Watch Evening News weeknights at 6:30 p.m. ET.
Charges of election fraud, illegal voting procedures and constitutionally unequal protection of ballots are dominating the post-certification battle for Georgia's 16 electoral votes.
Former federal prosecutor Sidney Powell filed a 104-page lawsuit in Georgia Wednesday night that insiders say will change the course of the state's election.
During an interview with Fox Business Network anchor Lou Dobbs, Powell said, "There is no way there is anything but widespread election fraud."
For more than three weeks, Biden's razor-thin lead has kept the presidential race in Georgia embroiled in a range of confrontations:
Precisely a week after the election, the Trump Campaign and the Georgia GOP jointly signed a letter to Raffensperger requesting a recount. The letter asked for more than a recount; it made a number of other recommendations to strengthen trust in the process. The most important was the request that the recount include a rematch of signatures on absentee ballots. Without that step, the co-signers argued, the recount would be moot. The recount would only draw from the same pool that included illegal ballots.
Raffensperger already was mandated by state law to conduct an audit of at least one election on the ballot. In light of GOP pressure, he chose the presidential race for a recount. He ordered that the recount be conducted by hand, but he refused to attempt verifcation that voter signatures matched those on ballots cast.
After Stacey Abrams lost the state's gubernatorial race in November 2018, she at first refused to concede, and only begrudgingly accepted defeat, saying Gov. Brian Kemp — who was then Georgia's secretary of state and in charge of the state's elections — had suppressed the vote.
That became the flag she carried and around which Georgia Democrats rallied. In November 2019, Democrats sued Georgia's new secretary of state, Raffensperger, over a variety of issues related to absentee voting.
In March 2020, at the height of the China virus pandemic, Raffensperger entered into a compromise agreement that altered absentee ballot procedures passed into law by Georgia's Legislature.
During the November 2020 election, there were a record number of absentee ballots. The Trump campaign alleges that signatures on those ballots were not always properly matched with those of registered voters.
Raffensperger's hand recount uncovered problems in four counties — Floyd, Fayette, Walton and Douglas — where in two of the cases, election officials had forgotten to upload ballots from memory cards, so they were not included in the totals. In Floyd County, a stack of 2,500 ballots simply had not been scanned in. An election official in Fayette County was fired over one such election error that had occurred on his watch.
There were questions about whether recount numbers or election-night numbers would be used to certify election results. In a phone call with an election official, Jenny Beth Martin, co-founder of the Tea Party Patriots, learned that election-night numbers — not recount numbers — would be used for election certification.
On Nov. 20, Raffensperger held a press conference saying, "Numbers don't lie." He further revealed he would be certifying that Biden won Georgia's presidential election by a little more than 12,000 votes. At noon that day he did in fact certify the results but less than an hour later rescinded the certification. Ultimately, the result was certified around 5 p.m. that evening.
Governor Kemp certified the result the following day.
In Georgia, if the margin of victory in an election is less than 0.5%, the losing party is allowed to request a recount. Biden's margin of victory was 0.2%, so Trump is exercising his option for a recount, which began yesterday.
The state of Georgia will pay for the recount, but it will only involve re-scanning the paper ballots.
Again, the Trump campaign asked that the recount include a process for matching signatures on absentee ballots. Kemp also asked Raffensperger to revisit the absentee ballots. He suggested that Raffensperger at least include matching signatures on a sample of absentee ballots.
Raffensperger continues to refuse.
Super attorney Lin Wood, who is based in Atlanta and has been involved in a number of high-profile legal cases, filed a federal lawsuit Nov. 16 positing two lines of attack. He first alleges that the compromise agreement between Raffensperger and Georgia Democrats is illegal.
His suit alleges, "Because the Constitution reserves for state legislatures the power to set the time, place and manner of holding federal elections, state executive officers have no authority to unilaterally exercise that power, much less flout existing legislation, nor to ignore existing legislation."
Second, and also related to the ill-conceived compromise agreement, the identification requirements for in-person voting are different from the identification requirements for absentee voting. Some legal experts hold this violates the Constitution's Equal Protection Clause.
Jordan Sekulow — with the American Center for Law and Justice — along with Powell is promising a lawsuit related to the Georgia election. Sekulow said his lawsuit would focus on one Georgia county, probably Fulton.
Powell's legal assault may be broader. She claims widespread fraud.
It is possible one or both of these lawsuits will involve the alleged "burst pipe" at State Farm Arena on election morning that somehow caused a halt in ballot counting at 10:30 p.m. that night.
Officials are claiming that a "burst pipe" at the giant arena required that ballot counting be halted for four hours. It is now clear the so-called plumbing emergency was just a leaky toilet. Investigators will be looking into what happened during those four hours when Trump was in the lead.