Nov 30, 2020

Georgia Press Conference on 2020 Election Recount Update Transcript November 30

Georgia Press Conference on 2020 Election Update Transcript November 30
RevBlogTranscriptsGeorgia Press Conference on 2020 Election Recount Update Transcript November 30

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger & election officials held a press conference on November 30 to provide updates on the 2020 election recount. He warned of misinformation amid the recount and the runoff election. Read the transcript of the news briefing here.

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Brad Raffensperger: (06:48)
Good morning.

Brad Raffensperger: (06:52)
I apologize for getting started late. First day back from Thanksgiving. So I hope everyone had a good Thanksgiving weekend.

Brad Raffensperger: (07:05)
I want to talk to you today about where we stand on the recount, lawsuits, and the upcoming elections on December 1st and January 5th. The truth matters, especially around election administration.

Brad Raffensperger: (07:20)
So the recount is going on, scheduled to be completed by our site a Wednesday date at the midnight deadline. Once that is complete, our office continue our work to be transparent as possible will be releasing the recount results online as quickly as possible. That is the great thing about our paper ballot system. It is auditable, it is recountable, and can provide voters. The confidence that the outcomes are correct. Once this recount is complete, everyone in Georgia will be able to have even more confidence in the results of our elections, despite the massive amounts of misinformation that is being spread by dishonest actors.

Brad Raffensperger: (08:11)
There are those who are exploiting the emotions of many Trump supporters with fantastic claims, half-truths, misinformation, and, frankly, they are misleading the President as well apparently. There are two suits in federal court right now. One was already shot down and is being appealed. The other is just beginning. That is the due process afforded to us, all of us, as Americans.

Brad Raffensperger: (08:40)
As we move forward in the process, we will, as we always have been, we will continue to investigate credible claims of illegal voting and violation of state election law. There are currently over 250 open cases from 2020, and we have 23 investigators to follow up on them. Some of these include a charge in Gwinnett County that absentee ballots outnumber absentee envelopes. This is the kind of specific charge that our office can investigate and ascertain the truths. We have multiple investigations underway surrounding city ballots in Fulton, Gwinett, Cobb, and many others. We continue our investigations into potential dead, double voters and non-resident voters.

Brad Raffensperger: (09:33)
As we move to the December 1st election, which is tomorrow, and the January 5th federal runoffs, we have to remain vigilant. That is why I’m announcing an investigation into third party groups working to register people in other states to vote here in Georgia. We have opened investigation into a group called America Votes, who is sending absentee ballot applications to people at addresses where they have not lived since 1994; Vote Forward, who attempted to register a dead Alabama voter, a woman, to vote here in Georgia; the New Georgia Project, who sent voter registration applications to New York City; and Operation New Voter Registration Georgia, who is telling college students in Georgia that they can change their residency to Georgia and then change it back after the election. Let me be very clear again, voting in Georgia when you are not a resident of Georgia is a felony, and encouraging college kids to commit felonies with no regard for what it might mean for them is despicable.

Brad Raffensperger: (10:46)
These third-party groups have a responsibility to not encourage illegal voting. If they do so, they will be held responsible. Let me emphasize this again. Casting an illegal vote in Georgia is a felony. Casting more than one vote in Georgia is a felony in one election obviously. This office will continue to take steps to protect the voting rights of the legally registered Georgians of this state, Republican, Democrat, Independent and whatever other party you may be a member and whoever you aligned with. Upholding the law matters, truth matters, and your vote matters.

Brad Raffensperger: (11:29)
Anyone telling you to boycott an election is not on your side. Your right to vote is sacred. Don’t let someone con you out of that. Everyone in my office is doing their job. We will continue to follow [inaudible 00:11:46] and we will continue to follow the process. Thank you very much.

Speaker 2: (11:58)
Hi guys. Glad to be back out of COVID quarantine and see all y’all in person again.

