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Georgia has become a focal point of the 2020 election, with questions remaining about the ultimate outcome of the presidential election, and with the fate of the Senate to be decided by the upcoming runoff elections.
On Nov. 19, Georgia concluded its hand count audit and the state certified its election results the next day. The Trump campaign has requested another recount, citing the lack of signature matching and “other vital safeguards.”
In this episode, we sit down with conservative activist Jenny Beth Martin, co-founder of the Tea Party Patriots. A Georgia native, she has been investigating allegations of election fraud in Georgia.
This is American Thought Leaders, and I’m Jan Jekielek.
Jan Jekielek: Jenny Beth Martin, great to have you back on American Thought Leaders.
Jenny Beth Martin: Thank you so much for having me.
Mr. Jekielek: Jenny Beth, you’ve been a conservative activist and organizer for a great number of years. I was reading just recently that, I think in 2010, Time Magazine identified you as one of the most influential leaders on the planet, which is quite something to say. Of course, you’re the founder of Tea Party Patriots, something that we haven’t covered on the show a lot.
Rapidly coming up is these runoff elections in Georgia where, of course, you live. A lot of chatter—I’m hearing people saying things like, “There’s no reason to vote; there’s rigging,” and all this kind of stuff. On the other hand, there are other activists that are saying, “Are you crazy? You have to vote.” What’s your perspective? Tell me what’s going on in Georgia.
Mrs. Martin: In Georgia, in order to actually be elected, you have to win your election by 50 percent plus one vote, or 50 percent plus margin of error or margin fraud, if you will. So you have to win by at least 50 percent plus one vote in Georgia. We’ve got two United States Senate races right now where neither the Republican nor the Democrat were able to reach that 50 percent plus one vote threshold. And that means that we have to have runoff elections.
We have Senator David Perdue who is up for reelection. He is completing his first term and is running for reelection for a second term, and then we have Senator Kelly Loeffler who was appointed to fill Johnny Isakson’s term. He was senator and he resigned, and so Governor Kemp in Georgia appointed Kelly Loeffler. Now, we have to actually have a real election and not just an appointment, so that election also went to runoff.
Those elections will be held, Election Day is on January 5. Early voting will start in December, but ultimately the election will be on January 5. There are a lot of people apparently online, I’m hearing from you, and I heard last night also that there’s some chatter online about people who are saying, “Don’t even vote in these races because your vote doesn’t matter and your vote doesn’t count.”
I am doing a lot of help with the election fraud issues in Georgia and I hope that we’ll be able to talk about that in a moment. I feel confident because of how hard I’ve been working as a volunteer to get to the bottom of this and how hard I know other people are working to get to the bottom of the election fraud issues, that we will have answers to the questions that we’re trying to get before the January 5 Election Day.
We have to get those answers so people have confidence that when they go to cast their vote, it’s not being canceled by an illegally cast vote in Georgia, and that is critically important, and both senate campaigns should be wanting us to to make sure all the votes that we’re counting are legally cast. But we still have time to get through those legal processes and understand what happened in November with the election, and also to do the runoff in January.
Mr. Jekielek: From a conservative activist’s perspective, how important are these Senate seats?
Mrs. Martin: These Senate seats are very, very important. Whether President Trump ultimately is the president who is inaugurated on January 20, or it winds up being Joe Biden who is the president and inaugurated on January 20, the Senate is going to be so very important. It will serve as the ability for conservatives and people who care very much about the constitution to ensure that we get the right kind of people appointed to courts in this country.
Now, if it’s President Trump, then they would be able to approve his nominations as we’ve seen happen over the last four years. If it is President Biden, eventually some of the people who he nominates probably will be confirmed, but if you’ve got Republicans in the Senate who control the majority of the Senate, you will be able to make sure he’s not appointing radical extreme leftist to the courts and instead, you get people who might be a little bit more moderate rather than the radicals that would be there if the Senate is controlled completely by Democrats.
