Georgia election official: 'It is your obligation to turn out to vote'

Georgia Election Implementation Manager Gabriel Sterling, during a press conference Monday, encouraged all Georgians to vote in the January 5 runoff while at the same time blasting those who continue to question the integrity of state's election process with unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud.

The press conference comes two days after a divisive call between President Donald Trump and Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, in which the president could be heard pressuring the state official to "find" enough votes to overturn Joe Biden’s win in Georgia.

FOX 5 received a full copy of that phone call on Sunday.

According to the latest figures, more than 3.3 million people have already cast their ballots in the twin Senate runoffs. That breaks the old record set in 2004 that saw 2.1 million votes cast and was far beyond the 1.5 million votes cast in 2018. More than 962,000 absentee ballots have been received and the state is waiting on another 281,000 that were requested. Another 2.7 million voted in-person.

Tuesday, Georgia will open 2,648 polling locations, which is just slightly less than the General Election due to a shortage of poll workers in some counties. Sterling said state officials have worked closely with county officials, local law enforcement, and even utility companies to ensure everything will run smoothly.

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Sterling said his office has seen a disproportionate early voting response, so far, in districts known to be heavily Republican and have been loyal voters in the past. He attributes the low early voting turnout to misinformation being spread, specifically naming the president and his supporters as the source of much of the misinformation.

"It is your obligation to turn out to vote tomorrow if you’re Democrat or Republican," Sterling said. "Please turn out and vote tomorrow."

"If you believe, in your heart of hearts, that there was [voter fraud], the best thing for you to do is to turn out and make it harder for them to steal," Sterling said. "There are people who fought and died, and marched and prayed and voted to get the right to vote. Throwing it away because you have a feeling that it would not matter is self-destructive ultimately and a self-fulfilling prophecy in the end."

Sterling spent about 20-minutes breaking down almost every allegation of voter fraud that has been levied against the secretary of state’s office and Georgia elections officials.

"There are people in positions of authority and respect who said their votes don't count and it's not true," Sterling said. "And I'm going to do it again, I'm going to go through all this anti-disinformation Monday. It's whack-a-mole again, it's Groundhog Day again, I'm gonna get to talk about things again I have been talking about repeatedly for two months."

Sterling started with State Farm Arena.

"We have multiple scan ballots, we have Ruby Freeman, we have the leak, that’s the water main break," he said listing all the accusations of voter fraud at the facility Fulton County elections officials used during the General Election.

Sterling said he has gone over frame-by-frame debunking each claim using the arena’s own security cameras. The secretary of state’s office has posted all of those videos on its new Fact Check page to ensure there is complete transparency, he said.

Elections officials have gone so far as to put all the hand re-tally sheets on that same webpage as proof ballots were not scanned multiple times. Sterling added that the hand recount audit shows the Dominion voting machines did not double vote or add fractional votes.

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As Sterling continued to name each allegation, he debunked each and ticked it off the list. From underage voting to voters who may have submitted an absentee ballot and died before the election to voters using post office boxes as their home address.

"I think we’re all really clear on the number now, that it was 11,779," Sterling said about the margin of votes Biden won the state by. "We’ve seen nothing in our investigations, any of these data claims that show nearly enough ballots to change the outcome."

Sterling also said the Georgia Bureau of Investigation’s audit of Cobb County absentee signature audit turned up only two anomalies.

"This is all easily, provably false. Yet, the president persists. And by doing so undermines Georgians faith in the election system," Sterling said.

He also addressed accusations raised during a State Senate hearing last week, which claimed that elections equipment can easily be hacked.

"Ballot marking device and scanners, neither one has modems. It is very hard to hack things without modems. There’s nothing to talk to, so let’s get that clear," Sterling said.

Sterling also added that state election officials were not asked to any of the state hearings.

The secretary of state’s office has been debunking each claim as they come up on their elections page.

"Here’s the takeaway from all this, this office has been open and transparent. We are continuing investigations," Sterling said. "If you’re a Georgia voter, if you want your values to be reflected by your elected officials, I strongly beg and encourage you to go vote tomorrow. Do not let anyone discourage you. Do not self-suppress your own vote. Do not make a self-fulfilling prophecy out of this."

Polls in Georgia open at 7 a.m. on Tuesday and will remain open through 7 p.m.

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