BLUE RIDGE, Ga – Georgia Speaker of the House David Ralston (R-Blue Ridge) advised prudence before superseding the state constitution. Mayor Giuliani presented a witness in last week’s Georgia Senate hearings who urged the General Assembly to convene under Article II of the U.S. Constitution. The move would overrule state law that a special session can only be called the governor or three-fifths majority from both legislative bodies.
Previously, Ralston and Giuliani spoke about the Article II option are looking into it. If a constitutional method surfaces, Ralston confirmed that he would be open to it.
“I’m not sure what that would look like,” Ralston stated. “We’ve got to be very, very careful because whatever we do will set a precedent. This issue of can we come into a session and disregard the fact that there’s been two or three certifications, whether we agree with them or not…that’s something I think we’ve want to tread very, very carefully around because that could be used against us someday.”
During a phone call with President Trump, Ralston relayed that the President was “upbeat” and wants a special session of the General Assembly. The Speaker warned it would be an “uphill battle.”
Governor Brian Kemp (R) released a statement on Sunday, December 6, stating that calling a special session to establish “a separate slate of presidential electors is not an option that is allowed under state or federal law.”
Also, the General Assembly doesn’t have the required three-fifths majority to convene. According to Ralston, the House is two votes short.
He added that President Donald Trump (R) could make a case that he won Georgia, and Ralston has reviewed “enough evidence to raise questions that need to be answered.” For this reason, Ralston hasn’t signed any statements supporting the outcome of the Georgia election.
“I’ve never seen in my public career the level of anger and concern that’s out there now. People are very upset, and I get that. I’m upset,” Ralston said. “I believe it’s vital he be reelected. His policies are good for this country, particularly when compared to policies of the other party.”
The Speaker admonished anyone considering not voting in the January 5 runoff, calling it “handing over the keys of the U.S. Senate to Chuck Schumer.”
On Thursday, the House of Representatives Governmental Affairs Committee will convene to discuss Georgia’s elections.
ATLANTA, Ga – Georgia Governor Brian Kemp maintained his hardline stance against calling a special session of the General Assembly.
In a joint statement, Kemp and Lt. Governor Geoff Duncan declared they would not bend to party pressures. They asserted that a special session to select presidential electors isn’t allowed under federal and state law.
Read the full statement from Kemp and Duncan:
“While we understand four members of the Georgia Senate are requesting the convening of a special session of the General Assembly, doing this in order to select a separate slate of presidential electors is not an option that is allowed under state or federal law.
“State law is clear: the legislature could only direct an alternative method for choosing presidential electors if the election was not able to be held on the date set by federal law. In the 1960s, the General Assembly decided that Georgia’s presidential electors will be determined by the winner of the state’s popular vote. Any attempt by the legislature to retroactively change that process for the November 3rd election would be unconstitutional and immediately enjoined by the courts, resulting in a long legal dispute and no short-term resolution.
“The judicial system remains the only viable – and quickest – option in disputing the results of the November 3rd election in Georgia.”
However, Kemp commended Georgia House of Representatives, Speaker David Ralston (R – Blue Ridge), and House Majority Leader Jon Burns (R-Newington) for proposing reforms to the election process. The governor’s also been a strong proponent for signature verification reforms.
I thank Leader Burns, Speaker Ralston, and members of the House for proposing necessary reforms that will help restore confidence in our elections. https://t.co/niD9UsBzSW
— Governor Brian P. Kemp (@GovKemp) December 5, 2020
In a letter to Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (R) and State Elections Board, Burns and more than 100 House members suggested improvements to the absentee ballot application and envelope signature verification process.
“Many Georgians, including my colleagues who have signed this correspondence, have serious concerns about Georgia’s elections,” said Leader Burns. “As we approach a critical election on January 5, 2021, Georgia voters must have confidence in the election process going forward. To that end, my colleagues in the House and I have submitted two common-sense suggestions to help ensure secure elections on January 5. I thank Secretary Raffensperger and the State Election Board for considering these suggestions that would rebuild some of the trust that Georgians may have lost in our election process.”
The letter called for robust verification process reforms, such as allowing independent observers to witness signature reviews. They also proposed the Secretary of State’s office partner with other state agencies.
“Multiple news outlets reported significant failures in counties across our state before, during, and after Election Day,” added Leader Burns. “These counties were rural, suburban, and metro-area and represented all demographics and areas of our state. We hope these suggestions can help Georgians rest assured that each and every legal vote is counted here in Georgia.”
Last Thursday, Trump legal team presented a witness who contended Kemp could convene a special session for this purpose. However, the move would tie the state up in legal battles. Most alleged voter fraud evidence has been rebutted by the Secretary of State’s Office. Raffensperger also opened 250 voter fraud investigations last week but claimed there’s no evidence of systemic fraud. Since Georgia effectively moved to a paper ballot system, election officials can review paper records against the Dominion system.
In a Wall Street Journal op-ed, Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger likened Trump’s tactics to Stacey Abrams (D).
He told the WSJ that the November election was “the most secure in history” and that election problems started long-before 2020. Calling out politicians and pundits who refuse to accept election results like Stacey Abrams, who “still refuses to acknowledge she lost,” Raffensperger pointed to a loss of confidence in the system.
Many Georgia GOP senators echoed a similar sentiment last Thursday during Oversight Committee and Special Judicial Subcommittee hearings. Constituents have expressed a loss of trust in the election process and an unwillingness to return to the polls.
“I’m going to try to build this statement based on a consensus of what I’m hearing from the people that I represent: We have totally lost confidence in our election system this year,” Senate Republican Whip Steve Gooch of Dahlonega said. “I’m here on behalf of those citizens. I have a duty to let you know that this issue isn’t going to go away unless we make some changes.”
Later this week, the Georgia House of Representatives will hold a Governmental Affairs Committee hearing on elections.