Home / World News / Opinion | Georgia’s Secretary of State on Standing Up to Trump

Opinion | Georgia’s Secretary of State on Standing Up to Trump

[MUSIC – THEME, “SWAY”]

archived recording

(SINGING) When you walk in the room, do you have sway?

[MUSIC PLAYING]

kara swisher

Brad Raffensperger is getting it from all sides.

archived recording (donald trump)

He’s an enemy of the people — the Secretary of State.

kara swisher

Georgia’s Republican Secretary of State is being thrashed by President Trump and denounced by fellow conservatives. He’s even getting death threats from the far right. So what terrible thing did Raffensperger do? He stood by the math and declared that Joe Biden, not Donald Trump, had won Georgia in the presidential election. In other words, he just did his job. Usually, he wouldn’t be celebrated for that. But in this climate, it meant the staunchly conservative Raffensperger briefly got a little bit of love from the left. But that didn’t last long.

Last week, he wrote an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal. In it, he compared Trump’s refusal to admit defeat in 2020 to how progressive superstar Stacey Abrams responded in Georgia’s 2018 gubernatorial race. Trump, he said, was using Abrams’s, quote, “playbook.” Well, Brad, that’s just wrong. So I wanted to call him out. But I also wanted to understand this guy, who still has a lot of power right now. Georgia is about to have two critical runoff races that will decide who controls the U.S. Senate, and by extension, whether Biden can actually get anything done. It’s Raffensperger’s job to ensure a free and fair election — another one. Part of your job as Secretary of State is to oversee and certify elections. And in this sort of Groundhog Day 2020 — I don’t know if it feels like that to you — you keep having to count and certify this one. Biden won the election tally, then the hand recount, and then the machine recount. So just remind us, what is the final presidential vote tally for Georgia?

brad raffensperger

Well, it shows Vice President Biden got about 12,000 votes in that range, more than President Trump. So that’s what’s been certified. And that’s now what the governor then recertified also. So we have done the process. We gave the candidates, as they are afforded in state law, every opportunity to ask for a recount. When we did the audit, we went above and beyond. We didn’t just do a 90% or a 95% risk limiting audit. We counted every single ballot by hand because people were questioning, were the machines flipping votes? And when you looked at the human readable text, we actually listed the people’s names, and then you counted that. It just really killed that whole argument and really proved how silly it was.

kara swisher

Well, it didn’t kill it, though, because President Trump held a rally in your state earlier this month, saying we won Georgia, just so you understand. Insulted you, suggesting Georgians need to make sure you know what the hell you’re doing. How do you respond to this?

brad raffensperger

Well, I really can’t respond too much because I’m outgunned. He’s got 88 million Twitter followers. And I think we have now, because of this controversy, we’re up to about 37,000 Twitter followers on our state account. But it’s just, how do you — you can’t out yell a megaphone. And so, we just respond with facts. And I understand why Republicans are disappointed. And then Republicans question my conservatism. No, I have not changed. In fact, I went to see one of my contractor friends yesterday. It was a Christian business owners group. And he says, yeah, I’m telling all my friends that yeah, you were for Donald Trump before any of us were. And so, people understand that I was actually one of his earliest supporters when he was running in 2016. But people don’t want to hear that sometimes because that doesn’t fit their narrative.

kara swisher

He asked you to be part of the campaign in January — is that correct? Would you define —

brad raffensperger

Well, but now I hold a different office. I’m Secretary of State. And we made it a policy not to endorse anyone. Obviously, yeah, I’m a Republican. I don’t vote for Democrats. I’m not trying to hurt anyone’s feelings that are on the Democrat side. But we just don’t think it’s appropriate for us to get out there and, quote, “beating the drums” for candidates. Because people want to make sure that their election officials are just doing what they need to do so that’s an honest and fair counting of the results.

kara swisher

All right, some disaffected voters believe in some wild conspiracy theories. I want to go through them so you can sort of disabuse them and I know they’ve been pushed back, but I’d like to do it once again. They’re spreading. They continue to spread. One was the dragging of suitcases. I’m just going to ask you — and I’d just like you to answer them very quickly — did election workers in Georgia stick fraudulent ballots in suitcases and drag them out in the dark of night?

