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- The changing percentage of votes each candidate received in the Georgia U.S. Senate election runoff reflects more counties reporting their election results; it’s not evidence of fraud.
A clip from a news broadcast covering the election results from the U.S. Senate runoff in Georgia is being proffered as evidence of election fraud — but it’s not.
The video highlights results showing 65% of the vote for Republican candidate Herschel Walker before the commercial break, and then only 33% of the vote after the commercial break.
"Dems are at it again," the post’s caption says. "#cheating."
But there is no evidence of voter fraud in incumbent Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock’s win. This post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram.)
There are other important numbers in the news clip that get less attention in the post.
For example, when Walker appears to have 65% of the vote, that’s out of a small number of votes cast: 5,024 compared with Warnock’s 2,698. In the top right corner, it says 0% and some text that’s illegible in the video, but this presumably reflects an approximate percentage of precincts reporting.
After the commercial break, the TV graphic says 9% in the corner — at this point, there are more available election results available, and Warnock had 227,489 votes, according to the clip, while Walker only had 111,583.
Warnock’s gradual, clear lead is reflected in The New York Times’ live coverage of the runoff.
"Warnock is gradually starting to look like a clear favorite, even though the race keeps getting tighter," an 8:29 p.m. Eastern Standard Time post said.
A few minutes later: "At this stage, the one big question mark is the Atlanta-area Election Day vote. Almost none has been counted so far."
And at 10:30 p.m.: "Warnock’s margin of victory comes from the heavily Black, Democratic areas around Metro Atlanta."
In The Washington Post, columnist Philip Bump recently criticized journalists for claiming one candidate or another has a "lead" after the polls close.
"Consider the results of the Senate runoff in Georgia on Tuesday," Bump said. "As of 7 p.m. local time, the pool of votes was exactly the same as it would be at the time that counting was finished. But depending on how they were counted you could get — or give — a very different sense of how the election unfolded."
The bump Warnock receives in the news clip in this Instagram post is not evidence of fraud. It simply reflects more Georgia precincts reporting their votes.
We rate claims that this is evidence of fraud Pants on Fire!
Instagram post, Dec. 6, 2022
PolitiFact, Why vote spikes on graphs shared by Mike Lindell are not evidence of stolen elections, Nov. 11, 2022
The Washington Post, No one takes the lead after polls close. Let’s stop saying that, Dec. 7, 2022
The New York Times, Warnock Beats Walker, Giving Democrats 51st Senate Seat, Dec. 6, 2022
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