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Debunking Trump claims point-by-point, Georgia elections official urges voters to turn out

Georgia’s voting systems manager on Monday delivered an impassioned point-by-point repudiation of President TrumpDonald TrumpIran's leader vows 'revenge,' posting an image resembling Trump Former Sanders spokesperson: Biden 'backing away' from 'populist offerings' Justice Dept. to probe sudden departure of US attorney in Atlanta after Trump criticism MORE's numerous claims of fraud and malfeasance in the 2020 presidential election while urging voters to look past the president's rhetoric and “turn out to vote.”

Speaking to reporters at the Georgia state Capitol, Gabriel Sterling warned that the president's rhetoric threatened to suppress turnout in the state's two upcoming Senate runoff elections.

“Given the nature of the president’s statements and several other people who have been aligned with him previously … we are specifically asking you and telling you: Please turn out and vote tomorrow,” said Sterling, a Republican who has emerged as a regular critic of Trump’s allegations.

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Sterling’s remarks came a day after explosive news broke of a phone call in which Trump pleaded with Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (R) to “find” enough votes to overturn President-elect Joe BidenJoe BidenRev. Barber says best way to undercut extremism is with honesty Biden requires international travelers to quarantine upon arrival to US Overnight Defense: House approves waiver for Biden's Pentagon nominee | Biden to seek five-year extension of key arms control pact with Russia | Two more US service members killed by COVID-19 MORE’s win in the state. 

In that call, Trump repeated a series of baseless allegations and conspiracy theories, arguing that he won the presidential race in Georgia, despite Biden notching nearly 12,000 more votes.

At one point, Trump seemed to suggest that his supporters may not vote in future elections, saying that people “don’t want to vote, they hate the state.” 

Georgia election and law enforcement officials have carried out a range of investigations into alleged voter fraud and malfeasance on the part of election workers and have uncovered no evidence to back up Trump’s claims — a point that Sterling repeated on Monday. 

“It’s whack-a-mole again. It’s Groundhog Day again,” he said, referring to the numerous press conferences the Georgia Secretary of State’s Office has held in recent months to address election-related allegations from Trump and his allies. 

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Sterling pushed back against the president’s accusations, one by one, saying that Trump had not only eroded confidence in the democratic process but threatened to dampen turnout among the very Republican voters that Sen. Kelly LoefflerKelly LoefflerLimbaugh falsely says Biden didn't win legitimately while reacting to inauguration Suburbs pose challenge for GOP in post-Trump era Democrats swear in three senators to gain majority MORE (R-Ga.) and former Sen. David PerdueDavid PerdueSuburbs pose challenge for GOP in post-Trump era Democrats swear in three senators to gain majority Schumer becomes new Senate majority leader MORE (R-Ga.) need the backing of to win their respective runoff elections Tuesday.

“This is all easily provably false, yet the president persists, and by doing so undermines Georgians’ faith in the election systems, especially Republican Georgians in this case,” Sterling said.

In fact, Trump’s rhetoric on the accuracy and efficacy of Georgia’s elections has stirred concern among some Republicans, who fear that the president’s base of ultra-loyal supporters may take his message of a “rigged” election literally and remain home on Tuesday. 

Loeffler is facing a challenge from Democrat Raphael Warnock, while Perdue is facing off against Democrat Jon Ossoff again.

Those dual runoffs will prove crucial in determining the balance of power in Washington; Republicans currently hold a 51-to-48-seat majority in the Senate, and if Democrats oust both Loeffler and Perdue on Tuesday, they will effectively win control of the upper chamber, with Vice President-elect Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisHarris takes up temporary residence at Blair House Amanda Gorman captures national interest after inauguration performance Democrats formally elect Harrison as new DNC chair MORE casting the tie-breaking vote. 

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There are signs that Democrats scored an advantage in early voter turnout. More ballots were cast during early voting in areas and by groups that tend to favor Democrats, including Black voters, who have so far outperformed their share of the vote in the presidential election.

Republicans, meanwhile, are banking on strong turnout on Tuesday itself. Sterling, however, lamented that Trump and his allies’ false claims of fraud and irregularities could sink that strategy. 

“If you’re a Georgia voter, if you want your values reflected by your elected officials, I strongly beg and encourage you — go vote tomorrow,” Sterling said. 

“Do not self-suppress your own vote,” he added. “Do not make a self-fulfilling prophecy out of doing this.”