brad raffensperger

No. What’s really sad is that Rudy Giuliani came before a Senate committee last week, and they cut and spliced that videotape. And the WSB came in later with our investigator. Head of investigations saw the whole tape and actually what had transpired. And so, it’s been totally debunked.

kara swisher

Debunked. The water main break.

brad raffensperger

Oh —

kara swisher

Did a water main break, leaking all over ballots and changing the tally in Fulton?

brad raffensperger

No, it was actually a toilet that hadn’t been used for a long time. But also that being investigated. But no, it didn’t change the ballots.

kara swisher

And it didn’t leak all over the ballots.

brad raffensperger

Right, correct.

kara swisher

It just was a toilet.

brad raffensperger

Right.

kara swisher

A bad toilet.

brad raffensperger

A bad toilet. It hadn’t been used for a while, and I think probably the seals or something went, just because no one’s been really using Hawks Arena.

kara swisher

You should look into that issue. I’m kidding. I’m teasing. Before the runoffs, make sure all toilets are working. All right, duplicate counting. Did election workers recount the same ballots multiple times?

brad raffensperger

None that we know of at all, so. But if there is, then we open up investigations.

kara swisher

So none so far?

brad raffensperger

None so far that we know of.

kara swisher

OK, the Pennsylvania party — did Georgia’s Democratic lawmakers head to Pennsylvania and start counting votes there?

brad raffensperger

No. We have two state senators — state senator Jen Jordan and state senator Elena Parent happened to have blonde hair. And then there was two ladies, two females, that were also counting up in Pennsylvania that had blonde hair. And someone said that was them. No, they’re totally made-up story. And then, they were getting all sorts of — our state senators were getting death threats and things like that. So, just totally spun up, that whole cloth.

kara swisher

Right. The right is screaming at you. The left is sort of celebrating you for doing your job, really. Does it even make sense to you that this is where you find yourself?

brad raffensperger

Well, I know that I’ve gotten some flack from the state party chairman of the Republican Party.

kara swisher

Yes, I read.

brad raffensperger

But what I’ve been very blunt with is, his job is to raise money and turn out the vote. And we didn’t turn out enough Republicans. But also, one of the things that he fusses at the most is our no excuse absentee ballot law. That went into place in 2005. And he was a state senator. And he voted for that. And so, it’s a bill that he supported. I wasn’t here then. I was out there working my business.

kara swisher

So now he’s decrying something he voted for.

brad raffensperger

Exactly.

kara swisher

So he was for it until he was against it.

brad raffensperger

Exactly.

kara swisher

So when you point these things out, these hypocrises, the reaction?

brad raffensperger

Well, they start squealing like a stuck pig because they don’t like being held accountable. That’s the truth. I had my voting record and everything I voted for, everything I voted against. I’ve never voted for a tax increase. And I took some heat when I didn’t vote for raising the gas tax. But we had some ideas, a conservative element. We said, well, we could do it this way. But the speaker was very generous and kind to me. He didn’t flog me. But I just didn’t vote for it.

kara swisher

I don’t think we’re flogging yet, but go ahead.

brad raffensperger

But I have a voting record that I’ll stand on. And I’ve always stood on my conservative principles. I’m pro-life. I’m pro-business. Anything I can do to help taxpayers, I’m going to look out for taxpayers. Because at the end of the day, I’m in this building right now in the capital. And there’s a taxpayer that’s paying for the electricity that I’m using and the heat that we have on today because it’s 55 degrees right now in Atlanta, Georgia.

kara swisher

Nice, nice. So speaking of squealing like stuck pigs, Republicans like Senator Lindsey Graham seem to be pressuring you, too. Can you walk us through this? You were attacked by failed Senate candidate, Doug Collins, and now the state of Texas is after you — who was also himself is under investigation, by the way. Let’s just not — it’s fair to point that out. How much worse could it have been if Georgia and not Pennsylvania had been the tipping point for 2020, if it was 5,000 votes versus 12,000?

brad raffensperger

That’s just conjecture.

kara swisher

Yeah, I’m conjecturing.

brad raffensperger

Yeah, I know. That’s good. But I don’t do probability studies. I’m an engineer. We just get out a calculator, use four decimal places, and we say those are the numbers. But it is what it is. As it relates to the Texas attorney general, as it relates to Georgia, I don’t really focus on what the other states have to say as it relates to Georgia. It seems to me that that is all hat, no cattle.

