Georgia Election Officials Push Back Against Trump Team’s Claims About Surveillance Video
The Battle For Georgia continues as the Trump team cites surveillance footage of alleged voter fraud but receives pushback from Election Officials and “Fact-checkers”.
Photo: Georgia’s Voting System Implementation Manager Gabriel Sterling
Photo Credit: John Bazemore / AP
The Center Square [By Nyamekye Daniel]-
Georgia election officials are pushing back against surveillance video President Donald Trump’s attorneys said shows evidence of voter fraud in Fulton County.
Trump attorneys presented the video to the state Senate Judiciary Committee and Subcommittee on Thursday. They said it shows election workers pulling suitcases of ballots from under a table after the media and other workers were told to leave.
“The Secretary of State’s Office was aware that Fulton County scanning had continued during the period captured in the video presented at the Senate hearing,” a spokesperson for the secretary of state’s office said Friday afternoon. “This office dispatched an investigator and notified the independent monitor appointed by the State Election Board who both observed scanning until it was halted for the night around midnight.”
Before the secretary of state office’s statement, Georgia Voting System Implementation Manager Gabriel Sterling tweeted early Friday morning that the video showed “normal ballot processing.”
“The 90-second video of election workers at State Farm arena, purporting to show fraud was watched in its entirety (hours) by [Georgia Secretary of State] investigators. Shows normal ballot processing,” Sterling tweeted, along with a link to a “fact check” from the website Lead Stories.
The incident in question took place during election night counting of results at State Farm Arena in Atlanta. Republican observers, who testified before the legislative panel Thursday, tipped off Trump’s campaign about the suspicious behavior. Trump’s legal team, armed with sworn witness affidavits, said it planned to file a lawsuit to block the election’s recertification.
Fulton County officials tweeted Friday they are unaware of “credible reports of voter fraud.”
Attorney Jackie Pick, acting as a volunteer for the Trump legal team, said the Trump team obtained the video footage late Wednesday night. Pick said the video showed a woman she believed to be Fulton County spokesperson Regina Waller telling everyone at 11 p.m. to leave the arena as counting was finished for the night, but some workers stayed behind.
“So, the Republican observers said they were the last people to leave State Farm Arena, along with the Fox News crew, excepting those four people,” Pick said.
“We have launched an investigation into why the monitors from the political parties left before scanning ended,” the secretary of state’s office said. “While it was their right to leave early, we want to make certain they were not misled into thinking scanning had stopped for the night when it had not.”
Pick said the remaining workers pulled boxes or suitcases of ballots from under a table and started counting them. Fulton County Election Chief Richard Barron said Friday during a special board meeting there never was an announcement for everyone to leave the arena.
“Certain staff that [was] on the cutting stations, that [was] on the flattening stations, that [was] extracting from the inner envelopes, those staff left as work completed,” Barron said. “I found out sometime. I think a little after 10:30, that they were going to cease operations. I told them not to do that.”
Barron said the workers continued scanning at 11:15 p.m. while “an external affairs representative” was there. Barron said a state observer and secretary of state investigator also arrived at the arena later and monitored the scanning.
The ballots were in bins, not suitcases or boxes, which is part of the county’s normal process, Barron said.
“Those are our bins that they keep under there, under their desks near the scanners,” he said. “Then they will cut those seals that are on those, open those up and pull the ballots out. They were still in the process of cleaning, so they hadn’t sealed those ballot boxes up. They were able to just start right back up.”
“Nothing we have learned from the independent monitor or our investigation have suggested any improper ballots were scanned,” the secretary of state’s office said.
Trump supporters continued to push the video on social media Friday.
Georgia Republican Party Chairman David Shafer compared Sterling with the gullible Cindy Lou Who from Dr. Seuss’ “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.”
“With a sweet smile, [Gabriel Sterling] has accepted Fulton County’s explanation that the Republican monitors and news media are to blame for believing the election officials who told them that they were shutting down, packed up the voting equipment and started cleaning,” Shafer tweeted.
Sterling responded by tweeting, “With sworn POST Certified law enforcement officers doing their job and actually investigating. As opposed to jumping to irresponsible conclusions of fraud…that further undermine the process. The truth and facts matter.”