I’ve been waiting all day for them to announce the results of the hand recount, only to learn this afternoon that they’re not going to. There are reports that the count is finished…
🚨BREAKING: All 159 counties in Georgia have completed their hand recount–ahead of the SOS imposed schedule.
— Marc E. Elias (@marceelias) November 18, 2020
…but NPR claims that “risk-limiting audits” are still going on in a few counties in hopes of wrapping up by midnight. Results are expected by noon tomorrow.
There’s no mystery what those results will be.
The latest unofficial count puts Joe Biden 12,781 votes ahead of President Donald Trump, who gained over 1,000 votes this week that county election officials initially failed to count.
There’s no indication of broader problems beyond three counties that didn’t load all votes from memory cards and one county that didn’t rescan all ballots after an optical scanner was replaced because of a technical issue, said Gabriel Sterling, Georgia’s voting system manager.
Three of the four counties that had issues are Republican-leaning politically.
Tomorrow’s going to be an exciting episode in America’s favorite new drama, whether the president can come to grips with the fact that he lost or whether he’s going to keep making things worse for everyone out of spite and denial. It’s possible that he’ll file a new lawsuit citing some pretext or another but the hand recount makes his pet theory of a big Dominion-engineered hack all but DOA. The way the machines work, as I understand it, is that a voter enters their choices and then the machine spits out a paper ballot. That ballot is then scanned in on a separate machine. That means there’s a paper record of every single vote which the voter can check before scanning it; those paper ballots are being counted right now in the hand recount. As you’ll see in the clip below, Georgia secretary of state Brad Raffensperger says that the difference they’ve found between the machine tabulations and the paper ballots is on the order of single digits in various counties.
And there was no hacking to change any votes, according to the experts. Raffensperger had a random sample of the machines audited by cybersecurity pros and they found nothing amiss.
I assume the next iteration of the conspiracy theory will focus on Raffensperger himself and his supposed role in orchestrating The Big Fraud. Pro Publica reported this morning that the Trump campaign started leaning on him back in January to endorse the president; Raffensperger refused even though Trump was his preferred candidate because he thought, wisely, that the person overseeing the state’s vote should be formally neutral. (Ironically, if he had endorsed Trump, his insistence now that the vote shows a Biden victory would have been that much more compelling.) “They thought Georgia was a layup shot Republican win,” Raffensperger told Pro Publica. “It is not the job of the secretary of state’s office to deliver a win — it is the sole responsibility of the Georgia Republican Party to get out the vote and get its voters to the polls.” He’s probably right: What the campaign probably wanted from his endorsement wasn’t the persuasive effect on voters of having Raffensperger’s support, as that would mean little, but a signal of loyalty that would indicate Raffensperger might intervene illicitly to “deliver a win” if that was required. Going all the way back to his famous dinner with James Comey, Trump’s interest in “loyalty” from public officials has always seemed focused on how far they might be willing to go to serve his personal interests. Raffensperger was unwilling, which is why he and his wife are now getting death threats.
He also has a warning for Trump and the Georgia GOP about another disaster that’s looming:
Raffensperger warned Republicans that Democrats are already flooding their base with information on how to request absentee ballots in preparation for a special election in which the mail vote will play a critical role.
“The Republican Party needs to get at it and make sure they do the same thing,” Raffensperger said. “You have to fight fire with fire. That’s a lawful process and we need to really get at it and get our ground game going.”
Yesterday he noted that more than 24,000 Republicans voted by mail in the primary this year and then didn’t show for the general election. That was the difference between victory and defeat for Trump in Georgia. We’re left to wonder if the reason they didn’t vote absentee in the general is because the president’s relentless messaging about the inherent corruption of mail ballots discouraged them from doing so. Republicans at the state level did their best to counterprogram Trump on that, but oh well. Maybe he’ll finally endorse the idea in time for the runoffs.
As for stopping Biden, there’s always Pennsylvania. But that effort seems to be slowing down too, with Team Trump admitting today that there’s no evidence of fraud in Bucks County, where they’re trying to get thousands of ballots thrown out. Some desperate Trump fans have taken to accusing Biden of having used the mob to rig the vote for him in Pennsylvania. Andy McCarthy, who wrote a piece for NRO shortly before the election endorsing Trump, looked at the state of legal play in PA tonight and concluded that “Realistically speaking, the legal battle over the 2020 election is over.” We’ll find out tomorrow after Georgia announces its results whether the president intends to keep contesting the result through non-legal means and how many congressional Republicans are willing to condone that.
In lieu of an exit question, read this piece about a “dead” voter in Georgia trumpeted by Tucker Carlson who turned out to be very much alive. A woman by the same name who was born in the same month and year did pass away last year but that’s not the one who voted. The one who did vote voted for Biden, it turns out. Exit quotation: “The guy lost the election. He should be worried more about taking care of people, with this Covid-19 going on. He’s got a pandemic. Come on. Biden won. Let’s move on. Let’s help him transition.”
“We have not seen any widespread voter fraud,” Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger says as the state is set to announce the results of the election audit tomorrow. https://t.co/VUxiWtHYMy pic.twitter.com/P12K2VlDtN
— The Lead CNN (@TheLeadCNN) November 18, 2020