5 Georgia election fraud claims explained

Suspicions of voting fraud are unproven

Allegations of election fraud in Georgia remain unsubstantiated after multiple vote counts, legislative hearings and court cases.

Still, many of President Donald Trump’s supporters say they’re suspicious of how the election was run in Georgia.

Here’s a look at some of the criticisms of Georgia’s presidential election:

Ballot suitcases

Claim: Trump’s personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, is promoting a video that allegedly shows Fulton County election workers pulled suitcases of ballots from beneath a table after Republican Party poll watchers were told to leave.

Explanation: Election workers had put uncounted absentee ballots in ballot containers when they thought they were going home for the night around 10 p.m. on Nov. 3, said Gabriel Sterling, the state’s voting system manager.

Then a Fulton County elections official told poll watchers and media that ballot counting was done for the night after a long day of work. No one was forced to leave, said Richard Barron, the county’s elections director.

Ballot counting resumed soon afterward when the secretary of state’s office asked Fulton to keep working, Sterling said. Video shows the elections manager taking a phone call and informing staff that their work wasn’t done. Though poll watchers were gone, the process was recorded, and a monitor from the secretary of state’s office arrived about an hour later.

Election workers unpacked absentee ballots from their containers, which were ballot storage containers, not “suitcases.” Then they resumed counting until about 1 a.m.

The chief investigator for the secretary of state’s office told Channel 2 Action News she saw no evidence of wrongdoing.

Signature verification

Claim: Voter signatures on absentee ballots weren’t adequately checked to prevent fraud.

Explanation: Election workers verify signatures on absentee ballot envelopes and absentee ballot applications by comparing them to the signatures that voters used when they registered.

Those original signatures are stored in county election computers, either from when they signed up to vote at driver’s license offices or from paper registration forms. Absentee ballot applications requested through the state’s website were verified with driver’s license numbers instead of signatures.

Elections officials rejected absentee ballots because of signature issues at similar rates as in the 2018 election, about 0.15%, according to state data. Overall absentee rejection rates declined after the Georgia General Assembly passed a bill last year that simplified absentee ballot envelopes and gave voters until the Friday after the election to verify their identities. But rejection rates based on signature issues remained the same.

Illegitimate voters

Claim: Tens of thousands of out-of-state residents and felons likely voted in Georgia’s general election, according to an analysis by Matt Braynard, a former data expert for the Trump campaign.

Explanation: Voter registration and property tax records indicate that many of the people Braynard suspected of casting illegal votes are either legitimate Georgia voters or didn’t vote in November. Braynard has acknowledged that he didn’t verify that any of the thousands of voters he listed were illegitimate.

Braynard conducted his analysis by cross-referencing Georgia voter registration and absentee ballot lists with change of address records, national voter databases and addresses associated with Post Office boxes.

But information for many of these voters was easily authenticated.

State Rep. Bee Nguyen, a Democrat from Atlanta, told Braynard during a hearing that she checked property tax records and visited constituents on his list to confirm they weren’t out-of-state voters. She also found that voters who lived in apartment buildings with mail centers on the ground floor had been accused of using post office boxes for their addresses.

Some names were listed multiple times; others were matched with people living in different states who have similar names but different birth dates, she said.

A records search by Georgia Public Broadcasting also found the names of registered and active voters included on Braynard’s lists.

Vote flipping

Claim: Voting machines “switched” votes from Trump to Biden in Ware County, an allegation made by U.S. Rep. Jody Hice, a Republican from Georgia.

Explanation: Trump gained 37 votes during a hand recount and audit, but that doesn’t mean any votes were flipped. The change in votes shows a 0.26% difference from the initial count, which is well within the normal variation expected from a recount, according to the secretary of state’s office.

“No one has unearthed evidence of ‘vote flipping’ because it didn’t happen. And no one has discovered some secret algorithm for altering the election outcome because that’s nonsense,” said Walter Jones, a spokesman for the secretary of state’s office.

Ware County Election Supervisor Carlos Nelson called the conspiracy theory “a darned lie” in an interview with Politico.

Statewide, a hand recount arrived at similar results as machine counts. Biden defeated Trump by 12,284 votes in the hand recount and 11,779 votes in the machine recount.

Dead voters

Claim: The Trump campaign said the identities of four deceased people were used to vote in Georgia.

Explanation: Three of those people were confirmed not to have voted, and the fourth is under investigation.

In one case, James Blalock had died in 2006, but his widow, Mrs. James Blalock, is still alive and voted in this year’s election, according to 11Alive news in Atlanta.

“He’s not voting. He didn’t vote,” Agnes Blalock told 11Alive. “It was me.”

Newton County election officials confirmed that Blalock uses her married name, Mrs. James Blalock, in her voter registration.

In the other alleged cases of dead voters, one involved a person who died last year and didn’t vote this year, and the other conflated two voters with similar first names

Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger has said there’s no evidence of widespread fraud in Georgia’s elections.