Speaker 2: (12:04)
Just basically wanted to go over a couple of extra things that we are moving on. Obviously, out of the recount process soon. The ENR page will likely be launched today. We’re working with the counties right now to make sure that that gets done properly so that people will see that because this recount result will be the certified result, which may require having a few counties re-certified. If that’s the case, then state is re-certified. Just the presidential is the only thing that changed on that. So we’re having to go through the efforts on that.

Speaker 2: (12:32)
Another thing is if we look at January 5th, beginning … We were at 940,000 absentee ballots will be part of that process so far. Included in that total is about 84,000 that are still on the elections dashboard from the online ballot application tool. The counties have to go through and verify that they are actually the proper request orders. 1,040 ballots have already been accepted, voted and sent into the County so far. A small trickle we expect to get a lot bigger soon.

Speaker 2: (13:07)
Let’s see. That’s basically where we stand. So any questions you’ll have right now? Yes.

Speaker 3: (13:21)
You said that there’s 250 investigations underway. Is there any indication that there is evidence in those investigations that might any way change the results of this election?

Speaker 2: (13:26)
It’s an unknowable unknown at this point because there are 250 of them, and until you dig into the details of it, you can’t know for certain. There’s nothing that has jumped off the page at us to saying, yes, that was that amount right now. Like the Gwinett one is very specific. If there’s more ballots than there are envelopes, that’s obviously an issue, but we don’t have any idea if that delta even exists, let alone the amount of that delta yet.

Speaker 3: (13:46)
[inaudible 00:13:47].

Speaker 2: (13:49)
A board member, a Republican board member filed an affidavit stating that she thinks from her observations that that is the case. So that’s the kind of specific charge with a specific person making a specific charge that we can binary go and do. We can say, yes, this is true; no, this is not true. It’s better than the sort of generalized thing we see in many of these, which is “We think there’s lots of issues.” And you look at that. It’s very hard to then investigate that, but a specific charge that can be looked at it in a binary way. It either is, or it isn’t. That’s the kind of thing where we’re built to try to do.

Speaker 2: (14:21)
Or if you want to get even a specific issue around “We believe this person did something wrong or this candidate did something wrong on these dates.” There’s things we have to have, a generalized let’s look at it all again. Twitter is not exactly the best place to have these kinds of discussions, but somebody said, “You know what? I think we need to go back and recheck all the voter IDs again for all the in-person ballots. Make sure those are okay.” You can’t follow up on a lot of these things in a real way like that.

Speaker 2: (14:47)
Yes, ma’am.

Speaker 4: (14:57)
You said that there is an [inaudible 00:14:58] against a third party registry of voters. Does that happen to be in with the general one, or is that just in federal?

Speaker 2: (14:57)
Moving forward right now. This is new information that we’ve received of these outside groups attempting to register people illegally, potentially in other states.

Speaker 4: (15:05)
For the federal.

Speaker 2: (15:05)
That’s for the January 5th election, yes.

Speaker 5: (15:07)
[inaudible 00:15:09].

Speaker 2: (15:07)
Yeah, no.

Speaker 5: (15:09)
… Secretary specifically mention college students?

Speaker 2: (15:11)

Speaker 5: (15:12)
If an individual moves to Georgia for the purpose of going to college and establishes residency, is there anything wrong with the [crosstalk 00:15:21]-

Speaker 2: (15:21)
If the person is actually establishing residency, but as we discussed, the way that these people are presenting it to them is like, “Hey, you can switch your residency here and switch it back after the election.” They’re literally saying, “Hey, it’s okay to commit a felony.”

Speaker 5: (15:32)
But I mean is there …

Speaker 2: (15:32)
If they chose to be here after the fact, obviously, because it’s really part of the state of mind. But if they’re going into being sold, “Hey, you can do this just to do this purpose and switch it back right after,” it’s very specific. That is literally the definition of the felony we’re discussing. What else we got?