The other thing is, if he becomes president, a Republican-controlled Senate will be the difference potentially between an increase in taxes versus not having an increase in taxes, the passage of the Green New Deal which will cost every single American household thousands of dollars, or how much our country wants to become socialist versus the constitutional republic that we currently have.
Mr. Jekielek: Jenny Beth, that’s very interesting. You mentioned this question of socialism. What are your concerns here exactly? What do you expect might happen?
Mrs. Martin: One of the things that I’m really concerned about is whether we continue to have any semblance of healthcare freedom in our country or not. If we wind up going to a Medicare for all situation, that means that we’re not actually going to have insurance that we get to choose, and we’re going to have much, much more government control when it comes to our healthcare choices.
As we watch what has happened in the last year with a pandemic in seats that are very, very Democrat-controlled versus seats that are very, very Republican-controlled, we have seen the difference in tight government control versus personal responsibility, and one that empowers the individuals to make the right decisions and trusts the individuals versus tight, tight government control.
I think that if Biden is president and the Congress is controlled by Speaker Pelosi and Democrats, and then the Senate is controlled by Senator Schumer and also the majority is controlled by Democrats, we are going to see a much more radical agenda passed through in this country, and that agenda will be one that is government control, much more focused on government control, rather than on individual freedom, and that is very, very concerning to me.
Watching some of the things that have happened in some places in this country during the pandemic, we can see the kind of problems that too much government control has. It can harm the economy, it gets the markets out of whack, it puts people out of business because they no longer are able to operate their businesses. The people wind up potentially going bankrupt because they can’t make money and provide for their own families any longer.
And I understand we are dealing with a situation with a pandemic, but that kind of control, if that becomes a norm in our country, I think that we will see a much different America than what we see right now today and what we have seen in years past, and that is very concerning to me.
Mr. Jekielek: You’ve been a volunteer in Georgia looking into these questions around election irregularities, potential fraud situations. At this moment, as we’re speaking, where are things at in your mind?
Mrs. Martin: What’s going on right now is the election was just certified by the secretary of state in Georgia on Friday. There are seat statutes that require certification and once an election is certified, the losing campaign has other options legally [that] they can take such as requesting a recount.
Now, some people are going, “Why in the world would the president potentially be requesting a recount, and he has done that in Georgia, when Georgia just finished a recount a week ago?” And the answer is that we thought we were going to have a full manual recount and audit and a recanvass of the votes before the secretary of state certified the elections.
What wound up happening is that we did have a manual recount, except that somewhere along the way, the manual recount just morphed into an audit and not an official recount, and so we have not formally had the recount in Georgia. So we are going to be having one. At least, that’s what the president’s campaign is requesting.
On top of that, our governor has requested this. I’ve been advocating for it since a couple of days after the election; others around the state have been doing the same. We need an audit of the signatures on the absentee ballot envelopes, and we need to make sure that those signatures match the absentee ballot application, and also that the absentee ballot application matches the signature on file from the voter registration signature or the motor voter when you went to get your driver’s license signature.
And right now, I think that there is reason to believe that process may not have been done properly. I’m not saying that it was necessarily a widespread conspiracy. I’m just concerned since we had so many absentee ballots with 1.3 million absentee ballots in Georgia, the timing to process all of those stayed the same, and I’m concerned that some of those just move through much, much faster than they should have without the tight inspection that we would have had in years past.
So I think it’s very important that we have an audit of all of those signatures to make sure that the ballots that are being counted were actually legally cast ballots.
Mr. Jekielek: This is actually an interesting point because this issue is a subject of much debate. I’ve had a number of prominent people on the show that have said that they support the idea of the mail-in voting because it brings out more people that normally wouldn’t vote, and they see the election participation to be very positive.
Some of them have ascribed, for example, much lower rejection rates to just simply voter education because people just didn’t know how to do it before and so forth. I think you’re smiling, you can perhaps offer the counter argument.
