132,000 ineligible ballots? Fulton County election officials call claim ‘baseless’
CLAIM: In Fulton County, Georgia, 132,000 ballots had a “change of address” and the votes are likely to be “ineligible.”
AP’S ASSESSMENT: False. According to Fulton County election officials, these claims are “simply false and baseless.” One Twitter user who was sharing the false information pointed to screenshots of supposed voter files, saying that there were 132,000 change of address “flags.” Officials told The Associated Press that the photos do not show an official elections database.
THE FACTS: On Nov. 8, false claims surfaced on social media regarding votes in Fulton County, Georgia, where more than 522,000 people cast ballots in the presidential election.
“GEORGIA. 132,000 ‘Change of Address’ RED FLAGS in Fulton County, GA. These votes are ‘highly likely ineligible to vote and have moved,’ per source. Biden leads Georgia by 10K votes as of last update. It’s enough to be a *gamechanger.*,” a Twitter user wrote on Nov. 8. The post had over 10,000 retweets.
Another Twitter user also shared the false claims: “BREAKING REPORT: 132,000 Ballots in Fulton County, Georgia Have Been Identified as Likely Ineligible.” The post had over 9,000 retweets.
Election officials in Fulton County say this is false. “Fulton County is aware of allegations of 132,000 ballots being ‘flagged,’” Regina Waller, a spokesperson for Fulton County told the AP in an email. “These claims are simply false and baseless.”
A Twitter account @Peoples_Pundit posted screenshots of what they claim is voter data in Georgia, showing that 132,000 people in Fulton County were “flagged” and listed as having a “change of address.”
“We have access to voter files. That is our business,” the Twitter user wrote. “There are ≈132k CoA flags on the rolls in Fulton County, Georgia. First image excludes CoAs, the second does not. It’s not ‘disputed’. It is reality.”
Fulton County election officials told the AP that the photos are not of an official election database. “We cannot verify the source of this information except that it is not any official election database used in Fulton County,” Waller wrote to the AP in an email.
With Georgia’s razor-thin presidential vote margin, false claims swirled on social media about ballots. Last week, the AP debunked a video where social media users claimed a poll worker in Fulton County was crumpling up an absentee ballot. Election officials say the poll worker seen in the video was discarding a paper instructions sheet.
Control of the Senate likely won’t be decided until a January runoff in Georgia, even after Democrat Joe Biden won the White House on Saturday.
There is no evidence of widespread fraud in the 2020 election. In fact, election officials from both political parties have stated publicly that the election went well and international observers confirmed there were no serious irregularities.
This is part of The Associated Press’ ongoing effort to fact-check misinformation that is shared widely online, including work with Facebook to identify and reduce the circulation of false stories on the platform.
Here’s more information on Facebook’s fact-checking program: https://www.facebook.com/help/1952307158131536