Speaker 2: (15:48)

Speaker 7: (15:48)
Can you describe [inaudible 00:15:51] Dominion issue is a Fulton County issue?

Speaker 2: (15:54)
Here’s the thing. There were no Dominion issues in Fulton County. There was a Dominion server that crashed because Fulton County literally ignored the basic instructions and the directions of the vendor on this one. They were given a, what is called an express server to do LNA, which a lot of accuracy testing on the machines they’re going to be using for the election tomorrow, basically. And they instead decided to, hey, we’re going to use this for the recount when they should have been using their central server. So what happened was they built the first cards out of their central servers. This is going to get deep in the weeds, and I apologize for that. So they built I think it was seven cards. I’m not exactly positive. And they were intended for absentee by mail scanning. You have to set up each one of the tabulators differently in order to keep the bucket straight of the four different types of ballots.

Speaker 2: (16:41)
Let’s go through those again. There’s was election day ballots, provisional ballots, early voting which is absentee in person, and then the absentee by mail ballots. There’s four basic buckets. So that’s the tabularly they had to do.

Speaker 2: (16:50)
So what they did, putting a corner, first, their intention was we’re going to use the express server as the one we upload all this stuff into, and there was a Dominion employee there that says “You can’t do that because it will crash that server.” So they said, okay, well, we’re going to put the database on here and we’re going to do tabulators off of this, but then they didn’t follow procedure, and did not back up that thing. Actually, I take that back. They did back it up. They did it on the same drive. So when that server crashed, that computer crashed … It’s really just a computer like this. It’s just a simple laptop computer and it crashed, so they could not get that database off because once you make the tabulator on the new database, the timestamp is different than the original database you had. So you can’t then upload it because that’s a security measure because you don’t want to have something that wasn’t created in the right place that can then upload into your existing election project.

Speaker 2: (17:38)
So again, Fulton County, but one particular technician, ignored the directives of our office, ignored the opinion and directions from the vendor, and caused this situation by ignoring that and choosing to go their own path, even though they were told don’t do that. So now they’re going to be forced to re-scan ballots. It has nothing to do with servers being wiped. Nobody directed that. That’s just a lie. It’s made up out of whole cloth, and it’s the kind of stuff we’re having to deal with. So that’s the situation we’re in right now, but that’s what really happened. Does that give you a better clarification as to what happened?

Speaker 7: (18:08)
It does, but what impact [inaudible 00:18:10] the results of the whole-

Speaker 2: (18:11)
It won’t impact the results. Just more work and more man hours and more time it, which is the kind of thing you often find when you cut corners, you end up adding cost in time because you cut corners. And that’s what happened in this case in Fulton County, which every other county has managed to pull this off pretty well. Fulton County, on this one particular thing, didn’t get it right because one technician was there, and then they compounded the error by sitting there for four hours yesterday and not explaining to the press and to the observers there what was happening, which led to rampant speculation. And then where we get some of these lies about the secretary ordering servers to be wiped, because it’s just not true.

Speaker 2: (18:41)
All right. Yes, sir.

Speaker 8: (18:44)
Just to clarify, we look at the [inaudible 00:18:45] that the Secretary made, [inaudible 00:18:45] that they are encouraging people to [inaudible 00:18:52]-

Speaker 2: (18:44)
It’s not a question to move to Georgia. Some people are here and the other ones, they’re literally sending it to people in other states to register here. They sent registration stuff to a dead woman in Alabama. So we have specific evidence, which is what I’ve repeatedly said at this podium. If the office gets specific evidence to follow up on, we will follow up on it.

Speaker 8: (19:13)
Is it possible [inaudible 00:19:16]-

Speaker 2: (19:23)
I’m going to assume they’re all going to say privileged [inaudible 00:19:25] it was an accident, but that’s why you investigate. You got to see what the underlying thing was. And the specific one where they’re saying, “Hey, you could switch your registration back,” that shows intent, which is a little bit different, a little higher standard.