kara swisher

[CHUCKLES] What about Lindsey Graham?

brad raffensperger

Well, obviously, as you’ve watched things unfold, what they really want to do is overturn the will of the people, create doubt in the absentee ballot process, and then just throw out the elections, throw out Georgia, throw out Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, Arizona. And then, it goes to the Congress, and they would pick the next president, which hasn’t been done for 100 some odd years. It’s in the Constitution. And that would be an extraordinary avenue to go. And that’s what their plan was, obviously, as you watch events unfold across the nation.

kara swisher

Well, when you think of someone like former Trump cybersecurity official Chris Krebs, who was doing the same thing that you were doing, putting out information, he was fired by the president by tweet. He’s now suing the Trump campaign for defamation. Should you?

brad raffensperger

Well, no. I think what I found in our industry, no one ever wins in lawsuits. And they just take up a lot of time.

kara swisher

Mm-hmm. So did that alarm you when he was fired or not surprised at all?

brad raffensperger

Well, I just noticed that it happened. But I noticed that he’d really did good work. When we have our meetings with the National Association of Secretaries of State, probably a third of our conversations, maybe 40% of our conversations have been about cybersecurity. Everyone’s been worried about these foreign and domestic threat factors that could come in from anywhere. And D.H.S. and CISA have just been really a tremendous support for every secretary of state.

kara swisher

To talk about cybersecurity, this is obviously something you’ve got to be concerned about, and there are foreign interferences and attempts. But there’s also domestic attempts, and there’s always been attempts to impact elections in some nefarious way. How do you look at, as someone who’s an engineer, where we are right now with the ability to attack elections?

brad raffensperger

Well, it’s not much different than a 9/11 event. It’s a cyber versus someone blowing up buildings. But they’re out there. Those threats are there. And it’s really trying to stay on your toes. But you know that people come in and they’re actually hacking into our governments. It’s happened in Georgia. It’s happened in other states, that they find a way of getting mole and getting a way, a back door into your systems. And so, you can never let your guard down. And you always want to make sure you have robust, top notch cyber security.

kara swisher

So speaking of threats, you, your wife, and your staff received death threats in the midst of all this. Has that backed off, or is it still continuing to be an issue?

brad raffensperger

We still get some threats. We’ve also had other family members have threats and threatening behavior and things like that. So we haven’t let our guard down. There’s people out there. We still have people like to drive by the house and do selfies, so. I don’t know why —

kara swisher

Selfies in front of your house.

brad raffensperger

Yeah, I don’t know why that black Mercedes sport utility dropped by the house- – husband and wife. The guy got out and took a picture — that kind of stuff. If I find out where he lives, maybe I’ll go by his house, take a selfie there, and say, “Back at you, buddy.”

kara swisher

[CHUCKLES] No, was he threatening? He just took a selfie.

brad raffensperger

Just took a selfie, but what’s the purpose?

kara swisher

I guess you’re famous. I don’t know.

brad raffensperger

I’m not famous. I’m just an ordinary guy.

kara swisher

Yeah, right. And one of the things I will press you on, though, that Stacey Abrams — we’re going to talk about her in a second — also has been getting death threats for a long time, for many years, actually, and a lot of them from these ultra right conspiracy theorists, which have been pushed by a lot of different people in the Republican Party, these conspiracy theories around voting or whatever. Are you worried about the level of rhetoric that some of the Republican Party — I know it’s not all of it — has created and where it leads? Because this is where it leads, is these threats to your wife.

brad raffensperger

Well, maybe what we should do is call the leadership, our national leadership, together on both sides of the aisle and specifically call out Antifa and B.L.M. for any violence that they do and then also call out any person on our side, whatever groups those are, and then call them out specifically by name. And we then do that. But that really requires national leadership. And I’m not national leadership. I’m the Secretary of State here in Georgia.

kara swisher

But a lot of these conspiracy theories aren’t coming from those sides. They are coming from these ultra right groups. And it’s very clearly you’re being attacked by the ultra right.

brad raffensperger

And I’ve actually condemned it, instead of paying lip service to it. And they haven’t.

kara swisher

Why haven’t they?

brad raffensperger

I think that —

kara swisher

It’s very dangerous. It’s a very dangerous thing.

brad raffensperger

It’s dangerous, but they also see that —

kara swisher

And now you’re under siege, right? Now you’re feeling that heat.