Mrs. Martin: I’m smiling because I think that when you’re dealing with 1.3 million absentee ballots, no matter how well-educated people are, there are going to be mistakes. And the rejection rate for the absentee ballots was much lower in this election cycle than in previous election cycles, so we had more absentee ballots and fewer rejections, and we had fewer rejections as a percent.
We’re human beings, human beings sometimes make mistakes. So I just don’t think that [with] only voter education that you can just say, “It was a lower rejection rate because people were more well-educated.” I don’t buy into that.
Also, the voter turnout itself was so high that it was the highest as a percentage of eligible voters in 120 years, and that is really unusual. It is hard to believe that the percentage of people who voted in this election was greater than the percentage of people who voted for President Obama when he was the first black man running for President of the United States.
There was so much enthusiasm for him eight years ago that people who never had voted before were going out and voting simply because they were proud of the fact that they would be able to cast a vote for the first black president in America, and I just think that the voter participation rate [this year], that alone, is really unusual. I’ve talked to some statisticians about this and they find it alarming because it is such an anomaly.
Mr. Jekielek: I suppose that a signature matching recount would actually help solve these questions.
Mr. Jekielek: We’ll actually know, right?
Mrs. Martin: Well, I think that what’s really important about doing this with the signatures is this—if you do that with the signatures, then what I suspect will happen is that we will find out that there were ballots that were approved to be processed that should not have been processed.
We won’t be able to pull those ballots back out if it’s a secret ballot in Georgia, but we will see that there were a number of them that should not have been approved. That’s what I suspect will happen.
Now, I could be wrong. We could go through the entire process, have handwriting experts, have individuals double checking the people who are looking at the signatures so you’ve got a monitor from both parties overseeing it, and at the end of that process, if it’s a transparent and open process, and it’s done properly, then I may be wrong and I may be proven wrong.
But at least at the end of that, I can say, “I was wrong, the election did not have the problems I think happened, and we need to just close the book on this.” But at least that way, one way or the other, we truly know what happened and we can close all of this speculation.
If I were Joe Biden, I would want that, because I watched what happened to President Trump for four years as the other side kept saying that he was not legitimately elected president and the problems that caused for his presidency. If I were Joe Biden, I would want to eliminate that as an argument in a debate that I would have to deal with for the next four years.
And here in Georgia, there’s a fairly simple way to take care of this and figure at least that aspect out. The ballots that were cast in the absentee manner and mailed in, were they cast legally? Go check these signatures.
Mr. Jekielek: You did a phone call with a Georgia official a while ago. I listened to it. What comes from the phone call is that the officials apparently were going to only be certifying the initial election night numbers, not the recount numbers, and that’s kind of how the call ended. What is the actual reality? I think we’re a week later now or a bit further, and will this potential subsequent recount with the signatures address all your concerns?
Mrs. Martin: No, I don’t know if it will address my concerns or not, and I’m not saying that I’m never ever going to be satisfied. I think we just have to see what happens in such a recount. Here’s the situation: We have a total set of numbers that were certified from election night.
Then we’re supposed to have a full manual recount, audit, and recanvass. The secretary of state, last Monday, told everyone to use the numbers from the certification. Unless you found extra ballots, if you found a memory card with extra ballots and count those, or if you scanned your ballots twice accidentally, remove those from your totals and recertify. But otherwise, we’re using the numbers that you already certified.
I can’t find—so far and maybe it’s out there and I’ve just missed it because I’ve been doing so much work—it’s possible that the actual numbers from the recount do exist on the secretary of state’s website. But from the calls I was making last week, and I had volunteers calling all over the state to check on this, the counties were not telling publicly the totals that they got from the recount. The only exception to that was if they actually matched perfectly.
