Trump makes misleading statement about Georgia 2020 election

The Claim: Ballots were sold for $ 10 apiece in Georgia’s 2020 election

In response to the President Joe Biden’s speech marking the January 6 riot on Capitol Hill, Donald Trump issued a series of statements containing false and misleading claims on the results of the 2020 presidential election.

The former president has repeatedly promoted baseless allegations on voting in the Battlefield State of Georgia, and in January 2021, he tried to persuade election officials there to recalculate the state’s vote in his favor. Now he claims the ballots were sold there for $ 10.

“Where did all these votes come from in Georgia, where it was just revealed that they were selling ballots for $ 10 apiece,” Trump said in a statement, which was shared on Twitter Jan.6 by his spokesperson Liz Harrington in a statement. Tweeter which has accumulated over 4,000 interactions in one day.

Similar versions of the claim made their way to Facebook, where users shared a screenshot of Trump’s Jan.6 statement shortly after its release.

Trump and his allies pushed unfounded and demystified electoral demands for over a year. However, they produced no evidence of widespread fraud. Meanwhile, dozens of lawsuits aimed at overturning the presidential election results have been dismissed by judges, and a series of recounts, audits and even partisan reviews pushed by the Tories have taken place. confirmed the legitimacy of Biden’s victory.

Trump’s reference to selling ballots for $ 10 significantly distorts a claim made by a conservative group – which has also not been verified by election officials. True the vote, a conservative organization that defines itself as a voter integrity group and has already filed election lawsuits in 2020 backing Trump, says a person she refused to publicly identify was paid $ 10 each for ballots votes he has collected from others.

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Trump referred to this claim while claiming that the 2020 election was “rigged,” but True the Vote does not claim or present any evidence that the ballots were fraudulent.

A complaint leads to an investigation

True the Vote filed a complaint with the Georgia Secretary of State’s office on November 30, and the agency is investigating a potential case of collection of ballot papers. This practice of collecting and submitting proxy ballots is legal in some states, but not in Georgia.

The group claim to have video footage of people collecting and handing out postal ballots, as well as an interview with an anonymous man who claims he was paid thousands of dollars to collect and submit ballots in the November election. 2020, according to a Jan.4 report. from Just the news, a site that has previously shared misinformation about the 2020 Georgia elections.

The Just the News article notes that True the Vote “does not allege that the ballots delivered by couriers were fraudulent,” which Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, a Republican, also reiterated.

“The harvest of ballot papers are still legal ballots, they have just been manipulated fraudulently. Many states actually allow the collection of ballots, ”Raffensperger told the National Office. “We banned it because we believe that the only person who should touch the ballot is the voter and the election worker, and there should be no one or intermediary between the two.”

Ari Schaffer, a Raffensperger spokesperson declined to comment on USA TODAY, instead referring to comments Raffensperger made to the national office.

Although the process of collecting ballots is illegal under Georgian law, 31 states allow a voter to authorize someone to return a ballot on their behalf, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Ballots collected in this manner should always have been issued after the process which includes verifying the eligibility of voters.

In Georgia, voters must register to vote and provide ID in order to obtain a postal ballot paper. A postal ballot may be returned by mail or at a drop-off point, and it must be duly signed, depending on the state site. These signatures are then verified by election officials.

True the Vote did not identify the name of the person who claims to have been paid $ 10 for each ballot it collected and delivered, and the group did not respond to a request for comment from USA TODAY. Raffensperger told the National Desk: “We’re going to have to subpoena ‘John Doe’ because that’s where the information is” and “nobody knows who that person is.”

January 5, True the Vote posted a message on its website saying, “This statement is the limit of our public comments at this time so as not to hamper the investigative efforts currently underway.”

Checking the facts:How do we know the 2020 election results were legitimate and not ‘rigged’ as Donald Trump claims

In an email to USA TODAY, Harrington – Trump’s spokesperson – pointed out the item from Just the News about the group’s complaint. Social media users who shared the post did not respond to a request for comment.

The allegation has already been examined

Georgia’s GOP chairman and True the Vote made a similar claim in September 2021, in which they claimed to possess geolocation data from cellphones linking people to trips to the polls, according to the news.

At the time, Vic Reynolds, director of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, said that “an investigation was not warranted” because there was “no other type of evidence linking these cell phones to the crop of newsletters. vote”.

“For example, there are no witness statements or names of potential defendants to interview,” Reynolds said. said in a letter. “Strikingly, it has been stated that there is a ‘source’ that can validate the harvest of the ballots. Despite repeated requests, this source has not been provided to either the GBI or the FBI.”

Biden won Georgia and its 16 votes from the Electoral College, and three separate audits found no evidence of widespread electoral fraud that affected the state’s election results. Claims on polling officers, late at night “ballot dumps” and other Georgia 2020 elections claim have already been demystified.

Summary of fact check:Debunking the false accounts of the January 6 riot on the Capitol

In 10 pages letter to Congress on January 6, 2021, Raffensperger said “there is nowhere enough evidence to cast doubt on the outcome of the presidential election in Georgia.”

Our note: Missing context

Based on our research, we are evaluating MISSING CONTEXT the claim that people were paid $ 10 per ballot in the November 2020 Georgia election as it is misleading and unproven. This Trump claim is based on a complaint about the ballot harvest, which sparked an investigation by the Georgia Secretary of State’s office. True the Vote has not identified the witness who claims to have been paid, and the group does not allege that the ballots themselves were fraudulent. Georgia investigators have previously examined a similar claim and said there was not enough evidence to warrant an investigation.

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