39ºF

Trust Index: Were ‘illegal’ votes counted?

Our team finds there’s no proof of widespread corruption or illegal votes being counted

Nearly a week after Election Day, many Americans are still questioning the results, making claims of voter fraud and illegal votes being counted.

President Donald Trump’s attorney, Rudy Giuliani, said Monday there would be lawsuits in several states after making a number of claims about supposed election fraud.

The News4Jax I-TEAM is looking into the claims.

Claim

One claim is that illegal votes were counted in the 2020 election and that helped Joe Biden become the projected president-elect. This comes from Trump and some of his supporters.

Arguments

Before all the ballots were counted, Trump claimed widespread fraud.

“I’ve been talking about mail-in voting for a long time,” he said. “It’s really destroyed our system. It’s a corrupt system”

That statement has put focus on states like Georgia, Pennsylvania, Arizona and Nevada -- states he claims he won. The bipartisan National Council on Election Integrity issued a scathing response to the president’s accusations, calling them false and baseless.

Leaders in controversial states echoed that.

“So while some, including the president, continue to spew baseless, claims of fraud claims for which his team has not produced one iota of evidence,” said Democratic Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney. “What we have seen here in Philadelphia is democracy pure and simple.”

News4Jax cameras were there for the absentee ballot counting in Georgia -- from the State Farm Arena in Atlanta to Savannah’s Chatham County Board of Elections. We were never kept out. We were given full access around the clock and worked alongside vote watchers from the Republican and Democratic parties, despite claims from the GOP for lack of transparency.

“At this point, we have not seen any sort of credible examples,” said Georgia Republican Lt. Governor Geoff Duncan.

Trump stated there were 100 million mail-in ballots. He also argued that many came in after the deadline, calling them “illegal.”

We checked the laws and found that while there was a strict Election Day deadline in Florida, that wasn’t the case elsewhere.

For example, the Georgia secretary of state could count any absentee ballots postmarked on or before Election Day that were received until 5 p.m. Friday.

Among the states that allow mail votes to be legally counted if they are postmarked by Nov. 3 but arrive later is Nevada, where the deadline is 5 p.m. Nov. 10.

In Pennsylvania, law prohibited the counting of ballots before Election Day. That meant mail-in ballots couldn’t be opened until after the polls opened at 7 a.m. Tuesday. With 2.5 million absentee ballots cast, it was a long process. Each had to be opened and the voter’s name and signature verified against voter rolls before it could be counted.

“The inconsistency that the states conduct their elections has caused a lot of these concerns and also mistrust,” said Jerry Holland, a Republican who was Duval County’s supervisor of elections from 2005 to 2015.

He told News4Jax voter fraud does happen, but it would take an extremely large amount of criminal activity to actually influence the race.

“Initial perception is it does not appear to be so, but I’m one of those it’s all about count every vote and that gives the integrity of the process,” he said. “In every election, I saw individuals attempt to vote twice, I saw individuals try to send in ballots for deceased relatives. I saw that. The degree of it is what changes in election. Everyone I would turnover either to the FBI or the state attorney.”

Verdict

So based on the evidence available and what we saw on the election trail, while there may be inconsistencies in how states report mail-in ballots, there is no proof of widespread corruption or illegal votes being counted. So, after review, we’ve found this information is not true.

Not True

After review, we've found this information is Not True.

What is the Trust Index?


About the Author: