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Trump Supporters Seek an Audit in Georgia. What Are They Looking For?
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Trump Supporters Seek an Audit in Georgia. What Are They Looking For?

No widespread voter fraud has been uncovered in previous audits or recounts.

In the wake of the ongoing election audit in Arizona, supporters of Donald Trump have called for a similar audit in Georgia in another attempt to prove voter fraud in the 2020 presidential election. 

On May 19, Georgia state Rep. Vernon Jones, a Trump supporter, proposed an audit, because, as Jones said in a statement, “Georgians still have questions about irregularities found in the 2020 election and they deserve answers.” 

On May 21, Judge Brian Amero agreed to unseal more than 145,000 Fulton County absentee ballots, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The decision was sparked by a lawsuit filed in the Fulton County Superior Court alleging that fraudulent votes were cast in the election among other voting irregularities in the county. 

The Dispatch Fact Check has previously examined a number of voter fraud claims in Georgia, where Joe Biden won the state by 11,779 votes. Amero ordered ballots to be unsealed despite there being no evidence of widespread voter fraud. According to a court record, Amero’s order stated: “Petitioner’s motion to unseal is granted to the extent Petitioners request that they be permitted to inspect and scan the November 3, 2020, general election absentee ballots.” The court order also states that: “Petitioners shall only be permitted to inspect and scan said ballots in accordance with protocols and practice that will be set forth by further order of the Court.”

One of the plaintiffs in the case, Garland Favorito, a Fulton County resident and co-founder of Voter Organized for Trusted Elections Results in Georgia (VoterGA), has previously promoted conspiracy theories about the origins of the 9/11 attacks as well as on John F. Kennedy’s assanation, per the New York Times

In response to Amero’s decision to unseal Fulton County’s absentee ballots, Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger made the following statement:“From day one I have encouraged Georgians with concerns about the election in their counties to pursue those claims through legal avenues,” he said. “Fulton County has a long standing history of election mismanagement that has understandably weakened voters’ faith in its system. Allowing this audit provides another layer of transparency and citizen engagement.”

Then, however, a meeting on May 28 to discuss plans to review the 147,000 absentee ballots was canceled after the Fulton County Board of Registrations and Elections and the Fulton County Clerk of Superior and Magistrate Courts filed motions to dismiss the case, per Georgia Public Broadcasting. A new hearing is now scheduled for June 21 at 9 a.m. according to GPB.

In response to the motion to dismiss the case, Trump released a statement on his website on May 28, saying that “the Radical Left” are “fighting so hard that there not be a Forensic Audit” because “they know the vote was corrupt and the audit will show it.”

There has been no evidence of widespread voter fraud in Georgia. On December 7, 2020, Georgia election officials recertified election results, again showing that Biden was the winner after Trump requested a recount. During a press conference on December 7 to announce the results of the recertification, Raffensperger said there was no evidence of voter fraud: “Continuing to make debunked claims of a stolen election is hurting our state.” He added that: “I know there are people that are convinced the election was fraught with problems, but the evidence, the actual evidence, the facts tell us a different story.”

In total there have been two audits and one recount of Georgia’s election results, none of which have proved evidence of widespread voter fraud in the election.* An additional “signature match audit” of absentee ballots in Cobb County on December 14 did not find any evidence of widespread fraud. 

According to the secretary of state’s website: “The audit found ‘no fraudulent absentee ballots’ with a 99% confidence threshold. The audit found that only two ballots should have been identified by Cobb County Elections Officials for cure notification that weren’t.”

 We’ve also previously fact checked the allegation that Georgia was lax in its signature verification process of mail-in votes. As we mentioned, though: “The rejection rate for absentee ballots in the November 2020 general election over signature issues was .15 percent, on par with the rate for Georgia’s 2018 election.”

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*Correction, June 4: This piece initially included the statement that Georgia had conducted three separate audits of 2020 votes. There was one recount and two audits.

Khaya Himmelman is a fact checker for The Dispatch. She is a graduate of Columbia Journalism School and Barnard College.