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Georgia secretary of state says elections official who criticized Trump has his ‘full support’

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Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (R) on Wednesday threw his support behind a top election official who accused President Trump and the state’s two Republican senators of complicity in threats of violence against election workers. 

Speaking at a morning press conference at the Georgia Capitol, Raffensperger said that the earlier remarks by Georgia voting systems manager Gabriel Sterling rebuking Trump’s conduct had his “full support” and encouraged others to speak “with truth.”

“He spoke with passion and he spoke with truth, and it’s about time more people are out there speaking with truth,” Raffensperger said of Sterling’s remarks. “Perhaps not the exact wording I would have used, but you caught the essence of it and he has my full support. We have a tremendous team.”

Raffensperger’s comments came a day after Sterling delivered a fiery denouncement of Trump and his allies’ sustained criticism on the integrity of Georgia’s elections system. He accused them of encouraging threats of violence against state officials, election workers and their families.

“Mr. President, it looks like a likely loss in the state of Georgia,” Sterling said at a Tuesday afternoon press conference. “We’re investigating. There’s always a possibility. I get it. You have the rights to go through the court. What you don’t have the ability to do — and you need to step up and say this — is stop inspiring people to commit potential violence.”

He added: “Someone’s going to get hurt. Someone’s going to get shot. Someone’s going to get killed. It’s not right.”

Sterling added on Tuesday that he had police protection outside his home because of the threats that he has received. He also noted that Raffensperger has had people trespass on his property and send “sexualized threats” to his wife’s cellphone.

But Sterling said that the “straw that broke the camel’s back” were threats made against a 20-year-old employee of a voting systems company.

“His family is getting harassed now. There’s a noose out there with his name on it,” Sterling said, adding: “This kid took a job. He just took a job.”

Raffensperger echoed Sterling’s remarks on Wednesday morning, criticizing Trump for failing to tone down his comments about the presidential election. The secretary of state pointed to a Tuesday night tweet from the president repeating the false claim that the election results in Georgia were marred by “massive voter fraud.”

“Even after this office requested that President Trump try and quell the violent rhetoric being born out of his continuing claims of winning the states where he obviously lost, he tweeted out: ‘Expose the massive voter fraud in Georgia,’ ” Raffensperger said. 

“This is exactly the kind of language that is at the base of the growing threat environment for election workers who are simply doing their jobs.”

Trump currently trails Biden in Georgia by about 12,000 votes. A recount requested by the Trump campaign last week is expected to be completed by the end of the day on Wednesday, though it’s unlikely that it will swing the results of the election toward Trump.

Tags 2020 election Brad Raffensperger Donald Trump Gabriel Sterling Georgia politics Georgia recount Georgia Secretary of State

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