Two attorneys politically aligned with President Donald Trump have urged voters in Georgia not to take part in that state’s two Senate runoff races next month, citing the president’s error-filled claims of fraud as reasons for why residents shouldn’t participate.
Attorneys Lin Wood and Sidney Powell spoke during a “Stop the Steal” event in Alpharetta, Georgia, claiming that the outcomes of the January 5 runoff elections couldn’t be trusted.
Two Republican incumbent senators, Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue, are facing off in tight races against Democratic challengers Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff, respectively. Control of the United States Senate is on the line: If the latter two candidates can win both races, the legislative body will be controlled by Democrats, clearing a huge hurdle for President-elect Joe Biden to push his agenda through Congress once he assumes office.
But while the GOP is trying to get a large enough turnout to win at least one of the two senatorial races, Wood and Powell may be counteracting that goal, urging voters instead to boycott the races until the Georgia state government makes immediate changes to election conduct.
“Do not be fooled twice. This is Georgia. We ain’t dumb. We’re not going to vote on Jan. 5 on another machine made by China,” Wood said during the press conference, referring to Dominion Voting Systems machines that Trump and others have wrongly suggested were tampered with in last month’s races. “You’re not going to fool Georgians again.”
Wood put the onus on the Republican candidates themselves to demand change if they want support in their elections. “If Kelly Loeffler wants your vote, if David Perdue wants your vote, they’ve got to earn it,” Wood added.
“There should not be a runoff, certainly not on Dominion machines,” Powell said during the same press conference. “I think I would encourage all Georgians to make it known that you will not vote at all until your vote is secure. And I mean that, regardless of party. We can’t live in a free republic unless we know our votes are legal and secure.”
Beyond the unnecessary call for changes to voting software based on unsubstantiated claims of fraud, the two attorneys also demanded that Georgia implement voter identification laws and have paper ballots be used in next month’s special elections — two practices that the state already employs.
While the ardent Trump supporters are urging voters to stay home unless these changes are made, the president himself is planning to campaign in Georgia over the weekend to promote Loeffler and Perdue. Trump has not endorsed Wood’s and Powell’s calls for boycott.
While Trump will undoubtedly energize the Republican base — and possibly undo the potential damage from Wood and Powell’s effort to dampen the GOP’s “get out the vote” efforts — he is also an equally polarizing figure, and may inspire Democratic-leaning voters to see the election as a referendum on his policies. Trump lost in Georgia by a mere 12,670 votes to Biden, becoming the first Republican to not win the state since 1992.
Polling on the two races shows an incredibly tight matchup. One poll conducted by Fox 5 Atlanta in the middle of November found Warnock leading Loeffler by 49 percent to 48 percent, with 3 percent undecided. The other race saw similar numbers, with Ossoff and Perdue tied at 49 percent, with 2 percent undecided.
A more recent SurveyUSA poll conducted in the last four days of November found a slightly higher advantage for Democrats, with Warnock leading Loffler by 7 points and Ossoff ahead of Perdue by 2 points.
The same SurveyUSA poll found that only 16 percent of Republicans in Georgia felt that the election would be accurately counted.