Gabe Sterling Dec 10 2020 press conference

Georgia Voter System Implementation Manager Gabriel Sterling, right, refutes claims made by Republicans about the Nov. 3 general election in Georgia during a press conference at the state Capitol on Thursday.

To former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, the Jan. 5 U.S. Senate runoffs in Georgia have a once-in-a-lifetime-type quality to them in terms of their national implications.

Incumbent Sens. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler, both Republicans, are facing challenges from Democrats Jon Ossoff and Rev. Raphael Warnock, respectively. If Democrats, who already control the U.S. House, can win both runoffs, they can flip control of the U.S. Senate away from the Republicans.

Huckabee, a former Republican candidate for president who now serves as the honorary national chairman of the nonprofit group, My Faith Votes, said he’s never seen a single runoff election have national implications this high before in his lifetime.

“It’s like the 500-year flood,” he said. “I mean this just doesn’t happen where you have two seats, both in a runoff, (in the same state). That alone would be an incredible, unusual circumstance, but when those two seats would determine the balance of power, not just in the Senate, but in the entire Congress and across the federal government, it’s just unprecedented. It’s just never been like this before.

“Normally, Senate seats are staggered, as you know, so you have at least two years, if not four years of separation between Senate elections.”

But, while Jan. 5 is a major election date with national implications, Huckabee raised several questions about the last election, which occurred on Nov. 3.

My Faith Votes, the group Huckabee is an honorary chairman of, is a nonpartisan group that “motivates, equips and activates Christians in America to vote in every election,” and whose mission is to “see an America where God is honored in the public square and biblical truth is advanced in our culture,” according to its website, www.myfaithvotes.org/. It has turned its attention to Georgia and the Jan. 5 election, recruiting volunteers and providing resources online ahead of the election.

In an interview with the Daily Post this week, he repeated Republican claims of irregularities in Georgia’s election — claims officials from Georgia’s Secretary of State’s office have largely argued are not true.

“There are a lot of unanswered questions,” Huckabee said. “Even though I hear what has been said ‘Move on here, there’s nothing to see,’ there’s plenty to see: affidavits of people who have given sworn testimony under penalty of perjury and a prison sentence, that they saw things that were not appropriate according to protocol; the ballots that were uncovered after everyone had gone home after being told there was a main water leak when there really wasn’t; and then ballots came out but there were no observers there to observe those being counted.

“Those are serious questions along with the ID verification on mail-in ballots, how reliable were the Dominion voting machines. There’s just unanswered questions and everyone’s answer seems to be ‘Let’s just ignore it and there’s nothing really untoward. Let’s just move on,’ and how convenient that is.”

A major reason why President Donald Trump and other Republicans have been challenging the results in Georgia is that three counts of the ballots from that election — including two machine counts and one hand count that was part of the state’s election audit — have shown former Vice President Joe Biden won the state by more than 12,000 votes.

Biden’s victory is the first time a Democrat has won Georgia in a presidential election since Bill Clinton won the state in 1992.

“What I think should happen is that Joe Biden and the Democrats should be the first ones demanding a full scale audit, investigation and clearing any cob webs off of this,” Huckabee said. “We’ve spent four years having people — Adam Schiff and Eric Swalwell, Maxine Waters and others — say that President Trump’s (2016) election was illegitimate, that he was not really the president, accusing him of collusion with the Russians and we thoroughly investigated it, $40 million worth of investigation over it, found out it wasn’t true but they still continued to say there was collusion.

“What I don’t understand is why wouldn’t you want the same standard applied to this election? And, it seems incredibly hypocritical to only want to audit the election results and to do a full-scale investigation if the Republican wins.”

There have been several lawsuits, including one filed by the attorney general of Texas that the U.S. Supreme Court rejected on Friday, challenging the election in Georgia. State legislators here have also begun holding hearings where Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani has made similar claims to the questions Huckabee raised.

That has prompted the Secretary of State’s Office to hold regular press conferences to dispute the claims that are being made. When asked for a response to Huckabee’s statements on Thursday, the office directed the Daily Post to watch a live broadcast of press conference that was held shortly thereafter that afternoon.