brad raffensperger

And they see them as a large voting base, but that element over there is less than 5% of people that are on either of these two extremes. Most Republicans, if you dissect this, of what our groups are, we’ll be Christians, we’ll be business owners. We’ll have a niche, but we’re like a big tent of conservatives. And some of us are more moderate than others, but we call ourselves Republicans. On the other side, you have moderate Democrats. You have, then, very liberal. But I don’t believe that violence really has a home in either one of what I would call the 90% in the so-called middle.

kara swisher

But in this case, it is disinformation to characterize it’s B.L.M. violence. This is ultra right violence that is happening to you directly, correct? You don’t think that?

brad raffensperger

Well, it’s threats. It’s threats.

kara swisher

Yeah, threats or threats of violence. Threats of violence.

brad raffensperger

Yeah, it is.

kara swisher

You are not being threatened on the other side. Is that correct?

brad raffensperger

No, this is our side.

kara swisher

Let’s get to Stacey Abrams. So in this Wall Street Journal op-ed that just appeared, you said the only thing stolen in 2020 was Donald Trump’s theft of the Stacey Abrams playbook. And I have to tell you, I think it’s a total false equivalency. I couldn’t agree with you less.

brad raffensperger

Well —

kara swisher

And I think you get it for red meat for the base. This is what I think has happened here. So tell me, why did you even write this? Why did you want this idea out?

brad raffensperger

Because I think people need to understand, it’s not helpful when the left does it, it’s not helpful when the right does it. And that’s really to the point what Chris Krebs talked about. This was the most secure election ever. And who believes that right now, other than, perhaps, people on the left side? But the right says these elections were fraudulent because that’s what people have said. And we have to make sure that people have confidence in the results.

kara swisher

All right, so isn’t there a big difference? So Trump is making unsubstantiated claims about imaginary people stuffing ballot boxes, about suitcases, or about water mains — something you’ve discredited very clearly and very well. Meanwhile, Abrams has some real data about voter suppression in Americans. Many of the minorities are not able to vote. I’m going to quote you directly. “Establishing a playbook that President Trump is following to the letter now, Ms. Abrams refused to concede, announced that she would launch major litigation against Georgia’s election system, and began collecting hundreds of millions of dollars from donors convinced the election had been stolen from her, one that she refused to concede.” She specifically chose not to use the word concede, but she accepted the result. Even before the certification, she said in the speech that she prayed for Brian Kemp’s success. Should Trump do that and pray for Biden’s success?

brad raffensperger

It would be a spirit of conciliation if he did.

kara swisher

But she did not do these things. I know why you made the comparison.

brad raffensperger

Right.

kara swisher

But is it a similar comparison?

brad raffensperger

Similar, but different. Different race. By the end of the day, we ran our election. We believe it’s a fair election for reporting honest results, and we think they’re accurate results. And we wish that President Trump would accept that. I know it’s unfortunate for him, and it’s unfortunate for me as Republican and other Republicans. But those are the results. And I think it’s time that we move on.

kara swisher

I’m going to finish up on Stacey. I’m going to pepper you just a few more times. The litigation was not about overturning a certified result. Lawsuits were about changing policies. So I think I’m fairly characterizing that. Is that correct?

brad raffensperger

Well, when I got here as Secretary of State, I think we had about 10 ongoing lawsuits, and it ramped up to about 14. I think that was our peak. And most of those came from left wing activist groups. And many of those were groups that she was behind or had some type of other influence behind those. So she’s been very active in the lawsuit arena over the last two years.

kara swisher

Well, I don’t think she was behind them.

brad raffensperger

Oh. She has a lot of friends, and she influences an awful lot of what’s happened in Georgia.

kara swisher

OK, but —

brad raffensperger

That’s the direct connection. Obviously, this is President Trump’s campaign that’s suing us.

kara swisher

This is a very direct —

brad raffensperger

Yes.

kara swisher

— single campaign that’s doing it. I mean, you have a lot of friends, too, right? Like that do things together.

brad raffensperger

[LAUGHS] I don’t know about that.

kara swisher

You’re a powerful white guy. You’re a powerful millionaire white guy. Of course, you have a lot of friends, too. In any case, I’m going to disagree with you that this is a similar thing. One of the things she did push back on was the guy who held your job was administering his own election. Brian Kemp was the secretary of state. I know it’s technically legal, but it broke with tradition, a bipartisan tradition.

