If Lindsey Graham thought that whole thing about him allegedly pressuring election officials into throwing out legally cast ballots was gonna go away anytime soon, he can think again, because more people are coming out of the woodwork to corroborate the story.
Quick recap: The Washington Post reported this week that Graham had pressured Georgia’s secretary of state Brad Raffensperger into finding a sneaky way to have legally cast mail-in ballots thrown out in certain (read: Democratic-leaning) counties.
“Senator Graham implied for us to audit the envelopes and then throw out the ballots for counties who have the highest frequency error of signatures,” Raffensperge alleged.
But it’s wasn’t just in Georgia where Graham supposedly did this. The New York Times reported that he also hassled election officials in Nevada and Arizona.
Graham has called the allegations “ridiculous” and insisted he was merely trying to “protect the integrity of mail-in voting,” which is an issue he’s never expressed any concern about in previous elections.
But now, a witness has come forward to corroborate Raffensperge’s claims, saying that, no, actually, Graham really was trying to undermine democracy.
Gabriel Sterling is an election implementation manager who works with Raffensberger. He tells CNN that he was on the conference call where Graham asked about how ballots might be thrown out.
“What I heard was basically discussions about absentee ballots,” Sterling confirms. “If there was a percentage of signatures that weren’t really, truly matching, is there some point we could get to, we could say, somebody went to a courtroom could say well, let’s throw (out) all these ballots.”
He adds, “There is no physical ability for this office to do anything along those lines. If somebody wanted to go that route, they could go the court route.”
Sterling stops just short of saying he thinks Graham acted illegally, though he does say the antigay senator from South Carolina “might have gone a little to the edge of” what is acceptable.
“The president is going to continue to fight, his supporters continue to fight,” he continues. “Our job is to continue to follow the law, and we were answering process questions… that’s what we were doing on the call.”
Three lawyers are now asking the U.S. Senate Ethics Committee to investigate the call and whether Graham may have committed any ethics violations.
“If these allegations are true, Sen. Graham’s conduct constitutes an abuse of office and conduct unbecoming of a senator,” the complaint reads. “For the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee to suggest to a state Secretary of State that he refrain from counting lawful votes threatens the electoral process and damages representative democracy.”
Why do we have a feeling more shoes are about to drop?