“There’s just so much disinformation,” Georgia Voting System Implementation Manager Gabriel Sterling said at the press conference. “I think I said the other day we have a shovel and we’re going against an ocean. It’s an ocean being perpetuated by the president of the United States and his legal teams and they have the rights to go through their due process.

“What they don’t have the right to do is bring them out in a way that they can’t be questioned and they can’t be looked at in a real way, and they give it more heft than it deserves because the president is saying it. And, I get it. People are still emotionally raw. I still have family members who they just can’t possibly imagine how Joe Biden has won the state of Georgia. He did through several different ways.”

One such way, according to Sterling, was people sitting out the presidential race when they cast their ballots, but voting in other races on the ballot.

“We had about over 20,000 people just skip the presidential race,” he said. “They just didn’t vote in it. They voted in other races. If you take eight counties, six in metro Atlanta and the two around the University of Georgia, Clarke and Oconee, David Perdue got more than 19,000 more votes than the president ...

“We have a new report we’re going to be looking at from a federal lab showing that there was no fraudulent voting in this state by comparisons to previous elections. Everything we saw here was relatively normal. People who not understand what’s been happening in the state in the last 10 years are the ones that are really thrown by this. Guess what? Gwinnett and Cobb Counties flipped from very Republican years ago to very Democrat now.”

Sterling did say there are about 131 cases of issues in the Nov. 3 election that the Secretary of State’s Office is investigating. That is part of more than 200 cases the office is investigating for all elections, including the state’s primary and various special elections, held this year.

But, Sterling has also challenged evidence produced by the Trump campaign, including a video from State Farm Arena, the venue Huckabee referred to when he mentioned the water main leak. Sterling said the video has been “repeatedly debunked.”

“We have rules, we have laws,” Sterling said. “The president has filed an official election challenge in Fulton County Superior Court and that is the proper venue for going through these continuing claims. I’ve seen the numbers that have been submitted through that. We have begun our process of trying to investigate those where they say there’s 10,000 felons. So far, our investigations of potential felon voting is at less than 100.

“They say there are people who are not even registered to cast a vote. There is no way to cast a vote unless you are in the voter registration system. You cannot get a ballot. There’s no way to process it. So, it isn’t a possibility.”

I'm a Crawford Long baby who grew up in Marietta and eventually wandered to the University of Southern Mississippi for college. Earned a BA in journalism (double minor in political science and history). Previously worked in Florida and Clayton County.

(5) comments

John tuttle, jr.

If t Rump won Georgia by a handful of votes, he and his minions would be saying the voting in gA is an example of how democracy works so well. Get over it. He lost !!!

MissDaisy

I think the key is "wide spread." Sterling did say there was voter impropriety, but not enough to overturn the election. Whatever those improprieties are should be dealt with severely to insure they do no become wide spread. I don't believe the biggest problems are with the machines nor the workers, but with the current system that allows and fosters ballot harvesting.

Correct, Trump did not win the popular vote in 2016, but Hillary did not get a majority of the vote. With the third party candidates, both Trump and Hillay received less than 50%. This time around Bide received 50.5% of the popular vote; a majority, but hardly a landslide or mandate. He has a chance to be president for the whole country and recognize that nearly 50% voted for someone else and have differing political views.

Atlguy10

I'm a Republican voter and I even voted for Trump even though I really wanted a better candidate. Even so, I feel like I'm watching some delusional cult when I watch Trump supporters screaming about election fraud in Georgia.

Trump lost in Georgia. He lost the popular vote in 2016. The polls said he'd lose the popular election again in 2020 and he did. There is no widespread fraud.

CC

Huckabee says, "There’s just unanswered questions and everyone’s answer seems to be ‘Let’s just ignore it and there’s nothing really untoward. Let’s just move on,’ and how convenient that is." Except that these issues have been addressed, multiple times (50+ lawsuits, U.S. Attorney General and election officials all across the country investigating claims of fraud, etc.).

MarvinGardens

Important responses from Sterling to the election concerns. I appreciate that Sterling, Raffensperger, Kemp, and some other Republicans still care about honesty and integrity.

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