Take it quickly
Conspiracy theorists falsely claimed that a video of an election worker during a Georgia machine count revealed fraud in the 2020 election. All it showed was an election worker who, according to election officials, was doing a routine part of the process.
A two and a half minute video showing an election worker performing a normal part of the recount process in Gwinnett County, Georgia, has been converted into false fraud allegations.
This is just the latest example of a deluge of falsehoods aimed at undermining the results of the 2020 elections.
“It has all gone too far. All of this, ”said Gabriel Sterling, who oversees Georgia’s electoral system, at a December 1 press conference calling on President Donald Trump and other elected officials to condemn violent rhetoric against election workers. “A 20 year old technician in Gwinnett County has death threats today and a noose brought out today that he should be hung for treason. … It has to stop, “said Sterling.
Sterling was referring to a Dominion Voting Systems employee featured in the viral video.
The video appears to have been recorded by an observer of the recount and it was circulated by conspiracy theorists falsely claiming that it was fraudulent.
It was shared on November 30th by Ron Watkins, who leaked Dominion-related election fraud claims to his 328,000 Twitter followers. Watkins is the son of Jim Watkins, owner of 8kun, the website that gave birth to the QAnon conspiracy theory, which Trump sees as a crusader against an elite group of pedophiles. Some of Watkins’ electoral fraud claims were recently included in an affidavit for a lawsuit filed by Lin Wood, an Atlanta area attorney who also promoted QAnon’s rhetoric.
When Watkins shared the video, he added: “Look at a Dominion representative at Gwinnett County Election Central who is responsible for tabulating ballots and certifying results. Download data from the Election Management Server to a USB stick, connect it to a laptop and edit the data, then handle the USB stick. “
Right-wing website Gateway Pundit posted Watkins’ thread on the matter like it was news.
But the video doesn’t show that.
First, the person in the video was not responsible for confirming the election results. “Certification can only be done by the electoral board,” said Joe Sorenson, spokesman for Gwinnett County, in a telephone interview. The Dominion contractor was there to help with the tabulation.
As shown by the video he is doing, the worker was doing a routine check of the number of ballots counted, Sterling, the manager for the implementation of the voting system in Georgia, explained in a telephone interview with FactCheck.org. He used a USB drive to transfer a report of a recently counted ballot to a computer equipped with a program to read it.
“This is only part of the recount process,” Sterling said, estimating the procedure shown in the video may be done every hour or two.
We don’t know exactly when the video was taken or by whom, but it appears to have been during the state’s last recount. The cordoned off area of the room where the picture was taken was open to the public, Sorenson said.
The earliest version of the video we could find was on the QAnon-themed YouTube channel, which Watkins quoted on Nov. 30th Recount requested from the Trump campaign started about a week earlier November 24th. It was supposed to end on December 2nd.
This recount was the second review of Georgia’s election results. The first review was a full handcount of paper votes conducted under a new state law and completed on November 19th. The audit confirmed the victory of President-elect Joe Biden and Georgia Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger. certified the results of the state election.
After the results were certified, the Trump campaign was able to request the machine to be recounted.
Raffensperger said at a press conference on December 2 that he did not expect any significant changes to the closing balance after the recount.
Even after the audit, there were no significant changes.
In Gwinnett County, where the video was taped, Biden won 58% of the vote. That percentage has not changed after the audit, although Trump received an additional 285 votes out of a total of 415,507 ballots cast.
Also, Sterling noted that the video appears to have been recorded during the vote recount, not the original table. So if a worker had manipulated the number of votes at this point, there would have been a discrepancy in the numbers.
The suggestion that the video shows fraud favoring Biden is wrong.
Editor’s note: FactCheck.org is one of several organizations work with facebook Debunk misinformation shared on social media. You can find our previous stories here.
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“Viral voting misinformation.” FactCheck.org. Updated November 25, 2020.
Georgia Public Broadcasting (@gpbnews). “‘It has all gone too far,’ said Georgian election official @GabrielSterling as he dealt with threats against election workers.” Twitter. 1st December 2020.
Sterling, Gabriel. Implementation manager for voting systems for Georgia. Telephone interview with FactCheck.org. 1st December 2020.
Secretary of State of Georgia. Count the results by state. Accessed December 1, 2020.
Sorenson, Joe. Speaker, Gwinnett County, Georgia. Telephone interview with FactCheck.org. December 2, 2020.