And we have 159 counties in the state, some counties have fewer than 10,000 people who voted, some around 5000 or 6000 people. So I think they would be able to get to a point where they match up perfectly, that would not surprise me, but the larger counties were not telling. In the counties where they did not match, they were not publicly telling what the numbers were, so we don’t even know what those numbers are.
And now they’re going to go scan all these ballots again, and we’ll see if they match or not. If they match perfectly, and it’s legitimate, and they’re really counting them, and the secretary of state doesn’t come in halfway through and go, “We’re just going to take what you did before,” then if he does that, it’ll just create a whole new set of questions.
If we get through it and they match perfectly, then we have an answer and we can say , “It seems that the machines actually counted and they counted properly.” If the numbers are different, we may have another set of questions, so I don’t know. It could take us to one of three different places, but we really just have to go through that process to see where we get.
It’s possible they match and they line up perfectly, and it’s possible that they do not. And sadly right now, it’s also possible the secretary of state changes the process halfway through.
Mr. Jekielek: What are the chances in your estimation that you will get this signature match recount that you’re seeking?
Mrs. Martin: I don’t know if the secretary of state is going to do this voluntarily or not. The governor, when he appointed the electors, and he did appoint the electors based on what was certified by the secretary of state, so he appointed electors for Joe Biden.
He called for a 10 percent audit of those signatures. I think we need all of them. 10 percent is better than zero. I still think we need more than 10 percent. But I think it depends on whether the secretary of state does this voluntarily, and if he does not do this voluntarily, then I hope that we see the Trump campaign filing a suit to ask a judge to intervene.
We’ll have to wait and see what the legal team does in that case, and then of course, it will depend on a judge. But I think this is so important that in Georgia, we do not need to let this go. Of all the things that need to be done, this is one of the most important things in Georgia for the sake of the election we just had, in order for the people who live in Georgia to have confidence in the election and that their votes are not canceled by illegally cast votes.
And finally, because we do have a runoff election coming on January 5, and we owe it to both campaigns, both Democrat and Republican campaigns, to make sure that people trust that election process before Election Day.
Mr. Jekielek: Jenny Beth, I’m curious about some examples or significant evidence that you’ve uncovered of irregularities and potential fraud. You’ve said that you’re going to be publishing some of this. I think you started. Can you kind of give me a rundown on what you have found through your investigations?
Mrs. Martin: I can give a little bit of details. There is a lady who has already testified in the Lin Wood case. She ran into a batch of ballots in Fulton County, Georgia, that were “pristine ballots,” that’s the way that she described them. And the reason that was alarming to her is because when you put an absentee ballot into an envelope to mail it to the voter and then the voter puts it in an envelope to mail it back, those envelopes are going to be folded, the ballots are going to be folded. They’re not going to be just brand new fresh sheets of paper. And in the ballots that she was looking at, only votes were cast for Joe Biden, so that is concerning.
That is a set that is concerning. There are people who were working to set up the polling location, again, in Fulton County, Georgia, and they were hired as temporary workers. Those people found issues with test ballots and the ballot paper floating around on the floor as the machines were being set up, and the test ballots were not being marked as “tests” and they were not being spoiled, and she’s not sure what happened to those ballots.
They looked just like a ballot that would print out of the printer. In Georgia, after you cast your vote, it prints a ballot on a sheet of paper, and you take that paper and scan it into a machine that keeps the paper and takes totals. Those printed pieces of paper look like anything else and there was no indication that they were test ballots, so she was concerned about that.
There are other instances that I am aware of, but because I’ve been volunteering and gathering information for the legal team right now, I am not at liberty to say all of that, but I can tell you, those are a couple of instances that are out there. There are a few things I’m able to post, and I’m posting a few videos of people who’ve been willing to talk publicly about things that they saw.
One other thing that is public information right now that’s very, very concerning is, in Fulton County, Georgia, they stopped counting on election night at 10:30 p.m., and they told everyone that they were leaving and going home. They blame that on a water pipe that burst. The supposed water pipe that burst, burst at 6:04 a.m. And then at 10 p.m., they used that supposed water pipe bursting from over 12 hours earlier as the reason why they had to stop counting at 10 p.m.