Speaker 8: (19:37)
Are all of them doing that?

Speaker 2: (19:37)
I do not know the answer to that question, but that’s why you investigate them.

Speaker 2: (19:39)
Yes, ma’am.

Speaker 8: (19:40)
[inaudible 00:19:42].

Speaker 2: (19:40)
I have confidence it’ll all be done by Wednesday. You can’t deny that it is 2020, so I’m never going to say, “Yeah, we know what’s going to happen,” but we’re pretty sure it’s going to happen.

Speaker 2: (19:53)
Yeah, Doug.

Doug: (19:53)
[inaudible 00:19:55]. The Secretary of State’s office hasn’t made a decision, but [inaudible 00:20:07] speculative truths. Could you talk about how [inaudible 00:20:13] given the vulnerabilities that all computers have in regards to the kind of things that [inaudible 00:20:24]-

Speaker 2: (20:24)
Here’s the reality. Again, there are people who are upset with the outcome of the election. Let’s start from the full timeline again. In 2019, the legislature passed a bill that required BMDs, a ballot marking device, to be the machine of choice for the state, regardless of vendor. I think the day after the legislature passed it, after both houses passed it, we released an RFP that the office had been working on essentially since before the Secretary was sworn in. That RFP process followed the Georgia procurement law, and we worked in coordination with the Department of Administrative Services.

Speaker 2: (21:03)
They were three bidders. There were potentially four. One bidder, Heart InterCivic, missed the deadline by I don’t know. They uploaded stuff. They didn’t hit the final upload, so they were cut off out of the gate. Then you had ES&S, which was the incumbent vendor who had taken over the old Diebold machines. You had Dominion, and then you had another one called SmartMatic that partnered with another company whose name escapes me. Now, this has been over a year ago.

Speaker 2: (21:29)
So we went through a process, and they were scored. There was 32 main questions and I want to say to something like of 250 or so sub-questions from that. They were all scored by a group of individuals. There were seven people on the committee, and they were not just Secretary of State. In fact, I think there was only two from Secretary of State’s office. But we had a disability advocate there. We had two elections directors on there. We had a security expert from the … What do you call it? The Georgia Technology Authority. So we had a multi faceted group of people doing these evaluations.

Speaker 2: (22:03)
So all three people did their written bids, and all three of them came in and did in-person demonstrations. From those, the initial scoring came in. The ESN&S was number one in technical, but they were bad on pricing. And Dominion was best on pricing and just a little behind ES&S on technical. So then we moved into a negotiation phrase with both ESN&S and Dominion. And there’s a lot of security questions throughout all of this thing. So everybody answered those things equally, and we’ve put price down that only 25% of the overall amount. So that was only part of it. And it was a smaller part, and we were trying to say what are you balancing off on this with taxpayers versus what you’re getting on the value side?

Speaker 2: (22:41)
So at the end of the day, they had their initial bids, and all of this is available on the Department of Administrative Services website. It’s all public and transparent. You can see the initial bids. You can see the contract. It’s all there in black and white and has been there since we signed the contract, which was in the summer of 2019.

Speaker 2: (22:58)
So both ES&S and Dominion lowered their prices a lot, so we did a good job protecting the taxpayers on that front. But Dominion still came out ahead. So Dominion, following our procurement law, was the one that was chosen. And if you remember at the time, there was a lot of … Some of these same people who are complaining now are complaining that, oh, if the bid is being rigged for ES&S because there are people who Kemp to do who used to do that, even though Kemp’s office had zero to do with this. None. Zero. Nada. Zilch.

