Politics2020 Election


Fact-checking President Trump's Georgia Phone Call

The president made unsupported claims as he tried to convince state officials to "find" votes in his favor.
Posted at 6:11 PM, Jan 04, 2021

At the start of his call with Georgia election officials, President Trump incorrectly says he won the state.

“I think it’s pretty clear that we won,” President Trump says on the call. “We won very substantially in Georgia.”

Not true.

President-elect Joe Biden beat Donald Trump in Georgia by 11,779 votes out of more than 5 million cast.

It was a close race, but the result has been certified by the secretary of state and governor, both Republicans.

The president also says, falsely, there were 300,000 “fake ballots” added to the tally late on election night. 

“Anywhere from 250,000-300,000 ballots were dropped mysteriously into the rolls,” President Trump says.

He appears to be referring to the counting of mail-in ballots, which favored Democrats.

President Trump told his supporters not to vote by mail.

“It’s a catastrophe waiting to happen,” he said from the Oval Office on Aug. 5.

More Democrats than Republicans mailed in their ballots, which weren’t counted as quickly. But this was expected, not mysterious.

The president also says 5,000 dead people in Georgia voted.

“At a minimum is close to about 5,000 voters,” he is heard saying on the call.

A Newsy investigation this fall found voters do, on occasion, illegally vote in place of someone who has died, often a recently deceased spouse or relative.

But it’s extremely rare.

Georgia’s secretary of state says two votes were cast in the names of dead people this year -- not 5,000.

At another point in the call, President Trump says he heard ballots were being shredded.

“We hear they're shredding thousands and thousands of ballots and now what they're saying, ‘Oh, we're just cleaning up the office,’" he says.

There was shredding going on in Cobb County, Georgia, but not of cast ballots. County officials say they got rid of old emails, absentee ballot duplicates and other documents they say weren't relevant to the election. 

“They were doing normal office shredding, getting rid of old stuff, and we investigated that,” we hear on the call from Ryan Germany, general counsel to the Georgia secretary of state.

President Trump also brought up debunked concerns about voting machines manufactured by Dominion.

“I mean, in other states, we think we found tremendous corruption with Dominion machines but we'll have to see,” the president says.

Yet the Department of Homeland Security found “no evidence that any voting system deleted or lost votes, changed votes or was in any way compromised.”