Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp on Monday joined the tide of Republicans and elections officials who pushed back on Donald Trump's unsubstantiated claims that a "rigged election" would help Hillary Clinton win in November.
Kemp said Georgia's "battle-tested voting equipment and the election officials who manage the system have earned voters' confidence" with more than 45 million votes cast and tabulated.
"As Georgia's chief elections official," he added, "I have worked tirelessly to ensure Georgians have safe, accessible, and fair elections in our state."
Trailing in the polls and abandoned by dozens of Republican leaders, Trump has sowed doubts about the integrity of America's vote. He has for months claimed that media bias is influencing the vote for Clinton, but this week he said the vote is also being manipulated.
“The election is absolutely being rigged by the dishonest and distorted media pushing Crooked Hillary — but also at many polling places — SAD,” Trump wrote on Twitter on Sunday.
The claims seem to have opened a new rift between Trump and his running mate, Mike Pence, who earlier Sunday said on NBC's “Meet the Press” that he and Trump “will absolutely accept the result of the election" and that he expects a peaceful transition of power.
A cadre of GOP leaders in Georgia and elsewhere have warned that Trump could do lasting damage to the electoral process by claiming the election is fraudulent if he doesn't win.
U.S. Rep. Doug Collins, a Gainesville Republican and a top Georgia Trump supporter, earlier said the GOP nominee should steer clear of questioning the foundation of the nation's democratic values.
“When Trump says it’s fixed or rigged, my hope is that it’s taken in the vein that the media is against me – not that the voting process is,” Collins said, adding: "We can argue the edges, but let’s not cut into the exoskeleton.”
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