin vote recount
President Donald Trump has paid $3 million for a partial recount in Wisconsin but has yet to file a petition indicating which counties it is targeting
11:13AM ( 5 hours ago )
Trump faces Wednesday deadline for Wisconsin vote recount
President Donald Trump is facing a deadline to file for a recount in Wisconsin
9:47AM ( 6 hours ago )
AP Elections
Trump fires head of DHS election security agency
President Donald Trump has fired the director of the federal agency that repeatedly vouched for the reliability of the 2020 election
7:28PM ( 21 hours ago )
The Latest: Trump to spend Thanksgiving at White House
President Donald Trump and the first lady will be spending Thanksgiving at the White House instead of attending the annual dinner at his Mar-a-Lago club in Florida
6:47PM ( 21 hours ago )
The Latest: Harris is at Capitol for 1st time as VP-elect
Kamala Harris has returned to the Capitol for the first time as vice president-elect
4:01PM ( 1 day ago )
General Presidential Election News
ACC could benefit from show of force behind 3 ranked teams
The ACC football standings are topped by three Top 25 teams _ No. 2 Notre Dame, No. 4 Clemson and No. 12 Miami
2:43PM ( 2 hours ago )
Staley says her 'nice' Gamecocks need to prove they can win
South Carolina coach Dawn Staley likes almost everything about her team
12:55PM ( 3 hours ago )
SEC adapting to help league crown champion during pandemic
Commissioner Greg Sankey and the Southeastern Conference have their finish line in sight: The league championship game is set for Dec. 19 in Atlanta
12:53PM ( 3 hours ago )
AP Online - Georgia News
FDA allows 1st rapid virus test that gives results at home
U.S. regulators are allowing emergency use of the first rapid coronavirus test that can be done entirely at home
4:28PM ( 18 minutes ago )
New York City schools to close again as virus rate rises
New York City’s mayor says he’s shuttering schools to try to stop the renewed spread of the coronavirus
4:15PM ( 31 minutes ago )
Trump pursues recount of 2 liberal Wisconsin counties
President Donald Trump's campaign has paid $3 million for a recount of two heavily Democratic Wisconsin counties, saying that they were the site of the “worst irregularities.”
4:02PM ( 44 minutes ago )
A tough year for all, a memorable year for Stewart Cink
Stewart Cink is hesitant to talk about good memories this year because so many people have suffered
3:50PM ( 55 minutes ago )
Trump pushes new environmental rollbacks on way out the door
Down to its final weeks, the Trump administration is working to push through dozens of rollbacks that could weaken century-old protections for migratory birds, expand Arctic drilling and hamstring future regulation of public health threats
3:50PM ( 56 minutes ago )