Graham says he also spoke to officials in Arizona, Nevada about election

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Sen. Lindsey Graham said Tuesday that he had spoken to officials in Arizona and Nevada about his concerns over mail-in voting in the 2020 election, a day after Georgia’s chief election official accused him of suggesting that some legally mailed ballots be discarded.

“Yeah, I talked to Arizona, I talked to Nevada,” Graham (R-S.C.) told reporters in the Capitol, adding that he was speaking with the officials in his capacity “as a United States senator who’s worried about the integrity of the election process.”

Pressed later on whether he had spoken specifically with the secretaries of state in Arizona and Nevada, Graham a top congressional ally of President Donald Trump said he “talked to [Arizona] Gov. [Doug] Ducey, and I can’t remember who I talked to in Nevada. But what I’m trying to find out is how do you verify mail-in ballots.”

The initial remarks from Graham, the chairman of the powerful Senate Judiciary Committee, provoked some confusion after Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs tweeted that she and the senator had not spoken.

Nevada Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske released a similar statement saying she had not spoken to Graham “or any other members of Congress regarding the 2020 general election in Nevada or my role in the post-election certification process.”

Graham’s comments also came as Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, a Republican, repeated his allegations that the senator had pressured him to toss out legal ballots when they spoke last Friday. Graham has denied that charge, saying he and Raffensperger had a “very pleasant” conversation about the state’s signature verification process.

“I really just got off the call and I said I would circle back, and I’d talk to counsel, and I’d get back to him,” Raffensperger said Tuesday on “CBS This Morning,” describing his phone call with Graham. “And we just decided the best action was not to get back and re-engage.”

Raffensperger said he thought Graham was calling to discuss the state’s two Senate runoff elections in January — which will decide control of the chamber — but “when it went down this other path, I think the best thing was to just disengage and move forward.”

Graham and most Republican lawmakers have joined with the White House in refusing to acknowledge Joe Biden as president-elect, while Trump’s campaign continues to mount legal challenges to the election results in several swing states.

Arizona, Georgia and Nevada were all 2020 battlegrounds that were called in Biden’s favor, though Georgia is undertaking a hand recount of its ballots from the presidential election.

Burgess Everett contributed to this report.

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