Today’s Hearings on Elections: Common Cause Georgia Responds

Statement by Aunna Dennis, Executive Director of Common Cause Georgia

More than a thousand Georgians have died of COVID since November 3rd. But rather than focusing on the crisis, our state Senate spent today rehashing the November election.

In Georgia, our elections are run by members of our communities. Poll workers and adjudicators are our neighbors, people we know from the ballpark, and acquaintances we meet at the grocery store. For the November 3rd election, tens of thousands of Georgians from across the political spectrum stepped up to ensure that we the People could exercise our right to choose our elected officials.

Then, after the election results were in, thousands more Georgians counted almost 5 million ballots again by hand. The result was the same: Georgia’s voters chose Joe Biden as the next President.

At the losing candidate’s request, county elections offices have been recounting those ballots a third time. There’s no reason to expect that the result will change.

But today, a special subcommittee of our Senate Judiciary Committee invited Trump lawyers to a special hearing. No surprise to anyone who’s been paying attention: those lawyers want our legislature to overturn the results of the November 3rd election and decide the election themselves.

Yes, they want our legislators to overturn the decision of the voters. Our legislators, who we voted into office, and who are supposed to represent us.

Legislative leaders in other states have flatly refused to do this.

In Pennsylvania, the Republican majority leaders of the House and Senate preempted this idea in an op-ed they wrote in October. “This election cycle is the most politically charged in our lifetime, so we understand that misrepresentations and attention-grabbing social media posts will be part of the rhetoric. We need to rise above that and not fall victim to outside influences that are trying to stir emotion. So, to set the record — once again — without question: The only and exclusive way that presidential electors can be chosen in Pennsylvania is by the popular vote. The legislature has no hand in this process whatsoever.”

In Michigan, the Republican Senate Majority Leader and House Speaker have repeatedly refused to entertain this idea – as recently as yesterday.

In Arizona, lawyers for the Legislature ruled last month that the state can’t change the method of choosing presidential electors for this election. Arizona adopted a “faithless elector” law in 2017, requiring the state’s electors to cast their votes for the presidential candidate who wins the most votes in the state.

But here in the Peach State, our state senators just spent the entire day listening to a parade of witnesses urging them to throw out the votes of almost five million Georgians – and the hard work of tens of thousands of county elections workers.

Meanwhile, people are getting sick with COVID.  Our small businesses are struggling. Hundreds of thousands of unemployed Georgians face the end of their CARES Act benefits at the end of the month.

We’ve counted the ballots three times, and the result is still the same. Our elections are not a circus. Today’s dog and pony show wasn’t about election security or public policy – but just the continuation of an effort to keep emotions stirred while Trump’s political committees keep raking in money

It’s time to stop rehashing the election, accept the results, and start moving forward.