A curious thing happened as Fulton County, Ga., election officials counted mail-in ballots at Atlanta’s State Farm Arena in the days after the election.
By PAUL SPERRY
[EDITOR’S NOTE: This article appeared Nov. 13, 2020 on the news and opinion aggregation site Real Clear Politics. It is reprinted with permission.]
In the early hours of Nov. 5, a surge of some 20,000 mail-in votes suddenly appeared for Joe Biden, while approximately 1,000 votes for President Trump mysteriously disappeared from his own totals in the critical swing state, where Biden holds a razor-thin lead.
A poll watcher noticed the suspicious shift in votes while monitoring the interim election results on the Georgia secretary of state website.
“I concluded from looking at these results that this was an irregularity, since there was no obvious reason for President Trump’s totals to have decreased while former Vice President Biden’s totals increased dramatically,” Voter GA co-founder Garland Favorito swore in an affidavit he filed [last] week with the secretary of state’s office.
Favorito suspects a variety of factors, including that votes were “artificially inflated” for Biden while using the same Dominion Voting system used by Antrim County, Mich., which erroneously transferred 6,000 votes from Trump to Biden. Last year, Georgia contracted with Dominion to automate vote tabulations in all 159 of its counties.
“The software appears to have thrown votes from Trump to Biden here too,” he said in a RealClearInvestigations interview. “Or Biden ballots were manufactured.”
The large disparity of gains between the two candidates “was something I had never witnessed before in my years of election monitoring,” said Favorito, a career IT professional who has been a leading advocate for election integrity in the state over the past two decades. He says he is not a Republican or Trump supporter.
On Nov. 10, Favorito sent his affidavit to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, recommending a full, by-hand ballot recount. The next day, his office announced it will conduct such an audit for the presidential race. Biden currently leads Trump by more than 14,000 votes in the state.
“It’s a good first step,” Favorito said. “A recount will be able to determine if there was electronic vote fraud.”
In addition to helping certify the presidential race, he said it’s imperative investigators identify the source of the irregularities before the state holds its two U.S. Senate run-off elections on Jan. 5 so they don’t repeat themselves.
Georgia is now Ground Zero in the battle for control of the Senate. Republicans currently hold a 50-48 edge, but if they lose both Georgia seats, presumptive Vice President-elect Kamala Harris could cast tie-breaking votes to carry out the Democratic agenda.
On Dominion Voting’s website, a page titled “Election 2020: Setting the Record Straight” says “claims about Dominion switching or deleting votes are 100% false.”
While noting that “no election is without isolated issues,” Dominion states: “Election safeguards — from testing and certification of voting systems, to canvassing and auditing — prevent malicious actors from tampering with vote counts and ensure that final vote tallies are accurate.”
But Favorito, who lives in the Atlanta area, said the Fulton County shift was so dramatic it seemed as if someone had “dumped” a huge batch of mail-in ballots for Biden into the system overnight.
“One candidate could not go up by 20,000 and the other do nothing — in Fulton County or any county in Georgia,” he asserted. “That’s just not going to happen.”
Added Favorito: “I think they’re going to find the root cause of the irregularity was something electronic, and I think it’s going to change the results substantially.”
He suggested it may have been the result of a software or equipment malfunction or possibly even vote-swapping “malware” infecting the system. Of greatest concern, however, is the possibility of intentional misconduct by an election official or worker.
“There’s always the chance it was an inside job,” Favorito said, though both Republican and Democratic officials in the state say they have found no credible evidence of election fraud.
He said he also sent his affidavit to the Fulton County Board of Registration and Elections for investigation, but has not heard back. The board did not respond to requests for comment.
Precincts across the state reported problems with the Dominion system during this summer’s primary elections, including malfunctioning machines. Even before June’s voting meltdown, Favorito said, he and his nonprofit, Voter GA — which stands for Voters Organized for Trusted Elections Results in Georgia — warned Raffensperger and his staff not to buy the pricey equipment and software from the Canadian company.
“They knew good and well they should never have bought this system in the first place,” he said. “We explained that Dominion was rejected in Texas for failing to meet basic security standards before they bought it.”
