As WRBL News 3 was interviewing former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger Wednesday about the Georgia elections that appear to have seen two Democrats – Rev. Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff — unseat Republican incumbents Sen. David Perdue and Sen. Kelly Loeffler, the unrest in Washington was unfolding. 

The movie star and former politician reacted to what he was seeing on the steps of our nation’s Capitol.

“I think it’s sad,” Schwarzenegger said. “I think it’s the finale of four years of craziness. For four years people all of the world where I traveled people have said to me, what’s going on in America. How can a man like this be elected? How do you explain that?” 

Schwarzenegger, a movie star, knows President Donald Trump and spoke about the president’s criticism of recent elections.

“And I have spent some time with him,” Schwarzenegger said. “And I have never seen this side of him. …. This side has never really surfaced as long as I have known him.” 

Schwarzenegger came to America in 1968 during a time of political and social unrest. He’s seen this movie before. 

“America will survive this,” he said. “America has survived dark times like this in the past.” 

A Republican, Schwarzenegger said the Georgia U.S. Senate runoffs sent a clear message to Trump and Republicans.

“The American people said to the president, ‘You are fired,'” he said. “And now the Georgian people said to the Republicans, ‘You are terminated. Hasta la vista, baby’ to the party and to the president. And they said we want to have change. What happened in the last four years, we were not happy with.” 

The Schwarzenegger Institute at the University of Southern California gave grants to elections offices throughout the country to help facilitate voting during the COVID crisis. Several Georgia counties participated, including Muscogee.

Now that the polls are closed and the vote tally is in for Georgia’s two U.S. Senate runoffs, early data shows that voting locations in counties that received extra funding had higher turnout than others. according to the institute.

Funding delivered to areas such as Muscogee and Randolph Counties from non-profit USC Schwarzenegger Institute for State and Global Policy showed higher voter turnout, according to data from Christian Grose, the institute’s academic director.

Early data from Grose shows that there were 1.5 more early voting locations in the January runoff compared to other, unfunded, counties in Georgia.

For example, in Muscogee County, Nancy Boren was able to keep early voting locations open that she had initially opened in November, according to Grose.

Grose’s early data says that 79 early voting or dropbox locations opened for the runoff in Georgia counties that received funding from Schwarzenegger. The funding in November helped local election administrators stretch budgets to handle the runoff, making voter access more available.

“Once a voter turns out to vote, they don’t stop voting.  Randolph County, GA – a Schwarzenegger funded county – had about 97% turnout in the January runoff, measured as the percent who also voted in November,” Grose told News 3.

This means that from the November election to the January runoff, almost every voter in Randolph County voted in both elections.