Last month, Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) asked Georgia’s Republican secretary of state, Brad Raffensperger, to sift through and throw out legally cast ballots in order to help President Donald Trump, sparking calls for an investigation from government watchdogs.
Graham has denied any wrongdoing, insisting that he was merely curious about how Georgia matched signatures on absentee ballots and envelopes.
On Thursday, Michael J. Moore, a former Democratic Georgia State Senator and United States Attorney, asked the Georgia State Election Board to launch a probe into Graham’s potentially criminal behavior and to monitor whether Graham tries it again as a means of influencing the two runoff Georgia Senate races next month.
In a letter obtained by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Moore wrote:
I write to request that the State Election Board, pursuant to the duties and authority of the Board as provided by Georgia law, authorize the Secretary of State to investigate, or alternatively conduct its own investigation, of the herein described irregularities in the 2020 general election and upcoming January 5, 2021, runoff election. Should the Board find any evidence to support further inquiry of potential criminal conduct, I urge you to refer the matter to the Attorney General or appropriate district attorney for further investigation and prosecution.
Senator Graham’s call has further been detailed as making inquiry into possible vote counting adjustments that could be made during the upcoming January 5, 2021, runoff election to fill the U.S. Senate seats currently held by Senator Kelly Loeffler and Senator David Perdue.
Moore continued, accusing Graham, the co-chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, of attempting “to potentially disenfranchise Georgia voters.”
Moore explained that the illegality of Graham’s conduct is unambiguous:
A person commits the offense of conspiracy to commit election fraud when he or she conspires or agrees with another to commit a violation of this chapter. The crime shall be complete when the conspiracy or agreement is effected and an overt act in furtherance thereof has been committed, regardless of whether the violation of this chapter is consummated. Georgia law further provides that a person who performs any act constituting a substantial step toward the commission of a specific crime commits the offense of criminal attempt to commit that crime.
Georgia law clearly prohibits the interference with the performance of the Secretary of State’s official election duties: Any person who intentionally interferes with, hinders, or delays or attempts to interfere with, hinder, or delay any other person in the performance of any act or duty authorized or imposed by this chapter shall be guilty of a misdemeanor. Georgia law also prohibits the removal of a ballot from the custody of any person having lawful charge over it to prevent it from being used or counted.
Moore concluded his letter with the following formal request:
Based upon the public comments made by Secretary Raffensperger and given that the telephone call in question has been corroborated by both Secretary Raffensperger’s staff and Senator Graham, I request that the matter be fully investigated to determine if a violation of Georgia law occurred. I am particularly concerned that the Chairman of the United States Senate Judiciary Committee would make any attempt to interfere with the Georgia Secretary of State as he endeavored to lawfully perform his constitutional duties in overseeing the 2020 election and the counting, and re-counting, of the votes cast in the State of Georgia.
I also request that the Board investigate any attempt or conduct by Senator Graham to request the discarding of lawful ballots that will be cast in the upcoming January 5, 2021, runoff for Georgia’s two open seats in the United States Senate. Time is of the essence for this investigation as Senator Graham has also indicated that the purpose of his call to Secretary Raffensperger was to ask questions about the upcoming Senate runoff election to be held on January 5, 2021.
Forty-eight days until the unauguration.
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Brandon is a political writer for the Hill Reporter specializing in current events, breaking news, and scientific discovery. Brandon holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Indiana University. He lives in New York City.