brad raffensperger

No, but we never had a secretary of state at the same time running for governor. And so, that’s really what happened at the end of the day. The other secretaries of state that have stepped out is really so that they could do fundraising. And that was at the end of the day, they needed to be able to fundraise, fundraise, fundraise, so they could run a broad campaign.

kara swisher

In 2009, just so you know, Republican Karen Handel resigned as Georgia’s Secretary of State to dedicate yourself full time for her campaign for governor. I think you probably would do the same.

brad raffensperger

Well, she made the decision that she thought was best for herself.

kara swisher

Right, right. I think it was a good one, in my opinion. I have opinions. [MUSIC PLAYING]

We’ll be back in a minute.

Early voting in Georgia’s Senate runoffs begins today. Republican David Perdue is facing off against Democrat John Ossoff. And Republican Kelly Loeffler is up against Democrat Raphael Warnock. The future of the U.S. Senate hangs in the balance. If Republicans win both, they’ll hold a 52 to 48 majority. If Democrats win both, the Senate will be split 50/50. So all eyes are on Georgia right now with the two Senate runoffs. How is the drama and conspiracy going to affect voter confidence in turnout? What is your assessment from the level you’re at?

brad raffensperger

Well, I think it’s just simple. When organizations are unified, they’ll do better than ones that have disunity. And so, it’s really important that we as Republicans get unified behind the message, behind the senators, and we get out there and vote for them. As Secretary of State, what we want to make sure is that there have been some talk about people moving into Georgia just to come in and vote for this. No, I’m sorry. If you voted last fall for some senator in another state, think you’re going to bebop into here, stay at a K.O.A. campground, vote for your side, and then bebop out, no.

kara swisher

Bebop? I love that word. I’m going to start using that.

brad raffensperger

Well, we’re going to put an end to that real quick.

kara swisher

Yeah.

brad raffensperger

So we want to make sure this is Georgians voting for our Georgia senators. I know it has national significance. So everyone, the other 49 states, they can look in, but you don’t get to vote. This is an election for Georgians to vote for the Georgia senators.

kara swisher

You only have a few weeks to cool, though. You have very little time to cool. And here you have the two senators attacking you, yourself, someone who has a lot of support, presumably, in the Republican ranks.

brad raffensperger

Well, I think that I would encourage them to really just focus on the race and really get at it and work it hard.

kara swisher

Have you called them? Talked to them?

brad raffensperger

No, I’ve heard from them, and they heard back from my wife. And I think if they want to call us, they have my number. They always have.

kara swisher

What did she say to them?

brad raffensperger

She had a private conversation.

kara swisher

Was she angry?

brad raffensperger

She had a private conversation.

kara swisher

OK, all right. So, well, you say people need to come out to vote, but according to some, including the Center for New Data — and I you’re aware of this data — there’s some continuation of a long history of Republicans in Georgia making it harder to vote. The nonprofit’s recent memo in Georgia runoff suggests 42 early voting polling locations have been marked for closure. These accounted for nearly a quarter million in-person early votes in the general election, also in areas with people of color and Democrats. There are also concerns of whether there are limitations on weekend voting. But you know, Secretary Raffensperger, many people can’t vote any time they want. What do you say to them, taking away ability to do early voting, which is critical in the pandemic?

brad raffensperger

Well, every one of those decisions, it’s county. We do, from time to time, behind the scenes, we will prod counties if they’re doing things we think, yes, you can do that, but it really is politically unwise. Why are you doing that? Because my job is to have fair and honest elections, but also, I’d love to have elections to get back to being boring again and not everything flamed up. And so, it is a county decision. It also is a runoff election. So we’re not expecting 5 million voters. Even though it will be —

kara swisher

Which was the amount in the presidential.

brad raffensperger

In the presidential race, we had 5 million. So it could be a half of that. It could be 3 million, something like that.

kara swisher

But you have the power to enforce consistency. So why aren’t you doing more? Are you afraid to do more because the heat is coming from —

brad raffensperger

No, it’s the counties make that decision, but I know that in some of the counties, they meet the election board and the county commissioners. Also, it’s a county budget issue. Some of the counties don’t have any money. Some of the other counties are— I don’t want to flush, but are more affluent.

