April 11, 2021

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Trump Calls Georgia Senate Races ‘Illegal and Invalid’ – The New York Times

3 min read

ATLANTA — President Trump took to Twitter Friday evening to make the unfounded assertion that Georgia’s two Senate races are “illegal and invalid,” an argument that could complicate his efforts to convince his supporters to turn out for Republican candidates in the two runoff races that will determine which party controls the Senate.

The president is set to hold a rally in Dalton, Ga., on Monday, the day before Election Day, and Georgia Republicans are hoping he will focus his comments on how crucial it is for Republicans to vote in large numbers for Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue, the state’s two incumbent Republican senators.

But Mr. Trump has continued to make the false claim that Georgia’s election system was rigged against him in the Nov. 3 general election. Some Republican leaders are afraid that his supporters will take the president’s argument seriously, and decide that voting in a “corrupt” system is not worth their time, a development that could hand the election to the Democrats.

Some strategists and political science experts in the state have said Mr. Trump’s assault on Georgia’s voting system may be at least partly responsible for the relatively light Republican turnout in the conservative strongholds of northwest Georgia, where Dalton is, in the early voting period that ended Thursday.

More than 3 million Georgia voters participated in the early voting period, which began Dec. 14. A strong early-voting turnout in heavily Democratic areas and among African-American voters suggests that Republicans will need a strong election-day performance to retain their Senate seats.

Mr. Trump made his assertion about the Senate races in a Twitter thread in which he also made the baseless claim that “massive corruption” took place in the general election, “which gives us far more votes than is necessary to win all of the Swing States.”

The president made a specific reference to a Georgia consent decree that he said was unconstitutional. The problems with this document, he argued further, render the two Senate races and the results of his own electoral loss invalid.

Mr. Trump was almost certainly referring to a March consent decree hammered out between the Democratic Party and Republican state officials that helped establish standards for judging the validity of signatures on absentee ballots in the state.

Mr. Trump’s allies have unsuccessfully argued in failed lawsuits that the consent decree was illegal because the U.S. Constitution confers the power to regulate congressional elections to state legislatures. But the National Constitution Center, among others, notes that Supreme Court rulings allow legislatures to delegate their authority to other state officials.

Since losing the election to Joseph R. Biden Jr. in November, Mr. Trump has directed a sustained assault on Georgia’s Republican leaders — including Gov. Brian Kemp and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger — saying they have not taken seriously enough his claims of voter fraud. He has called Mr. Kemp “a fool” and called for him to resign. At a rally for Ms. Loeffler and Mr. Perdue last month in Georgia, the president spent considerable time airing his own electoral grievances, while devoting less time to supporting the two Republican candidates.

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