'I'm very, very concerned that if you solicit votes from typically nonvoters, that you will affect and change the outcome.'
Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) complained Thursday that Georgia's Republican secretary of state is allowing groups to mail out reminders encouraging voters to participate in the two upcoming Senate runoff elections on Jan. 5. He charged that inviting citizens to vote by mail during the pandemic might unfairly bring out infrequent voters.
On Fox News, Paul said, "Probably most importantly, they're mailing out a solicitation —they're mailing everybody out a solicitation to vote by mail. This is not in the state law, this is something that has been created out of whole cloth by the secretary of state.
"But if they do it again," he added, "Yes — I'm very, very concerned that if you solicit votes from typically nonvoters, that you will affect and change the outcome. So I'm very worried that Democrats will control all three branches of government, and they really, truly will transform America, but not for the better."
It was unclear who Paul, who apparently thinks the three branches of the U.S. government are the executive, the House of Representatives, and the Senate, believes is mailing out applications. His office did not immediately respond to a request for comment for this story.
Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger sent out absentee ballot request forms to all active voters prior to the state's primary in May, after it was moved from March due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But for the November general election, he instead set up a website through which voters could request mail-in ballots.
For both the November election and the Jan. 5 runoffs, outside groups have been mailing registered voters to urge them to vote absentee.
Paul's comments appear to contradict his party's typical line about voter participation. While Republicans have backed numerous proposals to make it harder to vote — allegedly to stop voter fraud and noncitizen voting — they usually also say they want to allow every citizen to be able to participate.
The 2016 GOP platform, for example, states, "Honest elections are the foundation of representative government. We pledge to protect the voting rights of every citizen." The party kept that same platform in 2020.
But Paul is suggesting that legitimate citizens should not be encouraged to participate if they are not "typical" voters. This comes after a surge in Democratic voters in the historically red state of Georgia gave President-elect Joe Biden a win in the state by roughly 12,000 votes in November.
The upcoming runoffs are expected to be close. Republican incumbent Sen. David Perdue faces Democrat Jon Ossoff for a full six-year term, while incumbent Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler faces Democrat Raphael Warnock for the final two years of the term of former Sen. Johnny Isakson.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.