kara swisher

But the idea of it is if this presidential election was not flawless, obviously, but a fair election is what you talked about, why not keep an ability of people to vote as much as possible?

brad raffensperger

Well, and we’ll be looking at that as we get more information on what the counties are doing.

kara swisher

Why not speak out right now and say, let’s not close locations?

brad raffensperger

Well, we’re still looking at all the locations that they do have and don’t have. And so, we haven’t heard from a few localized counties. And so, we’ll just look into that on a case by case basis.

kara swisher

All right, you spent $100 million on election equipment in 2020. But you’re continuing to enforce Georgia’s use it or lose it purge to remove inactive voters. This has been something that has been probably among the most controversial things. What else do you have planned for Georgia’s election system?

brad raffensperger

Well, when we passed House Bill 316, what that allowed us to do was join Electronic Registration Information Center. And when we joined that —

kara swisher

ERIC, right? ERIC.

brad raffensperger

That’s ERIC.

kara swisher

ERIC is a Pew-backed voter system that helps eliminate dual registration between states, so people know where people move.

brad raffensperger

Exactly. And so, when we joined ERIC, that allowed us to really objectively update our voter rolls. We already have about over 30 states, I believe, that are members. We joined, Florida joined, and Texas joined all after us. But that’s good. Alabama was already a member. So was South Carolina. We have to get Tennessee. We haven’t gotten them yet. But when people move from state to state, we’ll have those records.

kara swisher

So, is use it or lose it then subjective? Like, it’s sort of a guess. The use it or lose it, for people who don’t know, is you remove people who haven’t voted — it’s usually a seven-year period or something.

brad raffensperger

Yeah, ours was nine years.

kara swisher

Nine years. So if you don’t vote, you think they’re not there. That’s a guess.

brad raffensperger

It was a guess. And that’s why the advantage of ERIC is we’ll actually know where people live. And it really gives us that objectivity. It also does a really good job. Its data on death records is stronger than what we’ve seen from other sources. And so, it’s very objective. And so, we’re excited about having full implementation of that. And we believe that those whole questions about use it or lose it and those terms will be going away because now people have objective standards.

kara swisher

So when will it be fully implemented?

brad raffensperger

It should be fully implemented by June of 2021.

kara swisher

Right, and then to absentee voting — because this has been important during the pandemic — you’re including adding photo I.D. requirements and eliminating at will absentee options. If elections are working in Georgia and mail-in helped reduce wait time and improve turnout, why change anything at all?

brad raffensperger

When we stood up our absentee ballot portal, it took less than 30 seconds for you to do that. But we asked for three pieces of information — your name, your birth date — date, month, and year — and then your driver’s license. When you did that, it automatically connected us with photo ID and, also, your driver’s license. We could verify it was truly you requesting this ballot. And that gives the voter confidence of other voters that — person using this. And so, we have, for this cycle here of the runoff, well over a large majority of the new people requesting are actually using that system, the portal if they weren’t on the rollover list. What that really does is it has photo I.D. just like we have photo I.D. when you show up to vote in person either early or on the day of election. And so, it’s really treating the system uniform. And whenever we can have uniformity, I think that’s a good thing.

kara swisher

But you think uniform is not harder, and some people think uniform is not equal.

brad raffensperger

We want to make sure we have honest and fair elections in Georgia. And if everyone realizes that all 50 states have honest and fair elections, then America is a better place.

kara swisher

So I guess what I’m trying to ask is if this has been such a fair election, why do you need to make more election changes now that people could either disenfranchise them or perceive it? Because it’s not a particularly good look for the Republican Party to be the party of not wanting people to vote. As you said yourself, at the end of the day, the job of the state of the Republican Party is to raise money and turn out the vote, and that didn’t happen. A lot of these feel like demographic shifts and not convincing those different demographic groups to go with you.

brad raffensperger

Well, I believe that after our election reforms work their way through the General Assembly, that all sides will be heard, and you’ll see that at the end of the day, it’ll be a balanced package that people will support. And that would be my hope.

kara swisher

So a balanced package, meaning that —

brad raffensperger

That you have to hear from all corners of the Republican Party, but there’s a party in opposition here also. And they’ll have their voice and a place at the table.

kara swisher

But Republicans run Georgia. One of the things is Republicans did really well in the down ballot races. Republicans control the legislature. Is it possible to be balanced with that case and not go for the jugular in voter restriction?

