FACT CHECK: Viral Claim About Brian Kemp And 17,000 Invalid Ballots Is False
A post shared on Facebook claims Georgia Republican Gov. Brian Kemp’s legal staff informed the Georgia Secretary of State’s office that 17,000 invalid ballots were counted in Fulton County.
The governor’s office referred the matter to the Georgia State Election Board in May 2022. The Dec. 19 meeting was about a case involving the claim, but it has been pushed to a future date.
Social media users are sharing a claim that Kemp’s legal staff told the Georgia Secretary of State’s office that 17,000 invalid ballots were counted during the 2020 election in Fulton County.
“BREAKING: Georgia Gov. Kemp’s legal staff has notified Ga Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger that 17,852 invalid 2020 votes were counted in Fulton County, GA, alone. A public meeting will be held next week at the Georgia State Capitol building,” one Facebook post reads.
This claim is false. The claim originated from a Dec. 19 State Election Board meeting that had “Cases Recommended for Referral to the Attorney General’s Office” — case SEB2023-025, which is described as “Fulton County Tabulator Results 2020,” according to 11Alive.
11Alive reported that the case “focuses on apparent discrepancies between the initial recount totals reported by Fulton County on December 2, 2020, and the corrected vote totals released the following day.” There is also a question about ballot images. This appears to be in reference to a claim about 17,000 ballot images, not 17,00 invalid ballots.
The claim was investigated by Reuters in July 2022.
“At the time, the law did NOT require that the files be maintained, meaning, there were no requirements or guidelines to maintain ballot images from the ICP scanner used for advance voting and election day before the November 2020 election,” Fulton County officials told Reuters.
The officials added that “[o]nce the law was subsequently clarified, Fulton County complied with keeping the files from then on.” (RELATED: Joe Biden Claimed In 2019 There Is No Evidence His Son Hunter ‘Did Anything Wrong’)
Raffensperger said in a statement to Reuters that there “is zero doubt that three counts of the ballots resulted in conclusive results on who won the election in Georgia.”
“Georgia votes with paper ballots, and all of the actual paper ballots from November’s election were counted three times, including a 100 percent hand recount in which teams of poll workers touched and saw every vote cast. There is zero doubt that three counts of the ballots resulted in conclusive results on who won the election in Georgia. Wishful thinking by conspiracy theorists cannot change the outcome, no matter what immaterial technicality they claim to have identified this week,” the statement reads.
A Georgia Secretary of State spokesperson referred Check Your Fact to the Georgia State Election Board. Alexandra Hardin, a spokesperson for the State Election Board, provided Check Your Fact with a letter from Gov. Kemp’s office to the board, saying, “it is the (only) correspondence received from the Governor’s office regarding the matter.”
“This letter initiated an investigation into the referenced claims. The case was originally set to be heard at tomorrow’s State Election Board meeting, but the matter has been continued to a future meeting,” Hardin said.
“The Office of the Governor does not have the authority to investigate election matters; such authority resides with the State Election Board. I ask that you contact Mr. Rossi and review his claims to determine whether any consideration of such claims by the Board is warranted,” the letter reads.
Garrison Douglas, Kemp’s press secretary, referred Check Your Fact to comments made by Cody Hall, a senior adviser to Kemp.
“Retelling the same lies for three years does not make them true, even when citing bogus online blogs. The moon landing was real, Bigfoot does not roam the forests of North America, and the 2020 election in Georgia was not stolen,” Hall told the Atlanta-Journal Constitution.
President Joe Biden narrowly won Georgia in 2020, according to the outlet. Claims of widespread widespread voter fraud in Georgia lack evidence, the outlet reported.