Republican Governor Brian Kemp called for a signature audit of Georgia’s election results on Thursday night, reacting to video and allegations presented during the Georgia Senate’s Government Oversight Committee hearing held earlier in the day.
Security camera footage from Election Day presented during the hearing generated buzz on social media, and caught the attention of Kemp. Allegations and corresponding video appear to reveal a Fulton County election supervisor pulling suitcases filled with ballots from under a table after poll workers were allegedly told to leave.
These claims were later denied by Georgia’s voting system implementation manager Gabriel Sterling and chief investigator for the Georgia secretary of state Frances Watson. The officials claim the video is not suspicious but shows normal procedure.
Specifically reacting to the video, Kemp said Thursday on Fox News that he hopes Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger will quickly come forward to explain “exactly what is going on.”
Kemp called the video “concerning,” adding, “We’re working right now, and hopefully the secretary of state will update us on exactly what was going on.”
“I’ve heard they had a monitor there,” he continued. “I think it’d be good for him to come out and say exactly what was going on. … We need to get answers from the secretary of state on exactly what happened. Obviously, they should be investigating this. I would image they already are.”
Georgia Republican Gov. Brian Kemp calls for a signature audit of the state’s election results. pic.twitter.com/af2QEvmc8g
— (((Jason Rantz))) on KTTH Radio (@jasonrantz) December 4, 2020
Attorney Jacki Pick presented the video at the hearing on Thursday. “You’re looking at one big room here; this is where, according to our witnesses, who’ve given sworn affidavits, this is where the absentee ballots and military ballots are being tabulated on Election Day,” she said, showcasing the security video.
“So, we have the tape from first thing in the morning, all the way past the close of the polls. What you have, is essentially, two Republican field organizers who were sent here to be observers; at no time were they actually permitted to observe in a meaningful way … they are roped off on the side.”
The observers are “going to get there at about 8 o’clock (in the morning) to watch the tabulation of absentee and military ballots,” Pick continued. “But according to their affidavits, at about 10 o’clock, there was one person working the polls who told everyone in the room to leave, on the basis they were going to stop counting and return at 8:30 in the morning.”
“According to the witnesses, the Republican observers, there is a lady who has blonde braids who comes out to announce we’re going to stop counting, everyone go home,” she said. “And, in fact, we see that’s what happens is everyone clears out, including the Republican observers and the press, but four people stay behind and continue counting and tabulating well into the night … And they will continue counting unobserved, unsupervised not in public view as your statute requires, until about 1 in the morning.”
“The reason we know this is because when our Republican observers were forced to leave, they went to the central tabulation center and they got news from a word from a news crew that, in fact, counting had continued,” Pick detailed. “They got word that not everybody left according to plan, and some people stayed behind. So this shocked them, so they returned back to State Farm Arena at about one o’clock in the morning, where they confirmed that, in fact, people had just left State Farm Arena in contravention of what they’ve been told by the supervisors who are running this operation.”
Pick then shows the video footage from about 10:25 p.m. on Election Day. “You’re going to watch this place be busy and filled up to emptied at some time between 10:25 and 10:35, which is consistent with what the affidavits say.”
At 10:37, Pick shows, “the place is a ghost town. This is where the people were vacated and told go home come back at 8:30. We will now stop working and stop counting. But notice who stays behind: you have four people, consistent with our affidavits, who stayed behind.” One of the women who stays behind, she says, was one of the people who told everyone the counting had stopped.
Pick then details what looks like “suitcases” of ballots being pulled from “underneath a table.” The people left behind wait until everyone else leaves, and then “move into action,” “scanning ballots.”
The attorney said her team asked themselves, “Okay, is it normal, to store suitcases of ballots under a table under a tablecloth? Is that how they run the place? Maybe this is what they’ve been doing all day? … So we went back and watched the video, as a team of us: we don’t see that.”
“This table, the black one, was placed there by the lady with the blonde braids at about 8:22 a.m. in the morning. So she put that table there. The same person who’s staying behind now, the same person who cleared the place out under the pretense that we’re going to stop counting is the person who put the table there at 8:22 in the morning,” Pick said, noting that her teams needs 14-hours to comb through the footage. “Yeah, I saw four suitcases come out from underneath the table.”
On Thursday night, Sterling told left-wing fact-checking site Lead Stories that the video was “normal procedure,” adding that “nothing looks ‘bizarre or odd.'” Lead Stories reported:
Election workers known as “cutters” because their job was to open absentee ballot envelopes and verify ballots for eventual scanning and counting were dismissed for the night sometime after 10 p.m. on November 3, 2020, because their work for the evening had been completed, [Sterling] explained. Those workers who remained were responsible for conducting the scanning portion of the process, since ballots could not be left without being scanned overnight.
“If you look at the video tape, the work you see is the work you would expect, which is you take the sealed suitcase looking things in, you place the ballots on the scanner in manageable batches and you scan them,” Sterling said.
Watson told the fact-checking site that the “suitcase” was actually an “empty bin.”
“There wasn’t a bin that had ballots in it under that table,” Watson said. “It was an empty bin and the ballots from it were actually out on the table when the media were still there, and then it was placed back into the box when the media were still there and placed next to the table.”
“Nobody told them to stay. Nobody told them to leave,” she said of the allegedly dismissed election observers. “Nobody gave them any advice on what they should do. And It was still open for them or the public to come back in to view at whatever time they wanted to, as long as they were still working.”
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported on Election Day that “no official could explain before press time why Fulton was stopping its count of absentee ballots” at 10:30 p.m., “only saying that was the procedure.”
It remains unclear if Raffensperger will offer a detailed explanation to the public or if a formal investigation was conducted.
The video can be viewed below. Twitter has tagged a “warning” to the video, reading, “This claim about election fraud is disputed,” which links to general language about “widespread voter fraud,” not the video at hand:
Experts and officials said there has been no evidence of widespread voter fraud in the 2020 US elections. The election process was secure and voter fraud of any type is incredibly rare, according to The Associated Press and Reuters. Officials and experts warned ahead of Election Day that most interference in US elections, whether from foreign or domestic players, comes in the form of misinformation campaigns, many of which are intended to create distrust in the US’s electoral process.
Video footage from Georgia shows suitcases filled with ballots pulled from under a table AFTER supervisors told poll workers to leave room while four people stayed behind to keep counting votes pic.twitter.com/o6cxiCxVP5
— Trump War Room (@TrumpWarRoom) December 4, 2020
The full video can be accessed, here.
This report has been expanded for clarity