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Georgia election official Gabe Sterling on Monday implored voters to participate in a pair of runoff races that will determine control of the US Senate.
“I strongly beg and encourage you, go vote tomorrow. Do not let anybody discourage you. Do not self-suppress your own vote. Do not make a self-fulfilling prophecy out of doing this,” Sterling said.
“Don’t let anybody steal your vote that way. And that’s what’s happening because if you self suppress, you’re taking away your important voice from this election.”
Sterling addressed reporters as President Trump prepares to host a Monday evening rally in Georgia for Republican Sens. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler, who are in close re-election races against Democrats Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock.
Trump says he was cheated out of re-election by widespread fraud, including in Georgia, where he lost to Biden by fewer than 12,000 votes. In a call released Sunday by Georgia Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, Trump asked state officials to “find” enough votes to overturn Biden’s win.
If Democrats win both runoffs, the Senate will be divided 50-50. Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will break tie votes and Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) will become Senate majority leader, making it much easier for Biden to pass bills and confirm nominees.
Sterling, the Georgia voting system implementation manager, said that he disapproved of Trump’s call to Raffensperger.
“I personally found that to be something that was not normal, out of place and nobody I know who would be president would do something like that to a secretary of state,” he said.
On Wednesday, Congress is expected to confirm Biden’s 306-232 victory in the Electoral College. Some Trump allies plan to object, but an objection would have to be accepted by both chambers of Congress to succeed. Democrats hold the House and enough Republican senators oppose the plan to put it well below 50 percent.
Sterling sought to build voter confidence as fringe Georgia conservatives claim that voter fraud will ensure Democratic wins. He specifically addressed prominent alleged instances of fraud in counting November ballots, which he called easily disproved examples of “ridiculousness.”
In response to Sterling’s press conference, the Trump campaign released a statement from its lawyer Jenna Ellis, who claimed Raffensberger “refused to provide access to evidence, blocked forensic examination of the machines, and stonewalled any attempt at transparency.”
“Any claim that we aren’t providing evidence is as absurd as his claim that the Georgia election was flawless,” she said.