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What this Georgia Republican wants to see from state’s recount

In Georgia, President-elect Biden leads President Trump by more than 14,000 votes, but the state will conduct a hand recount of nearly 5 million ballots. Trump and Georgia Republicans continue to ask for investigations into “voting irregularities,” but the Republican secretary of state has seen no evidence of widespread voter fraud. Rep. Buddy Carter, R-Ga., joins Judy Woodruff to discuss.

Read the Full Transcript

  • Judy Woodruff:

    While president-elect Biden continues to push forward with transition planning, there are several states yet to be called.

    In Georgia, Biden leads President Trump by more than 14,000 votes, and the state will conduct a hand recount of nearly five million ballots. The state's Republican congressional delegation has asked for an investigation into any claims of voter fraud.

    But the secretary of state, also a Republican, says that no such claims have been substantiated.

    Congressman Buddy Carter is a Republican from Georgia. And he joins me now.

    Congressman, thank you very much for talking with us.

    First of all, do you expect this count to go ahead tomorrow? And do you expect to — what do you expect it to show?

  • Rep. Buddy Carter, R-Ga.:

    Well, I do expect for it to go — to go forward. And it should go forward.

    And let me clarify that the congressional delegation, the House delegation, what we asked for was for the secretary of state to grant the wishes of the Donald J. Trump campaign and the Georgia Republican Party. And the secretary of state has done that. He has acknowledged that he is going to do a hand recount.

    We appreciate that. We applaud those efforts. And we think it will lead to a transparent and honest result. So, it is a good thing that we are doing this.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Do you expect it to overturn the results? And if it doesn't, are you prepared to accept the results?

  • Rep. Buddy Carter:

    Well, certainly, we're prepared to accept the results. And, certainly, that's a lot of votes to overturn. We understand that.

    But the important thing to remember here is, whether you are a Democrat or a Republican or an independent, you want honest, transparent elections. You want to make sure every vote is counted. You want to make sure that no illegal vote is counted. You want to make sure that no vote is miscounted.

    We need to have confidence in our election system. And that is what this is about.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    As you know, though, with recounts that have been done in the past, nothing like that number of votes have been changed. It has been in the hundreds.

    But what I want to ask you, Congressman, is if — you were reelected in your district, Georgia's 1st District, Savannah and along the Atlantic Coast. If there were problems statewide, do you believe there were problems in your district, with your count?

  • Rep. Buddy Carter:

    Well, possibly, there could have been.

    And, certainly, we have gotten calls in our office from constituents who are concerned that there were some discrepancies. And we have done what we are supposed to do. And that is, we have directed them to the proper place to file their concern and to enter their concerns. And we will continue to do that.

    But it is the responsibility of secretary of state to research these kind of concerns. And that's all we're doing, is asking the secretary of state to do his job.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Are you personally aware of instances where either fraud was committed or ballots were cast illegally? Do you personally know of instances that the voters should be worried about?

  • Rep. Buddy Carter:

    We have had calls in to our office expressing those concerns.

    Again, it is not our responsibility to research those concerns. It is our responsibility to direct the people where they are to go to file those concerns. And that's what we have been doing in our office.

    But, yes, there have been — I wouldn't necessarily think — I don't know that it was fraud. I hope it wasn't. But I do know that they have expressed some legitimate concerns.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    But I guess what I am asking is, is there enough malfeasance that has gone on, do you think?

    Because that is what President — President Trump is saying every day that the election was stolen from him. And he has pointed specifically to the state of Georgia.

    So, I am trying to understand, what is st that you have seen? You know the state. You have been serving in Congress. This will be your fourth term. What do you see that would back that up?

  • Rep. Buddy Carter:

    Well, again, I think that the focus here has to be on the secretary of state making sure that all of us have confidence that this was done correctly and that every legal vote was counted.

    Now, if it turns out that the secretary of state comes back and reports there was no fraud, there was no widespread problems, then, certainly, we will probably be forced to accept that.

    But it is important, again, for everyone, whether are you a Democrat, Republican, independent, that you have confidence in the system, that we have a transparent and honest system, and that, if there were problems during this election, we get them corrected, so that we don't have those problems reoccur.

    But I will tell you that there is still a ways to go. This president has every right to fight. And he is doing just that. He has every right to demand a fair and transparent and honest return on the elections. And that is what he is asking to have done right now.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    And you're not concerned that the voters from this experience will come away with less confidence in our democratic system?

  • Rep. Buddy Carter:

    Well, I think, with the recalls, I think we're correcting whatever kind of problems we may have experienced.

    Keep in mind, for a lot of these states, this was the first time they had done a number of these types of things. Here in the state of Georgia, we have never had this many absentee ballots before. In fact, we had 10 times as many as we normally have.

    So, obviously, that increases the potential for errors. And that is why we have to make sure that we got it right. That is all we're asking here, is just to make sure that it is accurate, that every legal vote was counted, and that no illegal votes were counted.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Congressman Buddy Carter of Georgia, thank you very much.

  • Rep. Buddy Carter:

    Thank you.

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