Speaker 2: (23:25)
So we chose Dominion. We executed the contract, and we started doing something that nobody said we could do. We got all the equipment out from the initial order by Valentine’s Day of 2020. That was our first big lift that we did. So we got those out the door, and the Dominion system … Anything with a computer as has vulnerabilities. The ridiculous things claimed in some of these lawsuits are just that, they’re insanity. Fever dream. Made up. Internet cabal. However many words I can do to say how crazy some of these things are. Nothing was shipped in overseas. No votes were switched. We did a hand audit that proved no votes were switched. That in and of itself should have been enough to make people understand that.

Speaker 2: (24:08)
So the idea that there was a machine flipping votes didn’t happen. So once that’s out of the way, then they shift gears on some of these things to talk about the system itself. But there’s no proof of Dominion’s system having any flaws like that.

Speaker 2: (24:22)
The situation in Texas that some people have related back to this was they literally had a light they wanted to plug in to an open USB port so a voter could press a button to ask for help. And they said, “Well, that’s an open USB port. That’s a security risk.” We don’t have that issue in ours because we don’t have that. All of our stuff is sealed, and taped in, and not accessible on those fronts.

Speaker 2: (24:45)
I said the other day it’s like playing a game of whack-a-mole. Every time we knocked down one, there’s a new, crazier one. So we are, we are doing our best to be transparent and answer all these charges because there are people out there who people respect and are believing some of these things, and it’s difficult and it’s frustrating. And I’m sure you all can see that from my own tone of voice on this. But, Doug, does that kind of get you to the answer?

Doug: (25:06)
Do you have a good answer to the question?

Speaker 2: (25:09)
You said Dominion security, which I went right into.

Doug: (25:11)
[inaudible 00:25:11] You said that all computers systems have particular … They have vulnerabilities. Does it raise questions about whether state’s [inaudible 00:25:22]?

Speaker 2: (25:24)
No. You can mitigate all these things. It’s always going to be that way, because let’s say we go to the Luddite version and you do hand marked, hand paper, hand counting. We wouldn’t still be counting. It’s in the same thing. We were a nation of 300 million people. You have to have systems in place, and actually the systems are like extra guard rails and extra checks to make sure that everything is being done properly. Imagine going to your bank and saying, “I only want to do things with checks and cash now.” You couldn’t do it. We don’t live in that kind of society.

Speaker 2: (25:56)
And there’s nobody showing any actual real vulnerabilities that have ever been exploited. And I’ll quote Chris Krebs and say this is the most secure election in the history of United States. And I can guarantee you, this is the most secure election in the history of the state of Georgia.

Speaker 2: (26:08)
Are there going to be bad actors? Are there going to be mistakes? Are there going to be people who try to exploit issues sometimes? Absolutely. That’s why we investigate double voters. That’s why we investigate potentially dead voters. That’s why we investigate people trying to illegally register things, but nearly every single one of those has zero to do with a system and a hundred percent to do with individuals trying to game the system. And it always comes down to that.

Speaker 2: (26:31)
What else? Yeah.

Speaker 10: (26:33)
[inaudible 00:26:33] moved to Georgia temporarily that-

Speaker 2: (26:51)
No, we didn’t say move to Georgia, again. What I said was there are people outside of Georgia they were trying to register and/ or people who are in here who are temporary residents who they’re trying to say, “Hey, we, you can vote this way and then flip back.” And that’s where you get to the intent of you’re really trying to game the system at that point. So we’re not saying they’re trying to encourage people to vote here.

Speaker 2: (27:09)
There was a lot of Twitter activity and we’ve seen some internet other that moved to Georgia and votes. We do know that exists, too, and we’re trying to track that down as well. But these four specific ones have more to do with trying to register people illegally directly. Right.

Speaker 2: (27:24)
I didn’t. The Secretary did.

Speaker 12: (27:25)
[inaudible 00:27:25] specific allegations are?

Speaker 2: (27:29)
In that specific one, they sent voter registration forms to individuals in New York City. And obviously not living here.

Speaker 2: (27:37)
What else? Anybody? All right. Well, thanks guys. Holler at you later. Glad to be back.

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