You can go back and look at contemporaneous news articles in the Atlanta media to see that the election officials, when they said they were going to stop counting, they were saying that it was because of the water pipe burst earlier in the day. Later, we learned that there wasn’t a water pipe burst, maybe there was a leaky pipe. There’s some questions about that that have been reported in the news.
But they quit counting, or they said that they quit counting. All the Republican poll watchers and observers of the canvassing of the vote process left because they were told that everyone was going home, so they left without giving proper notice to the Republicans.
Sometime later, in the middle of the night, they began counting again. At around 1 a.m., they started updating totals. When they did this, there was no oversight from poll watchers on the Republican side. At that point, they may just be called canvass observers, but the point is poll watchers or observers think there was no oversight for this.
I don’t know that fraud happened during that time. It is very suspicious that they were blaming it on a … water pipe bursting from earlier in the day that turns out to just be a leaky pipe. They created an opportunity to cast doubt because they did not give the legal notice that they were supposed to, and did not make it possible for the Republicans to observe.
One reason that observation is so important is so you’ve got a transparent process and people from both sides, whether you win or lose, you can walk back out and say, “OK. I watched, I saw it, I witnessed it. I don’t like the results but I know that it was done fairly and properly, and it was all done legally.”
You cannot say that right now about Fulton County. And there are also other problems that have arisen in a few other counties. Cobb County had a lot of issues during the recount and auditing that have come to light, and there are other counties in the metro Atlanta area that have had issues.
Mr. Jekielek: Taking this potential fraud that’s being alleged with the machines, and Dominion machines aside, from what you’ve seen, do you think there’s enough potential for issues that the election in Georgia could go the other way for the president?
Mrs. Martin: I think that there are enough potential issues that yes, it could go the other way. I think that it really will depend on getting access to those signatures. I think that’s going to be one of the most important aspects of it. There are some other pieces that may come to light. Right now, I do think the most important part is going to be looking at the signatures.
And also, the other thing is, having this recount and figuring out if the numbers actually match or not, are they going to match or are we going to come out with two or three different sets of numbers in Georgia? And if it’s a different set of numbers, how do you reconcile that and … what numbers do you believe?
So those are the two issues, the counting of the votes and the legality of the votes, that I think, as an individual who’s been watching and volunteering with this, are the most important to be looking at.
I know there are issues that may or may not exist with the Dominion machines. I haven’t been talking to people all over the country or all over the world about that. I’ve just been focusing on Georgia. Now, I will say this, it’s my understanding from talking to a man who has signed a sworn affidavit about this and he was on a radio program that I was on, he mentioned that there was an update to all of the touchscreen machines where people touch to cast their vote before the ballots were printed out, that you go and scan in.
There was an update to [the machines] that apparently was not certified. And I’m not quite positive about this but that particular man who was signed a sworn affidavit said that you’re not supposed to update the machines in Georgia prior to Election Day without the updates being certified. So there may have been the potential for issues with Dominion because of that in Georgia, but that is not something that I’ve really been focused on.
Mr. Jekielek: Jenny Beth, any final thoughts before we finish up?
Mr. Jekielek: I would just say that if you’re in Georgia, it’s important that you are urging an audit of those signatures. And then if you’re outside of Georgia and you’re kind of trying to understand what in the world is going on, why are they recounting again, that’s one of the processes in our seat election law that a losing candidate really needs to go through, and I think that’s part of the reason why the Trump campaign would have been requesting a recount again. It is available in our state election code and normally, it’s a step that a candidate who may challenge an election needs to go through in Georgia.
Mr. Jekielek: Jenny Beth Martin, such a pleasure to have you on.
Mrs. Martin: Thank you so much for having me.
This interview has been edited for clarity and brevity.