Saturday, December 5, 2020

Fact examine: Claim about Sen. Lindsey Graham’s calls to state officers is deceptive

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The declare: Sen. Lindsey Graham reached out to officers in Georgia, Nevada and Arizona, and ‘tried to govern vote counts’Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, a distinguished ally of President Donald Trump, made headlines this week after a sequence of cellphone calls to elections officers in three pivotal states: Georgia, Nevada and Arizona.His actions prompted indignant posts on Facebook from the left-leaning web page Occupy Democrats.”In addition to Georgia, Lindsey Graham admits he also tried to manipulate vote counts in Nevada and Arizona to help Trump,” its publish reads. “Just another member of the self-proclaimed Party of Law and Order proving he really has no respect for Law and Order.”Occupy Democrats has not responded to a request from USA TODAY for remark.Georgia secretary of state stated Graham requested him to ‘see what number of ballots you might throw out’On Monday, Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger instructed the Washington Post that he spoke with Graham onNov. 13 in regards to the state’s signature-matching legal guidelines.Raffensperger stated Graham requested him if political bias may need influenced ballot staff to just accept ballots with nonmatching signatures. Graham additionally inquired as as to if Raffensperger had the ability to toss mail-in ballots in counties with excessive charges of nonmatching signatures.To Raffensperger, it appeared that Graham was suggesting he discover a methodology to throw out ballots that had been lawfully solid.“It sure looked like he was wanting to go down that road,” Raffensperger instructed the Post.That night time on CNN Politics, Raffensperger offered extra particulars in regards to the name.”He asked if the ballots could be matched back to the voters,” he stated. “I got the sense it implied that then you could throw those out for any, if you look at the counties with the highest frequent error of signatures. So that’s the impression that I got.”It was simply an implication of, ‘Look onerous and see what number of ballots you might throw out,'” Raffensperger added.Story continuesU. S. Sen. Lindsey Graham speaks to a cheering crowd of supporters on election night.Graham pushed back, said he just wanted to understand state lawsGraham said it was “ridiculous” to claim that he suggested Raffensperger should toss legal ballots. He said he simply wanted to understand the state’s signature-matching requirements, per the Washington Post.“The main issue for me is: How do you protect the integrity of mail-in voting, and how does signature verification work?” Graham said. “If he feels threatened by that conversation, he’s got a problem. I actually thought it was a good conversation.”He also said on CNN Politics that he was “shocked” to hear how Raffensperger interpreted their conversation.”What I’m looking for out was how do you confirm signatures on mail-in ballots in these states which might be the focal point?” Graham said. “So like once you mail in a poll, you bought to have some method to confirm that the signature on the envelope really matches the one who requested the poll.””It appears to me that Georgia has some protections that possibly different states do not have, the place you go into the portal to get your poll,” he added.More: Fact check: Claim that voting noncitizens affected 2020 election outcome is unverifiedA witness to the conversation backs Georgia secretary of stateOn Tuesday, Gabriel Sterling — the election implementation manager in Georgia, who works under Raffensperger and participated in the call — told CNN Politics that he heard Graham ask about the possibility of tossing ballots, too.”What I heard was mainly discussions about absentee ballots and if a probably … if there was a proportion of signatures that weren’t actually, really matching, is there some level we might get to, lets say someone went to a courtroom might say nicely, let’s throw (out) all these ballots as a result of now we have no means of figuring out as a result of the ballots are separated,” Sterling said.Sterling said the comments “may need gone just a little to the sting of” what others deem acceptable, but said he understood why Raffensperger and Graham had different interpretations of their conversation.Legal experts told The New York Times that it was doubtful that Graham’s actions could lead to criminal charges or represented a violation of the ethics rules that govern the Senate.Still, three attorneys filed a complaint about the matter to the Senate Select Committee on Ethics on Wednesday, according to the Associated Press.The complaint was filed by Walter Shaub, a former top ethics watchdog for the federal government under President Barack Obama; Richard Painter, the top ethics lawyer under President George W. Bush; and Claire Finkelstein, who heads the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for Ethics and the Rule of Law.What about Nevada and Arizona?On Tuesday, while speaking with reporters in the U.S. Capitol, Graham said he had also spoken with officials from Nevada and Arizona.“Yeah, I talked to Arizona, I talked to Nevada,” he said, per Politico.Graham said he was speaking with the officials in his capacity “as a United States senator who is worried about the integrity of the election process nationally, when it comes to vote by mail.””If we’ll broaden voting by mail, which we most likely will, I wish to be sure that we’re taking the precautions essential to validate signatures like we do in case you present up on Election Day,” he said.Graham said his central question was who verifies the signatures, per USA TODAY.He also defended his right to ask for more information on state laws, per CNN Politics.”What I’m very involved about is that if you are going to proceed to vote by mail that we have to know what methods work and what do not,” Graham said. “It’s as much as the individuals of Georgia. I believe I’ve each proper on the planet to reach out and say how does it work? And that is what I did.”Unlike Georgia, it was not immediately clear to whom Graham had spoken in Arizona and Nevada.Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs tweeted that she had not spoken with him, and Nevada Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske released a similar statement.Graham later clarified that he spoke with Arizona’s Republican Gov. Doug Ducey, not Hobbs. As for Nevada, he said he had been and had been “briefed about what they do in Nevada” but could not “bear in mind by who.”Patrick Ptak, a spokesman for Ducey, told the Arizona Republic that the call with Graham was simply to learn more about the state’s process.“He was calling about the certification process for ballots and Arizona’s system. Senator Graham has been praiseworthy of Arizona and our process,” Ptak stated in a cellphone interview. “He did not ask for anything, to my knowledge. It was a call about how Arizona does things.”Our ranking: Partly falseBased on our analysis, the declare that Sen. Lindsey Graham “tried to manipulate vote counts” in Georgia, Arizona and Nevada is PARTLY FALSE. It’s true that Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger stated Graham appeared to counsel he discover a methodology to throw out ballots that had been lawfully solid, although Graham disputes that characterization. It’s additionally true Graham additionally made calls to officers in Arizona and Nevada, however nobody — together with one of many officers he spoke with — advised that he “tried to manipulate vote counts” in both state.Our fact-check sources:Washington Post, Nov. 16, Ga. secretary of state says fellow Republicans are pressuring him to seek out methods to exclude ballotsCNN Politics, Nov. 17, Georgia secretary of state says Lindsey Graham implied he ought to attempt to throw away ballotsCNN Politics, Nov. 17, Witness corroborates declare that Lindsey Graham requested about tossing ballots in GeorgiaNew York Times, Nov. 17, Lindsey Graham’s Long-Shot Mission to Unravel the Election OutcomesAssociated Press, Nov. 18, Graham going through ethics criticism over Georgia ballots queryPolitico, Nov. 17, Graham says he additionally spoke to officers in Arizona, Nevada about electionUSA TODAY, Nov. 17, Lindsey Graham says he is spoken with a number of battleground state officers about poll countingCNN Politics, Nov. 17, Graham probed state officers in three states Trump misplacedSecretary Katie Hobbs, Nov. 17, TweetNevada Secretary of State, Nov. 17, Secretary of State Cegavske Issues Statement Regarding Post-Election Certification ProcessThank you for supporting our journalism. You can subscribe to our print version, ad-free app or digital newspaper duplicate right here.Our reality examine work is supported partially by a grant from Facebook.This reality examine is obtainable at IFCN’s 2020 US Elections FactChat #Chatbot on WhatsApp. Click right here, for extra.This article initially appeared on USA TODAY: Fact examine: Claim about Lindsey Graham’s calls to states is deceptive

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