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Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani was in Georgia on Thursday to make claims of widespread voter fraud at one of two Senate committee hearings held on election security.
Giuliani and his team presented experts and witnesses who testified about vulnerabilities in the voting system and cases where someone reported having seen voting impropriety, much of the testimony based on debunked conspiracy theories or unverifiable hearsay.
Giuliani urged legislators in the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee not to certify the election results and said that Georgia’s senators could use their constitutional power to appoint Georgia’s electors.
“You are the final arbiter of who the electors should be and whether the process is fair or not,” Giuliani said. “The other way to look at it is, it’s your responsibility if a false and fraudulent count is submitted to the United States government. And it’s clear the count you have right now is false.”
Many of the claims made Thursday have been disproven or shot down in the courts of other battleground states, and some of the testimony was not even specific to Georgia.
In an earlier hearing before the Government Oversight Committee, representatives for the secretary of state’s office defended the state’s election system and fielded questions from mostly Republican lawmakers on the process.
“If your constituent says something, please pass it on. Because a rumor doesn’t help,” said Ryan Germany, general counsel for the secretary of state.
Giuliani renewed a call from President Donald Trump and his supporters for a signature audit of all absentee ballots, claiming without proof that tens of thousands of ballots were mailed in illegally.
He also cast further doubt on the security of the Dominion voting system used for the first time in Georgia this election cycle.
“The problems with the Dominion machines – and also just a piece of advice – you have a big election coming up. I think you would be very ill-advised to use this company or their machines,” Giuliani said. “When you test their record of the last 10 to 12 years, you will find they’re one of the more insecure companies in this business.”
Similar claims were made at a pro-Trump rally Wednesday. This sort of rhetoric from high-profile Republicans has led some GOP voters to say they have been discouraged from voting in January’s U.S. Senate runoffs.
As legislators asked questions that have been posed to them by constituents, many of which they themselves described as “rumors,” the secretary of state’s lawyer explained that their office can only investigate specific claims.
“So we open our investigations off of specific allegations of fraud or irregularity … And we want to make sure when we’re opening them that we’re doing it off of allegations that are actually investigatable and not feelings of ‘I don’t like the result of this election,’” Germany said.
State Sen. Steve Gooch, R-District 51, spoke on behalf of Republicans and his constituents in North Georgia, who he says are “common, everyday citizens of Georgia” – bus drivers, schoolteachers and construction workers.
“We have totally lost confidence in our election system this year,” Gooch said. “This issue is not going to go away unless we make some changes.”