brad raffensperger

I believe that what we do at the end of the day, it’ll be something that we have our ideas, they may have their ideas. But at the end of the day, you have to make sure that it fits the Georgia model.

kara swisher

This presidential election and pushing back on Trump, it is remarkable what you’ve done, and also, Gabriel Sterling, who had his speech. Did you know he was going to do that? I think you did. He wouldn’t have done it without your support, I’m guessing.

brad raffensperger

Yes, I knew he was going to do it. I’ve known Gabe for about nine years now. He’s very eloquent as a speaker. And he spoke from the heart, and he spoke truth. And I knew was going to speak truth. And he just did a tremendous job. And I came out the next day just to let people know, yep, we knew what he was going to say. I just didn’t know he was going to say it so well, and it was going to connect with so many people. I think it really connected with people on both sides of the aisle. And it’s really important that it connect with people on our side of the aisle.

kara swisher

So when you think about what’s happened between you and him and pushing back on Trump, which is a frightening thing for a lot of Republicans, I mean, I think you’ve seen throughout all these states that there’s very little of it, including in the federal system. Is this the hill you all want to die on, or is it the hill you’re going to win on? What will happen here post-election?

brad raffensperger

It’s just a hill of integrity that we’re going to fight on. And we think if we fight on that hill, that it’s a good place to fight. Because we’re really standing for the truth, and we’re standing on our integrity. And I think that’s a good place for everyone to stand.

kara swisher

Have you spoken to President Trump?

brad raffensperger

No.

kara swisher

What would you say to him if you spoke to him?

brad raffensperger

I would affirm the great things that he’s accomplished. He has to understand that he’s actually accomplished much in his four years. Look at what he did with the Supreme Court, moving the capital to Jerusalem. So he is a guy that is a person of his word, and he moved it. And then, really taking on and having those honest discussions that if you’re going to have defense here, y’all need to belly up to the bar and start throwing in some money. You’ve got plenty of money here. And so that’s a more balanced approach. And understanding that perhaps 20 years ago, of putting China in the World Trade Organization made sense, but they’ve abused the system, and it’s not helping middle America. And we need to have something that helps middle America. And so, I appreciate those kind of statements. Then if he wants to talk —

kara swisher

So you’ll be positive.

brad raffensperger

Then if he wants to talk about construction, we can talk about all the great things he’s accomplished over the years.

kara swisher

OK, I think you probably are a better builder, but that’s just my opinion. When you’re governor or perhaps running for a higher office, we can talk about those issues.

brad raffensperger

I think when we can actually engage in conversation, then we see maybe our common interest. And then, how do we — OK, I don’t agree with you on this, but let’s build on the common interest. And that’s probably a good starting point.

kara swisher

Yeah, excellent. But by the way, I voted for Ronald Reagan the first term, but not the second. Not the second. Sorry.

brad raffensperger

You don’t need to apologize.

kara swisher

Oddly enough, I voted Democrat, but I didn’t like his opponent. But I did. I did, I did, I did. I have to say, I had a poster and everything because I thought he did represent that, but didn’t like so much some of the aid stuff and things like that. But in any case, see? People can change. People can change.

brad raffensperger

Well, I’ll be working on you. [CHUCKLES]

kara swisher

All right, and it’s never going to work. [MUSIC PLAYING]

“Sway” is a production of New York Times Opinion. It’s produced by Nayeema Raza, Heba Elorbany, Matt Kwong, Christina Djossa, and Vishakha Darbha; edited by Paula Szuchman; original music by Isaac Jones; mixing by Erick Gomez; fact-checking by Kate Sinclair and Michelle Harris. Special thanks to Renan Borrelli, Liriel Higa, and Kathy Tu. If you’re in a podcast app already, you know how to subscribe to a podcast. So subscribe to this one. If you’re listening on The Times website and want to get each new episode of “Sway” delivered to you with a side order of squealing pig, download a podcast app like Stitcher or Google Podcast and search for “Sway” and hit Subscribe. You’ll get episodes every Monday and Thursday. Thanks for listening. Now me and Brad got to bebop our way out of here. [MUSIC PLAYING]

About brandsauthority

Check Also

Opinion | What Kamala Harris Means For Girls

After Joe Biden and Kamala Harris won (not on election night but a few days …

%d bloggers like this: