Fact check: Georgia military, overseas ballots not evidence of fraud

the claim: military and overseas absentee ballots in georgia indicate voter fraud

joe biden has been president for more than four months, but claims questioning the legitimacy of his election are still widespread online.

one such recent claim centers on georgia, where biden beat the incumbent donald trump by more than 12,000 votes in the 2020 presidential election. in a may 25 article, the gateway expert claimed to have evidence of fraud.

“in georgia…a sample of military ballots was recently reviewed and all were in favor of joe biden,” the conservative website wrote in the article, which has more than 2,600 shares on facebook. “there’s no way they were legit.”

The gateway expert cited an episode of the “war room” show by steve bannon, the former trump white house chief strategist. During the show, conservative radio host John Fredericks discussed a recent effort to review copies of absentee ballots in Fulton County, Georgia.

“out of a batch of 950 military mail-in ballots, joe biden got 950 votes, trump got zero,” he said. “That’s 100%. It’s practically impossible for that to happen.”

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It happened, and it is not evidence of fraud.

The figure of 950 votes comes from the first-hand count of the results of the Georgian presidential election. it is not proof of fraud; three audits of the state’s election results found no indication of widespread fraud.

And it’s consistent with poll workers sorting ballots as they count them, which we know was done in a Georgia recount.

“our law enforcement officers and the secretary of state’s office spent literally thousands of hours sifting through ballots in fulton county and other counties trying to track down these types of claims, and so far we haven’t seen anything that gives you any merit”. Gabriel Sterling, Republican Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer of the Georgia Secretary of State’s Office, in an interview with CNN.

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usa today has contacted the gateway expert for comment.

Officials sort ballots during an audit at the Georgia World Congress Center on Saturday, Nov. 14, 2020, in Atlanta.

No evidence of fraud

Three audits of the results of the 2020 Georgian presidential election found no evidence of wrongdoing. But another review of absentee ballots in the state’s most populous county has resurfaced debunked accusations of fraud.

on may 21, a judge in henry county, georgia, agreed to open more than 145,000 absentee ballots as part of the discovery process in a case alleging mishandled ballots in fulton county, seat of atlanta. One of the plaintiffs in the case is Favorite Garland, a co-founder of the nonprofit organization Voterga and a supporter of conspiracy theories about 9/11 and the assassination of John F. kennedy.

That review hasn’t found any evidence of fraud because it hasn’t started yet. Gateway expert and fredericks’ claim dates back to georgia’s first-hand account of the election results.

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November audit data shows a batch of absentee votes with 950 votes for biden and zero votes for trump. the dataset labels the ballots as “military,” but they also include overseas voters.

“It is one of many discrepancies likely to come up in court,” fredericks said in an email to us. today.

It may seem strange that an entire batch of absentee ballots went to Biden, but it is not an indication of fraud.

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another batch of military and overseas absentee votes in the dataset shows 130 votes for trump and zero for biden.

Georgia Public Broadcasting and other media outlets have reported that those batches may be the product of a local accountant sorting ballots by candidate. And an associated press photo from a Georgia recount shows a worker doing just that: sorting ballots into bins for Biden and Trump.

An election worker places a ballot in a counted bin during a hand recount of Presidential votes on Sunday, Nov. 15, 2020 in Marietta, Ga.

The Georgia secretary of state’s office said the November hand recount “upheld and reaffirmed the original outcome produced by the machine tally of votes cast.” Two other audits of Georgia’s presidential election results — including a Georgia Bureau of Investigation analysis of 15,000 absentee ballots in Cobb County — found no evidence of widespread fraud.

“We conducted a statewide manual recount that reaffirmed the initial count, and an automated recount at the request of the trump campaign that also reaffirmed the original count,” Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said in a statement to December press.

usa today has contacted the georgia secretary of state’s office for comment, but did not provide one on file.

our rating: false

the claim that military and overseas absentee ballots in georgia indicate voter fraud is false, according to our research. The data cited by the gateway expert and others comes from Georgia’s first-hand account of the 2020 presidential election results, which found no evidence of widespread fraud. In fact, there was a group of ballots that voted for Biden, but another group went for Trump, in line with a known Georgian process of sorting ballots during the recount. two subsequent audits also found no irregularities.

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our fact checking sources:

  • the gateway pundit, may 25, impossible: a sample of 950 military ballots was recently audited in georgia and all were in favor of joe biden. //(Archi
  • National Archives, accessed May 26, 2020 Electoral College Results
  • Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, accessed May 26, November 3, 2020: General Election</li
  • crowdtangle, Accessed May 26
  • general dispatch, May 24, ‘impossible’: analysis of 950 military mailed ballots in ga show 100% was for biden (archived)
  • georgia secretary of state brad raffensperger, accessed 26 May, 3rd attack on voter fraud claims means they’re out after firm audit found no fraud
  • atlanta journal-constitution, may 21, georgia heads for another presidential election review
  • georgia public broadcast, may 25, what’s happening with the ballots in absence from fulton county?
  • georgia secretary of state brad raffensperger, accessed 26 May , historic first paper state audit ballots confirm outcome of presidential race
  • georgia secretary of state brad raffensperger, accessed may 26, military and overseas vote
  • d ave weigel, may 25, twitter thread
  • the augusta chronicle, dec. May 30, 2020, audit of cobb county mail-in ballot signatures finds no fraud: gbi
  • associated press, May 25, It’s Not Just Arizona: Push to Review 2020 Ballot Differentials
  • cnn , may 23, georgia election official gabriel sterling says latest audit in atlanta was prompted by trump’s big lie
  • john fredericks, may 27 , email exchange with the united states today

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