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• A pollster claimed on Twitter that Fulton County, Ga., has 132,000 voters who are flagged in voter files for change of address, which implies they could be ineligible to vote in that county.
• Georgia election officials have repeatedly said they have found no credible examples of election fraud in the state.
• The claim appears to be based on the pollster’s own queries of voter files, with no indication that he attempted to verify the legitimacy of his claim with election officials.
As Georgia became one of the most surprising swing states in the 2020 presidential election, it also took center stage in a number of baseless social media claims.
"BREAKING REPORT: 132,000 ballots in Fulton County, Ga., have been identified as likely ineligible," announced a viral image shared on Facebook Nov. 8. "BREAKING NEWS: President Donald J. Trump may win the state of Georgia after 132,000 ballots."
The post, which is a picture of two tweets, was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)
To say the ballots were "identified as likely ineligible" is a huge leap from the facts, which are scarce.
The claim appears to have originated with a tweet by Peoples Pundit, an account run by Richard Baris, who identifies himself as a data journalist and director of Big Data Poll. First, Baris said "there are 132k CoA flags in Fulton County, alone," referring to change of address flags in voter rolls, which implies that those voters might have been ineligible to vote in that county. Then he cited two queries of a Georgia voter database and included screenshots of both searches.
One of the queries Baris ran was for Fulton County voters including people "flagged" in the records for change of address, and the other query excluded people flagged for change of address. Baris’ claim about potentially ineligible ballots is based on the number of "unique individuals" listed for each query: the number is 842,486 when including those with a "change of address flag" in the records, and 710,454 when excluding those who have a "change of address flag," a difference of 132,032.
The screenshots do not include any detail such as links that would allow others to replicate the search or verify its results. Baris did not indicate that the information had been verified with or vetted by election officials, who in many cases during the 2020 election have offered reasonable explanations for theories being floated.
Jessica Corbitt-Dominguez, director of external affairs for Fulton County government, told PolitiFact the claim is "completely unsubstantiated." A county spokeswoman also provided a statement saying, "Fulton County is aware of allegations of 132,000 ballots being ‘flagged.’ These claims are simply false and baseless. Certain news organizations have circulated this information without contacting Fulton County for confirmation."
On Monday, Georgia Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan, a Republican, also said on CNN that there have not been "any sort of credible examples" of voter fraud in Georgia.
Georgia requires that those voting in person present a government-issued ID, WABE reported, and when voting by absentee ballot, a voter’s signature must match the one on both the ballot application and voter registration card. Georgia’s voter rolls were purged of 300,000 inactive voters last year, including 45,000 in Fulton County, according to WABE.
A Facebook post claims that "132,000 ballots in Fulton County, Ga., have been identified as likely ineligible," and that President Trump might win Georgia as a result.
There is no verified evidence that the ballots are ineligible. We rate this claim False.
CNN, "Georgia GOP lieutenant governor says ‘no credible examples’ of voter fraud," Nov. 9, 2020
Facebook post, Nov. 8, 2020
Gateway Pundit, "132,000 ballots in Fulton County, Georgia, have been identified which are likely ineligible," Nov. 8, 2020
LinkedIn profile, accessed Nov. 10, 2020
Red State Nation, "Allegedly there are 132k change of address flags in Fulton County alone — 525k voted in that county," Nov. 9, 2020
Twitter post, Nov. 8, 2020
Twitter post, Nov. 9, 2020
Twitter post, Nov. 8, 2020
WABE, "Claims of widespread voter fraud in Georgia are ‘unlikely,’ state official says," Nov. 9, 2020
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