ATLANTA — Governor Brian Kemp has felt the wrath of President Donald Trump on Twitter with Georgia’s election in the national spotlight, but he’s pledging to stick to state law and uphold the election results handed to him by the Secretary of State.
[SPECIAL SECTION: Election 2020]
Kemp delivered remarks from his office in the State Capitol on Friday evening, but spoke exclusively with Channel 2 anchor Justin Farmer right before he addressed the state.
“I’m as frustrated as he is with how this process has played out with ballots showing up that were missed in the first count, but I have a duty under the constitution as governor, just like the Secretary of State does, and that’s what I’ve been following,” Kemp told Farmer.
“It is important for Georgians to know that the vast majority of local election workers did their job well under unprecedented circumstances, and I thank them for their service. However, it’s quite honestly hard to believe that during the audit, thousands of uncounted ballots were found weeks after a razor-thin outcome in a presidential election,” Kemp said in an afternoon address.
President Trump tweeted on Friday, “The Governor of Georgia and Secretary of State, refuse to let us look at signatures which would expose hundreds of thousands of illegal ballots and give the Republican Party and me, David Perdue and perhaps Kelly Loeffler a BIG VICTORY.”
He replied to his own tweet, “Why won’t they do it, and why are they so fast to certify a meaningless tally.”
Signatures on absentee ballots in Georgia have already been checked against state records at least twice at this point, once to obtain the absentee ballot and then a second time matching the signatures on the envelope of that ballot. There’s no indication that any are fraudulent or that the results of the election should be changed.
Kemp says certifying elections is not his job, its Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger. His job is only to formalize the certified election results which he told Farmer he will do.
Kemp also said its not up to him to allow the President’s campaign to look at the signatures.
“I understand the campaign’s desire to do that, but that would be something the Secretary of State would have to approve.”
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“Are you comfortable Joe Biden took Georgia?” Farmer asked.
“Secretary of State’s the one that handles that, he’s the one that handles the certification, I’ve been in that situation before,” responded Kemp who held the position in 2018 when he ran for governor.
A hand recount audit of the presidential race found uncovered votes that were not counted the first time. Those votes are now in the final certified count.
“No election’s ever been perfect. This one certainly wasn’t either,” Kemp said.
The governor now wants to see state lawmakers make changes to the election process, including tightening security around absentee voting.
“I think something as simple as sending a copy of your photo ID with that, even if you black out except the last four digits of your driver’s license number, whatever security precautions we can take. Those are the kinds of things we should be talking about. Everybody wants the election to be secure and have integrity.”
Kemp said that the runoff election in January is a good time to restore faith in the voting system.
“In the runoff election, we cannot have lost memory cards or stacks of uncounted ballots. We must have full transparency in all monitoring and counting. Every legal vote must be counted, and the security of the ballot box must be protected.”