The Republican National Committee filed a lawsuit Tuesday to ensure Georgia election law is “properly followed” ahead of the Jan. 5 Senate runoff elections, demanding access for GOP poll watchers and more restrictions around the use of ballot drop boxes.
The RNC lawsuit, first obtained by Fox News, seeks enforcement of “two vital facets of the Georgia Election Code governing the rights of duly appointed poll watchers and statutory safeguards attending the use of ballot ‘drop boxes’ as a method of absentee voting.”
The RNC argued that during the Nov. 3 general election and the subsequent recounts in Georgia, “the legal right of political party committees to appoint poll watchers to observe the process was abridged in numerous polling and tabulation locations” across the state.
“Upon information and belief, the same or substantially similar unlawful practices will resume in connection with the imminent January 5, 2021 runoff election,” the RNC’s lawsuit claims, adding that Georgia election officials are “statutorily required to ensure that county and municipal superintendents and registrars are properly and lawfully instructed on the rights of poll watchers and do not implement policies or procedures that impair their ability to fully and meaningfully observe the election process.”
Additionally, the RNC’s suit demands that Georgia clarify rules made by the Georgia State Election Board to ensure drop boxes are properly secured and surveilled, arguing that laws pertaining to those drop boxes were not properly followed during the general election last month.
The RNC claimed that, in April, Georgia’s State Election Board promoted the “Drop Box Rule,” which authorizes the county registrars to “establish one or more drop box locations as a means for absentee by mail electors to deliver their ballots to the county registrars.”
“The Drop Box Rule further mandates continuous video recording surveillance of every drop box location,” the suit states.
The RNC argued that they are “entitled to access or view video surveillance of drop box locations in real time, or as near real time as practicable.”
The suit also demands that the Georgia Secretary of State’s Office prepare and distribute materials and guidance instructing the continuous video surveillance of all drop box locations.
“While we continue to fight multiple cases of election irregularities from the general election, we also must fight to ensure they never happen again,” RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel told Fox News. “Election laws need to be properly followed so Americans can have confidence in the results.”
McDaniel told Fox News that the RNC’s lawsuit in Georgia “seeks to force Georgia election officials to simply follow the laws on their books as they pertain to poll watchers and drop boxes.”
“We will never stop fighting to ensure free and fair elections in our country,” McDaniel added.
“We must restore confidence in the integrity of our elections,” Georgia Republican Party Chairman David Shafer told Fox News. “The time for begging elections officials to do their job and obey the law is over.”
An RNC official told Fox News that the party has spent tens of millions of dollars over the last two years funding legal efforts in multiple states, and are continuing “the fight for election integrity across the country.”
“Democrat lawyers and rogue election officials have made an unprecedented power grab by trying to change election laws and we will continue fighting these challenges in court as long as is necessary to help ensure free and fair elections in our country,” the RNC official told Fox News.
The RNC’s lawsuit comes ahead of the Jan. 5 Senate runoffs in Georgia. The RNC has sent more than 500 staffers and thousands of volunteers to Georgia for the holidays, and has committed to spending at least $20 million in the Peach State in support of GOP Sens. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler ahead of Jan. 5.
The current balance of power for the next Senate coming out of this month’s elections is 50 Republicans and 48 Democrats. That means Democrats must win both of Georgia’s runoff elections to make it a 50-50 Senate. If that occurs, Vice President-elect Kamala Harris would be the tie-breaking vote, giving her party a razor-thin majority in the chamber.
In Georgia, where state law dictates a runoff if no candidate reaches 50% of the vote, GOP Sen. David Perdue narrowly missed avoiding a runoff, winning 49.75% of the vote. Democratic challenger Jon Ossoff trails by roughly 87,000 votes.
In the other race, appointed Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler captured nearly 26% of the vote in a whopping 20-candidate special election to fill the final two years of the term of former GOP Sen. Johnny Isakson. The Democratic candidate in the runoff, Rev. Raphael Warnock, won nearly 33% of the vote in the first round.
Meanwhile, Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger recertified his state’s presidential election results on Monday, following a second recount that once again upheld President-elect Joe Biden‘s victory in the state.
Raffensperger, a Republican and a supporter of President Trump, also pushed back against a barrage of criticism from the president, telling reporters that “disinformation regarding election administration should be condemned and rejected. Integrity matters. Truth matters.”
Georgia has counted the presidential vote three times – the initial count from the Nov. 3 election, an ensuing full election recount and audit mandated by Raffensperger, and a machine recount requested by the Trump campaign. All three showed Biden topping Trump by roughly 12,000 votes out of nearly 5 million cast in the state. Biden became the first Democrat to carry Georgia in a presidential election in more than a quarter of a century.
“Today is an important day for election integrity in Georgia and across the country,” the secretary of state said in a statement. “Georgians can now move forward knowing that their votes, and only their legal votes, were counted accurately, fairly, and reliably.”
Earlier in the day at a news conference at the Georgia Capitol, Raffensperger noted that “it’s been 34 days since the election on Nov. 3….we have now counted legally cast ballots three times and the results remain unchanged.”