Favorito suspects similar surges in Biden ballots may have taken place during the counting of mail-in ballots on other nights, including Election Night. On Nov. 3, Fulton County elections officials informed observers that they were shutting down the tabulation center before midnight, only to continue counting throughout the night while no one was watching.
“Fulton County elections officials falsely announced that the counting of ballots would stop at 10:30 p.m.,” Georgia Republican Party Chairman David Shafer complained in a recent Tweet. “Officials unlawfully resumed the counting of ballots after our observers left the center.”
Favorito fears that what he observed on Nov. 5 was not an isolated incident. “There could have been multiple 20,000-batch irregularities,” he said, “but they never got reported because they cleared out the observers.”
He does not rule out “ballot harvesting” as the culprit behind the sudden surges of mail-in votes for Biden.
He said the hundreds of drop boxes Raffensperger agreed to distribute at shopping centers and other cities throughout the state may have encouraged third parties to collect ballots in the name of other voters and stuff them into the boxes, which is illegal.
“That’s just begging for fraud,” Favorito said.
Previously, voters who didn’t want to mail in their absentee ballots had to go to the county elections office and deliver their ballot in person while showing an ID to prove they were the individual who filled it out. But in this election, anybody could drop ballots into the otherwise unregulated boxes the state installed for the first time this year.
Fair Fight Action, a voting-rights group founded by former Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams, helped convince Raffensperger to install hundreds of them across the state — including dozens in Fulton County — by arguing that the cost of a 55-cent stamp was a modern-day “poll tax” for many African-Americans who didn’t want to risk voting in person during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“There is evidence there was some type of ballot harvesting going on in Georgia,” Favorito said, “but we don’t know yet if it’s tied to the drop boxes.”
Favorito cited the disproportionately large number of “Biden-only” ballots cast, or ballots that had only the presidential vote marked and filled out for Biden, with no down-ballot races checked, indicating ballots may have been collected from voters and filled out for them — that is, “harvested” — and then delivered to the drop boxes.
Mail-in or drop-off ballots are notorious for creating opportunities for voter error and fraud. In a typical election, 1 in 20 mailed ballots are rejected, according to recent studies. More than 534,000 mail-in ballots were rejected during the Democratic primaries alone.
‘Curing Defects’ in Biden Ballots
“Curing” or fixing errors in rejected provisional ballots is another area ripe for potential fraud, election watchdogs warn.
Voters are required to cast provisional ballots if their name does not appear on the list of registered voters. Or if they lack proper ID. Or if there’s a problem with their signature. Or if they cast their ballots after polls close, among other reasons.
Provisional ballots are last to be counted and rarely factor into election outcomes — except in tight races such as this one in Georgia.
Democratic activists have scrambled to make these otherwise rejected votes for Biden count. They claim thousands of provisional ballots cast for Biden in Georgia have “curable defects,” and they’ve been deploying volunteers to go door-to-door to help voters in Fulton and surrounding counties fix their ballots so they will be counted.
The statewide Democratic operation is revealed in post-election court filings. In neighboring Forsyth County, for example, Democratic lawyers have sued to obtain the dates of birth, home addresses and phone numbers of rejected voters so they can contact them and help fix their ballots.
The law firm representing the Democratic plaintiffs — Krevolin and Horst LLC — also represents Abram’s Fair Fight PAC, according to Federal Election Commission vendor reports. Her group, funded by billionaire Michael Bloomberg and other wealthy Democrats, has sued the state of Georgia over allegations of “systemic suppression” of black voters.
In its lawsuit filed Nov. 5, the firm argued that Biden voters “will be “disenfranchised” if Forsyth County election officials do not provide the activists the personal information they seek to contact them and “cure” their deficient ballots.
County officials, however, refused to provide the information, and a judge ruled in their favor, dismissing the complaint in its entirety.
“Several other counties including some surrounding us like Fulton allowed the activity that our local judge prevented,” Forsyth County Commissioner Dennis Brown, a Republican, told RCI.
“It is my understanding that this has been successful for the Democratic Party in many jurisdictions throughout the state,” he said. “The end result is they were able to ‘cure’ many votes for Democrats up and down the ticket, including for Biden, that would not have been counted otherwise.”
Advised Favorito: “Provisional ballot-fixing is definitely another area for potential fraud.”