Georgia's top election investigator debunks a vote fraud conspiracy involving 'suitcases' of ballots, a urinal

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Peter Weber
·2 min read
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Lawyers representing President Trump and his efforts to overturn his loss to President-elect Joe Biden showed surveillance video Thursday they claimed showed election workers in Fulton County, Georgia, pulling hidden "suitcases" of ballots out from under tables on election night and counting them without supervision.

Gabriel Sterling, a top Georgia election official, said Friday that election investigators had watched all the surveillance video from State Farm Arena in Atlanta, not just the 90 seconds Rudy Giuliani's legal team showed in a Georgia Senate subcommittee hearing, and they found that the "suitcases" were regular ballot boxes on wheels and the vote count was supervised until the end. Trump's team is "intentionally misleading the public about what happened at State Farm Arena on election night," Sterling said. "These aren't magical ballots."

Frances Watson, chief investigator of the Georgia secretary of state's office, elaborated in a sworn affidavit filed late Sunday. The secretary of state's office did receive complains on election night that clerks, observers, and media personnel were asked to leave State Farm Arena due to a water leak, Watson said, but "our investigation revealed that the incident initially reported as a water leak late in the evening of Nov. 3 was actually a urinal that that had overflowed early in the morning of Nov. 3, and did not affect the counting of votes by Fulton County later that evening."

Watson went on to explain that after interviewing witnesses and watching surveillance video, it became clear that "observers and media were not asked to leave," but "simply left on their own" when they saw one group of workers depart after their job was done. The video also "revealed that there were no mystery ballots that were brought in from an unknown location and hidden under tables," just boxes sealed and openly placed there by workers who briefly, incorrectly thought they were done counting for the night.

Fulton County Elections Director Richard Barron told The Associate Press on Friday there were no independent observers watching the vote scans for about 20 minutes on election night, just surveillance video. Georgia law permits observers to stay in the room as votes are tallied but doesn't require it. CBS 46 Atlanta showed some of the video in a Friday newscast.

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