Washington — Gabriel Sterling, one of Georgia’s top elections officials, fiercely rebuked President Trump and Georgia’s senators Tuesday in response to threats and intimidation targeting the state’s elections workers, and he appealed to the president to accept his electoral loss in the state and “stop inspiring people to commit potential acts of violence.”
A visibly angry Sterling, the voting system implementation manager in Georgia, said in a press conference from the state capital in Atlanta that “it has all gone too far” and Mr. Trump’s rhetoric claiming the election was rigged “has to stop.”
“Mr. President, it looks like you likely lost the state of Georgia. We’re investigating, there’s always a possibility, I get it, you have the right to go through the courts,” Sterling said. “What you don’t have the ability to do — and you need to step up and say this — is stop inspiring people to commit potential acts of violence. Someone is going to get hurt. Someone is going to get shot. Someone is going to get killed. And it’s not right.”
Sterling, a Republican, said he has police protection outside his own home, while the wife of Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger has been receiving “sexualized threats” to her cell phone. But he said the main source of his anger and the last straw for him was the revelation that a young contractor with Dominion Voting Systems in Gwinnett County received death threats and was targeted with a noose.
Mr. Trump and his campaign surrogates have made Dominion, a voting software company used in 28 states, a centerpiece of their unsubstantiated election fraud claims, alleging its system deleted and switched votes intended for the president. The company, however, said it “categorically denies any claims about any vote switching or alleged software issues with our voting systems,” and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency said “there is no evidence that any voting system deleted or lost votes, changed votes, or was in any way compromised.”
The president lost the state of Georgia to President-elect Joe Biden, and its results were certified November 20 after the completion of a hand recount of the presidential election, which reaffirmed Mr. Biden’s victory.
Sterling denounced Mr. Trump and senators for failing to condemn the actions of their supporters who have made threats against elections workers, saying, “we need you to step up.”
“If you’re going to take a position of leadership, show some,” he continued.
“This has to stop,” Sterling said. “This is elections. This is the backbone of democracy, and all of you who have not said a damn word are complicit in this. It’s too much. Yes, fight for every legal vote. Go through your due process. We encourage you. Use your First Amendment, that’s fine. Death threats, physical threats, intimidation, it’s not right.”
Sterling said it’s time to “look forward,” as there is not a path to victory for Mr. Trump in the state.
“Be the bigger man here. Step in,” he said. “Tell your supporters don’t be violent. Don’t intimidate. All that’s wrong. It’s un-American.”
Sterling said every Georgian and every American should be angered by the harassment against elections workers.
In the wake of the November 3 election, Raffensperger, in particular, has been targeted by Mr. Trump and Georgia’s two Republican senators, David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler, who called on him to resign. The president last month accused Raffensperger of running an “unfair” elections process and has called on Governor Brian Kemp, also a Republican, to intervene.
Perdue and Loeffler are both competing in respective runoff elections January 5, the results of which will determine which party controls the Senate.