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Behind a sign listing early voting dates for Fulton County, Georgia, a line forms outside of the State Farm Arena for early voting on Oct. 12, 2020, in Atlanta. (AP/Anderson) Behind a sign listing early voting dates for Fulton County, Georgia, a line forms outside of the State Farm Arena for early voting on Oct. 12, 2020, in Atlanta. (AP/Anderson)

Behind a sign listing early voting dates for Fulton County, Georgia, a line forms outside of the State Farm Arena for early voting on Oct. 12, 2020, in Atlanta. (AP/Anderson)

Tom Kertscher
By Tom Kertscher April 28, 2021

No proof for another pro-Trump claim of thousands of illegal votes in Georgia

If Your Time is short

  • This is another in a line of unsubstantiated claims about thousands of ineligible voters casting ballots in the 2020 presidential election in Georgia, where Joe Biden narrowly defeated Donald Trump.

  • The claim is made by a pro-Trump organization whose leader has previously made election irregularity claims about the Georgia balloting that have been discredited.

  • The new claim is made in a report that provides no evidence.

Attacks on the integrity of the 2020 presidential election in Georgia have been as persistent as head lice, yet they don’t seem to stick.

A sampling of our fact-checks:

"Suitcases filled with ballots pulled from under a table and illegally counted." False. 132,000 ballots "likely ineligible." False. Donald Trump says the secretary of state won’t let the people recounting ballots check the signatures for fraud. Pants on Fire

Now, more than five months after the election, and after two recounts confirmed that Trump narrowly lost Georgia to Joe Biden, another attack has surfaced. 

An April 21 article from the Gateway Pundit, a conservative website, carried this headline about what it calls an election integrity organization:

"Elections Integrity Org Identifies 12,547 Illegal Votes Included In Georgia's 2020 Election Results - Exceeds Margin of Victory In the State."

The claim, widely circulated on Facebook and elsewhere online, 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.)

What the organization, a group of former Trump campaign staff members, posted online merely makes more claims of balloting irregularity in Georgia, without producing data to back the claims.

Report lacks data

The Gateway Pundit article claims that an April 19 report from an organization called Look Ahead America found 12,547 illegal ballots cast in Georgia, exceeding Biden’s margin of victory of 11,779. Biden was the first Democrat to win Georgia since 1992.

Look Ahead America says it was formed by members of Trump’s campaign staff, and is led by former Trump campaign staffer Matt Braynard, to "register, educate and enfranchise" citizens who are disaffected. 

A summary of the Look Ahead America report claims illegal ballots were cast in the names of people who voted using early and absentee ballots:

  • 1,056 voters who allegedly were registered illegally. The summary claims the names of voters were matched against "known lists of postal box facilities — FedEx, UPS, etc. — and similar addresses where individuals could not live."

  • 10,651 ballots allegedly were cast illegally based on matching names of voters to "permanent, out-of-state moves" in the U.S. Postal Service’s national change of address database.

  • 840 ballots allegedly were cast illegally based on matching names of voters who the report claims registered to vote in another state after registering in Georgia.  

"There's not enough in that public report to confirm or dispute anything, and that seems to be their goal," said Matthew Weil, director of the Elections Project at the Bipartisan Policy Center.

The summary recycles claims that are "nothing but innuendo and speculation," said Ari Schaffer, spokesperson for the Georgia Secretary of State. He noted that Trump’s campaign in January dropped four lawsuits it had filed in Georgia making unsubstantiated allegations about ineligible voters and fraud and seeking to overturn the election result in the state.

David Becker, executive director of the Center for Election Innovation and Research, also called the new claims a rehash. He said that "rather than subject these claims to judicial scrutiny and cross-examination, they voluntarily dismissed their claims" in court.

Look Ahead America says an "unredacted version" of its report with full data is being provided to "government officials and select journalists and other individuals upon request."

We asked Braynard for the full report. He replied with only a link to a February tweet he posted about one of our fact-check articles that mentioned him.

In January, PolitiFact rated False a claim by Trump that 4,925 voters from out-of-state voted in Georgia in the 2020 presidential election. It appeared Trump got his number from Braynard, who arrived at the number by comparing Georgia registration and voting lists with the U.S. Postal Service change-of-address data. Braynard’s analysis was criticized by statisticians and election experts for failing to meet scientific standards of evidence. 

In December, FactCheck.org found that a report by Braynard claiming that 20,312 people who no longer met residency requirements cast ballots in Georgia was not credible.

Our ruling

A headline widely shared on Facebook claimed a group "identifies 12,547 illegal votes" in Georgia's 2020 election results, "exceeds margin of victory in the state."

The number is larger than Biden’s margin of victory over Trump in Georgia.

The pro-Trump group, whose leader has made other election irregularity claims about the Georgia election that have been discredited, posted a report that provided no data back up its claim. 

We rate the claim False.

Our Sources

Gateway Pundit, "Elections Integrity Org Identifies 12,547 Illegal Votes Included In Georgia’s 2020 Election Results – Exceeds Margin of Victory In the State," April 21, 2021

Email, Look Ahead America executive director Matt Braynard, April 28, 2021

Look Ahead America, "The Georgia Report," April 19, 2021

Look Ahead America, news release, April 19, 2021

Email, David Becker, executive director and founder, Center for Election Innovation and Research, April 28, 2021

Email, Amy Cohen, executive director, National Association of State Election Directors, April 28, 2021

Email, Matthew Weil, director of the Elections Project at the Bipartisan Policy Center, April 27, 2021

Email, Ari Schaffer, Georgia Secretary of State spokesperson, April 27, 2021

PolitiFact, "No evidence that 4,925 voters from out-of-state voted in Georgia in the presidential election," Jan. 4, 2021

PolitiFact, "Here’s why Georgia’s Republican officials are confident in their presidential election results," Jan. 5, 2021

Browse the Truth-O-Meter

More by Tom Kertscher

No proof for another pro-Trump claim of thousands of illegal votes in Georgia

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