Claim: Military and foreign postal ballot papers in Georgia indicate election fraud

Joe Biden has been president for more than four months, but claims questioning the legitimacy of his election are still rife online.

One of these recent claims centers on Georgia, where Biden defeated incumbent Donald Trump by more than 12,000 votes in the 2020 presidential election. In a May 25 article, the Gateway Pundit claimed it had evidence of fraud.

“In Georgia … a sample of military votes was recently checked and it all went to Joe Biden,” the conservative website wrote in the article, which featured more than 2,600 shares on Facebook. “In no way were these legitimate.”

The Gateway Pundit quoted an episode of the show “War Room” directed by Steve Bannon, the former chief strategist of the Trump White House. During the show, Conservative radio host John Fredericks spoke about recent efforts to check copies of postal ballot papers in Fulton County, Georgia.

“From a series of 950 postal ballot papers, Joe Biden received 950 votes, Trump: zero,” he said. “That’s 100%. It’s practically impossible.”

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It happened – and it is not evidence of fraud.

The number of 950 votes is the result of a first-hand recount of the results of the presidential elections in Georgia. It is not evidence of fraud; Three reviews of the state election results found no evidence of widespread fraud.

And it’s consistent with poll workers sorting the ballots by their count, which we know it was done in a Georgia recount.

“Our law enforcement officers and secretaries of state have spent literally thousands of hours examining ballots in Fulton County and beyond looking for these kinds of allegations, and so far we have seen nothing worthwhile,” said Gabriel Sterling. The Republican chief operating officer and chief financial officer of the Georgian Foreign Minister said in an interview with CNN.

USA TODAY has asked the Gateway Pundit for a comment.

No evidence of fraud

Three reviews of the results of the Georgian presidential election 2020 did not reveal any indications of wrongdoing. But further review of postal voting in the state’s most populous county has re-exposed unmasked fraud allegations.

On May 21, a Henry County, Georgia judge agreed to unseal more than 145,000 postal ballots as part of the discovery process in a case alleging that Fulton County, home of Atlanta, mishandled the ballot papers. One of the plaintiffs in the case is Garland Favorito, co-founder of the nonprofit VoterGA and proponent of conspiracy theories about September 11th and the assassination of John F. Kennedy.

This review found no evidence of fraud as it has not started yet. Gateway Pundit and Fredericks’ claim stems from Georgia’s firsthand report on the election results.

Fact check:The census data is not evidence of fraud in the 2020 elections

Data from the November audit shows a series of postal ballot papers with 950 votes for Biden and zero votes for Trump. The record marks the ballot papers as “military,” but they also include overseas voters.

“It is one of many disagreements likely to be presented in court,” Fredericks said in an email to USA TODAY.

It may seem strange that a slew of postal ballot papers went for Biden, but it doesn’t indicate fraud.

Another set of military and overseas postal ballot papers in the dataset shows 130 votes for Trump and zero for Biden.

Georgia Public Broadcasting and other media outlets have reported that these batches may be the product of a local counter that sorts the ballots by candidate. And an Associated Press photo of a Georgia recount shows a worker doing just that – sorting ballots for Biden and Trump into trash cans.

An election worker places a ballot paper in a counted trash can during a hand count of the presidential vote on Sunday, November 15, 2020 in Marietta, Ga.

The Georgian Foreign Minister said the November handcount “confirmed and reconfirmed the original result of the machine-based vote count”. Two additional reviews of the Georgian presidential election results – including an analysis by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation of 15,000 postal ballot papers in Cobb County – found no evidence of widespread fraud.

“We conducted a nationwide hand census that confirmed the initial balance sheet and a machine count at the request of the Trump campaign which also confirmed the original balance sheet,” said Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger in a December press release.

USA TODAY contacted the Georgian Foreign Minister for comment, which was not on the file.

Our rating: wrong

Claims that military and foreign postal ballots in Georgia indicate election fraud is FALSE based on our research. The data cited by Gateway Pundit and others come from Georgia’s first-hand report on the 2020 presidential election results, which found no evidence of widespread fraud. There was indeed one group of ballot papers that all went for Biden, but another group all went for Trump, in line with a well-known Georgian process of sorting ballots during the recount. Two subsequent audits also did not reveal any misconduct.

Our sources for verifying facts:

  • The Gateway Pundit, May 25, IMPOSSIBLE: A sample of 950 military votes was recently audited in Georgia and they all went for Joe Biden. // (archi
  • National Archives, accessed May 26, 2020 Electoral College Results
  • Georgian Foreign Minister Brad Raffensperger, accessed May 26, November 3, 2020: General Elections
  • CrowdTangle, accessed May 26
  • General Dispatch, May 24th, ‘Impossible’: Analysis of 950 GA Mail-In Ballots Reveals 100% Goed to Biden (archived)
  • Georgian Foreign Minister Brad Raffensperger, accessed May 26
  • Atlanta Journal Constitution, May 21, Georgia, pending another presidential review
  • Georgia Public Broadcasting, May 25th, What happened to the Fulton County postal ballot papers?
  • Georgian Foreign Secretary Brad Raffensperger, accessed May 26, HISTORICAL FIRST STATE EXAMINATION OF PAPER BALLOTS, SUPPORTS PRESIDENTIAL RACE RESULTS
  • Georgian Foreign Minister Brad Raffensperger accessed military and overseas votes on May 26th
  • Dave Weigel, May 25, Twitter thread
  • December 30, 2020 Augusta Chronicle, Mail-in Ballot Signature Verification For Cobb County Finds No Fraud: GBI
  • Associated Press, May 25, It’s Not Just Arizona: Push to Review for 2020 Ballot Spreads
  • CNN, May 23, Georgia election official Gabriel Sterling says recent Atlanta exam was due to Trump’s big lie
  • John Fredericks, May 27, email exchanged with USA TODAY

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