Poor Georgia. For the last two months the state has borne the brunt of the fallout of Donald Trump’s election loss. Not only does it have a Senate runoff that could flip the Senate, effectively removing the GOP from most kinds of real power. They’ve also had to endure the outgoing president’s ire — his constant baseless accusations of voter fraud, his desperate attempts to throw out a chunk of its population’s votes, his unhinged attacks on politicians and officials. The day after Trump was caught begging Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to illegally overturn the election, another official tried to make it clear as day that his claims of fraud have no basis.
You might remember him. His name is Gabriel Sterling. He’s the state’s voting system implementation manager. He’s a Republican. And he went viral in early December when he made an exasperated and righteously angry plea to the 45th president to stop fanning conspiracy theory flames, lest he get someone killed. That didn’t work. But a month later, on the eve of his state’s runoff, he was back, just as flustered, just as articulate, and ready to debunk some nonsense.
"This is all easily provably false. Yet the president persists." — Georgia elections official Gabriel Sterling is holding a press conference in which he's debunking one Trump conspiracy theory after the next pic.twitter.com/snNBlrH31C
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) January 4, 2021
Standing beside a big chart that read “Claim vs fact,” Sterling went to town. “There is no shredding of ballots going on. That’s not real. That’s not happening,” Sterling said. “No one is changing parts or pieces out of Dominion voting machines,” he said about another claim. “I don’t even know what that means. It’s not a real thing…I don’t even know how exactly to explain that.”
One of the Trump team’s claims is that thousands of ineligible voters, among them felons and underaged people, had cast ballots. There were other tall claims, of comparable or equal invalidity.
“None of that is true, not a whit,” Sterling said, clearly not having it anymore. “This is all obviously, easily, provably false. Yet the president persists and, by doing so, undermines Georgians’ faith in the election system, especially Republican Georgians in this case, which is important because we have a big election coming up tomorrow, and everybody deserves to have their vote counted if they want it to be.”
Sterling also talked about that notorious phone call, in which he demanded Raffensperger “find” enough votes to flip the state or simply tell people he’d “recalculated” the numbers. He said he “found it to be something not normal, out of place, and nobody I know who would be president would do something like that to a secretary of state.”
But more than anything Sterling wanted people to realize that the only stealing of votes is coming from the Trump team — and that his own supporters should ignore his attempts to spread doubt in an election process that has proven remarkably efficient, especially in the midst of a one-in-a-lifetime pandemic.
“There are people who fought and died and marched and prayed to get the right to vote. Throwing it away because you have some feelings that may not matter is self destructive,” Sterling said. “If you’re a Georgia voter, if you want your values reflected by your elected officials, I strongly beg and encourage you: Go vote tomorrow. Do not let anyone discourage you…Don’t let anybody steal your vote that way.”
You can watch Sterling’s full press conference above. And if you’re a registered Georgia voter, make sure you vote tomorrow, if you haven’t already.
(Via The Daily Beast)