Speed Reads

Law And Order

Georgia's GOP Gov. Kemp again rejects Trump's demand to overturn Biden's win, says it would be illegal

President Trump urged Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) twice on Saturday to call a special session of the state legislature so Republican lawmakers could name a pro-Trump slate of electors, despite Trump's loss in the state. After Kemp said no, four Georgia GOP state senators drafted a petition for an emergency special session, as Trump requested. Kemp and Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan (R) again rejected the request in a joint statement Sunday, explaining that even if they wanted to use the legislature to overturn President-elect Joe Biden's victory in the state, the law wouldn't allow it.

The initial Georgia tally and a hand recount of paper ballots confirmed that Biden won the state by about 12,000 votes, and Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (R) is expected to certify Monday that a second recount also affirmed Biden's victory. "I don't believe that there's the will in the General Assembly for a special session," Raffensperger told ABC News on Sunday. Kemp "is not going to call us into a special session," Duncan told CNN's Jake Tapper. "We're certainly not going to move the goal posts at this point in the election."

In their joint statement, Kemp and Duncan said calling a special session is "not an option that is allowed under state or federal law" — which, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution translates, is "a lengthier way of saying it was illegal." The General Assembly decided in the 1960s that Georgia would give all its electors to whoever won the popular vote in the state, though the legislature could change that method if the election was moved from the date set in federal law, the Journal-Constitution explains. Any attempt to change that process retroactively for Trump "would be unconstitutional and immediately enjoined by the courts." Kemp and Duncan explained.

Kemp does support Trump's demand for a third audit of mail-in vote signatures, but that would be pointless, the Journal-Constitution reiterates. "Signatures were verified twice before absentee ballots were accepted, and conducting another check wouldn't change the outcome of the race because the signatures cannot be traced back to ballots."