Fact check in Trump’s letter to Georgia Secretary of State

Ahead of his planned rally in Georgia this weekend, Trump is once again trying to overturn the 2020 election results, even as his previous efforts to do so are under criminal investigation.
In a letter sent to Raffensperger on Friday, Trump alleged that “large-scale electoral fraud continues to be reported in Georgia” and called on Raffensperger “to begin the process of decertifying the election, or whatever. appropriate legal remedy, and announce the real winner. ”
As evidence of the potential fraud, Trump’s letter cites an article from the Georgia Star News, a pro-Trump website whose facts CNN had previously verified when the Trump campaign used it to substantiate its fraud claims last year. .

This time, in an August 30 report, the Georgia Star News claimed that more than 43,000 mail-in votes counted in DeKalb County, Georgia had broken the state’s chain of custody rule. Trump says those votes would be invalid if the rule was violated.

DeKalb County is a large, black-majority, heavily Democratic county that Biden won by nearly 250,000 votes in 2020. Biden’s margin of victory across Georgia was less than 12,000.

According to the rules of the Georgia State Electoral Board regarding postal voting, “ballots from the drop box must be immediately transported to the county registrar.” The Georgia Star News article argues that this rule was violated because, according to it, mail-in ballot transfer forms show that some of the ballots obtained from the drop box were documented as having been received. by the county registrar the next day or that there was no reception time. recorded at all. CNN has not independently verified the Georgia Star News’ claims regarding the number of ballots that match this description.

The facts first: Trump’s fraud allegations in Georgia remain completely baseless. Even though the filing process was violated, Georgia’s secretary of state says the ballots themselves remain valid. Georgia has approved his election results three times under Raffensperger’s leadership and found no mass election fraud.
In his first public response to the letter, Raffensperger said on Monday evening CNN’s Erin Burnett that an investigation into the allegations raised by Trump and The Georgia Star News is underway, but has suggested that the outcome of the investigation would not alter the election results or invalidate any polls.

“The ballots themselves have been approved and are legal ballots, but have the processes been violated? That’s what we’re investigating right now,” Raffensperger said.

Beyond this investigation, there isn’t much else the State or County of DeKalb can do.

“At this point, the DeKalb County Registration and Elections Council has no legal authority under state law to invalidate the presidential election results certified in December 2020 by the Secretary of State. of Georgia, ”Erik Burton, spokesperson for DeKalb Voter Registration & Elections, told CNN on Monday. “Election challenges for the 2020 presidential election were to be brought to court within five days of certification by the Secretary of State.

According to David Becker, executive director of the Center for Election Innovation & Research, a non-partisan nonprofit, if Trump is serious about his allegations, he should take them to court, not ask Georgian election officials to do something outside the scope. of their abilities.

“If they think they have a claim, if they think it’s new information that can stand up to a court’s scrutiny,” Becker said, “they should go ahead. and file a protest. But intimidating election officials 10, 11 months after an election literally means nothing. ”

“All we have here is a losing candidate so out of touch with reality that he is asking for out-of-court decertification of an election almost a year ago,” Becker told CNN, adding, “who even if it were possible to decertify, would not change the outcome of the election. ”

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