The Jolt: Michigan GOP report debunks election fraud claims, even in Georgia

News and analysis from the politics team at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger surely wishes that Georgia Republican senators said there was no systemic election fraud, as GOP state senators in Michigan did in a new report released.

The news from Michigan comes as a judge ponders whether to dismiss a Fulton County case requesting a review of 147,000 absentee ballots, the AJC’s Mark Niesse reports.

An analysis produced by Michigan Republican senators concluded Wednesday that voters should be confident in the results of the presidential election, which Democrat Joe Biden won over Republican Donald Trump by 155,000 votes. Biden’s margin of victory was narrower in Georgia, less 12,000 votes.

“I have never doubted that competent, experienced and objective analysis would find what I have said from the beginning that the election was fair and accurate,” Raffensperger said Wednesday. “A similar examination here in Georgia will find that is true as it was in Michigan.”

Instead, some legislators in the Georgia Senate’s Republican majority have said they doubted the integrity of the election, and Raffensperger has become a frequent target of Trump loyalists.

The Michigan report even debunks some of the false claims about Georgia’s election. Leaders there called state officials here to determine whether Dominion Voting Systems equipment could be hacked to change vote totals, a claim made by Jovan Pulitzer, an inventor and treasure hunter who became one of the main proponents of “the big lie.” Pulitzer is one of the consultants tapped by Garland Favorito to check in the pending Fulton County case.

From the New York Times:

Claims that Dominion Voting Systems machines in Michigan and other states had been hacked to change results were false, the report said. The committee’s chairman, State Senator Ed McBroom, a Republican, called Georgia officials to investigate claims made by Jovan Pulitzer, who said he had access to manipulate vote counts. Mr. Pulitzer’s testimony “has been demonstrated to be untrue and a complete fabrication,” the report said. “He did not, at any time, have access to data or votes, let alone have the ability to manipulate the counts directly or by the introduction of malicious software to the tabulators. Nor could he spot fraudulent ballots from non-fraudulent ones.”


A lesson that many of his political foes learned the hard way: Don’t count Sonny Perdue out yet.

The former governor was dealt a blow on Wednesday when the Board of Regents appointed Teresa MacCartney, a well-respected financial whiz, as acting chancellor of the higher education system.

Perdue and his allies hoped by now he would be the shoo-in successor to Steve Wrigley, who is retiring in a week. And he still might be — just a bit later than they expected.

Despite the infighting among the 19-member board over Perdue’s push to lead the state’s public colleges and universities, the former governor’s allies hope MacCartney’s appointment allows for a reset in the fraught selection process.

Some Perdue proponents say he could be up for a vote by the end of the summer. Others suspect it might take longer to wrap up the interview and application process. One Regent said it could even drag until January.

But the bottom line is this: Perdue’s quest for the chancellor is still very much alive, if delayed. And beyond his vast network, he’s still got powerful allies, including Gov. Brian Kemp’s inner circle, pushing his candidacy.

One element Perdue’s opponents have in their favor: Time. The longer the process drags on, the more the timetable nudges toward 2022, when you can be sure Democrats will use the specter of Perdue at the helm of Georgia’s most prestigious universities to energize their supporters in an election year.


Today’s print version of the AJC includes a deeper look at the ramifications of a federal judge’s ruling earlier this month putting a temporary hold on the debt relief program for farmers of color championed by U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock.

Tammy Harris, an advocate for farmers who also operates an agritourism business in Heard County, said the $4 billion loan forgiveness program was supposed to address long-standing complaints by farmers of color about unequal access to U.S. Department of Agriculture programs.

Instead, a lawsuit filed by white farmers claiming the program itself was discriminatory led a judge to issue a temporary restraining order before a single dime had been distributed.


Anna Morgan-Lloyd of Indiana became the first person to be sentenced in the Jan. 6 investigation.

Our colleague Chris Joyner recognized a Georgia reference during the hearing when U.S. District Court Judge Royce C. Lamberth said he was troubled by statements from congressmen describing the riot as looking like a tourist visit.

“I don’t know what planet they were on but there were millions in this country who saw what happened on Jan. 6,” he said. “The attempt of some congressmen to rewrite history and say these were just tourists walking through the Capitol was utter nonsense.”

Lamberth said the court will release video soon that shows how violent the breach of the Capitol was.

The judge didn’t mention Georgia U.S. Rep. Andrew Clyde. The Republican lawmaker from Athens was criticized for comments during a committee meeting where he said footage of people in the Capitol Rotunda during the riot showed them operating “in an orderly fashion staying between the stanchions and ropes taking videos and pictures. You know, if you didn’t know the TV footage was a video from Jan. 6, you’d actually think it was a normal tourist visit.”


The Biden White House announced a five-point plan for addressing the surging crime in cities like Atlanta, — along with new funding for affected cities and states. More from the AJC’s Henri Hollis:

The Biden administration’s five-part strategy will use funds from the American Rescue Plan, the $1.9 trillion economic stimulus package passed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, to help local governments curb gun violence.

The strategy also carves out a specific role for Atlanta, one of 14 jurisdictions that will work together to increase investment in community violence intervention, and commit a portion of their rescue funds to that end.


U.S. Rep. Drew Ferguson, R-West Point, teamed up with Democratic U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell of Alabama this week to introduce legislation designed to help rural hospitals keep their doors open.

The Save Rural Hospitals Act of 2021 would create a national minimum Medicare reimbursement rate for rural hospitals, which typically have disproportionately lower rates than urban hospitals.

Rural hospital closures accelerated during the COVID-19 pandemic, when sparsely populated areas of the state and country needed them most.

Ferguson said that Georgia has one of the lowest reimbursement rates nationwide. “By raising the Medicare reimbursement levels for rural hospitals, we will be strengthening health care for our rural and underserved communities,” he said.

Georgia’s U.S. Sen. Rev. Raphael Warnock, a Democrat, has introduced companion legislation in the Senate with Texas Republican Sen. John Cornyn and others.


While Herschel Walker was busy tweeting about his new Georgia license plate, Latham Saddler picked up an endorsement this week in the GOP contest to challenge U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock.

Jolt readers, and likely many Georgia voters, will recognize the name of Hunter Hill, the former state Senator who ran for governor in 2018.

Hill focused much of his messaging in that campaign around his military service as a former Army Ranger.

In his endorsement, Hill said the U.S. Senate needs more military veterans like Saddler, who served for eight years as a Navy SEAL before joining the staff at the National Security Council.


Speaking of endorsements, state Sen. Bruce Thompson released a list of more than 50 from around the state that he’s collected in his bid for state Labor Commissioner.

Among the dozens of elected Republicans on the list are fellow state senators Brandon Beach, Bill Cowsert, Clint Dixon, Steve Gooch, Blake Tillery, Lindsey Tippins, and Senate president pro tem (and Lt. Gov. candidate) Butch Miller.

The GOP bold-faced names are especially important given Thompson’s race against incumbent Republican Labor Commissioner Mark Butler, who has been roundly criticized for still-delayed unemployment benefits coming out of his department during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Along with fitness buff Thompson, Democratic state Rep. William Boddie and state Sen. Lester Jackson, also a Democrat, are also in the race to replace Butler as Labor Commish.


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