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Photo shows poll worker in Pennsylvania, not Georgia senator

December 8, 2020 GMT
In video captured by The Associated Press, a woman counts ballots in Pittsburgh on Nov. 7, 2020. There have been posts erroneously claiming that the image captures Democratic Sen. Elena Parent, of Atlanta, counting votes. Posts making the erroneous claim compared the photo of the ballot counter with video and photos of Parent at a recent state Senate hearing examining alleged electoral fraud in Georgia. Parent confirmed to the AP that she was not in Pennsylvania at the time. (AP Photo)
In video captured by The Associated Press, a woman counts ballots in Pittsburgh on Nov. 7, 2020. There have been posts erroneously claiming that the image captures Democratic Sen. Elena Parent, of Atlanta, counting votes. Posts making the erroneous claim compared the photo of the ballot counter with video and photos of Parent at a recent state Senate hearing examining alleged electoral fraud in Georgia. Parent confirmed to the AP that she was not in Pennsylvania at the time. (AP Photo)
In video captured by The Associated Press, a woman counts ballots in Pittsburgh on Nov. 7, 2020. There have been posts erroneously claiming that the image captures Democratic Sen. Elena Parent, of Atlanta, counting votes. Posts making the erroneous claim compared the photo of the ballot counter with video and photos of Parent at a recent state Senate hearing examining alleged electoral fraud in Georgia. Parent confirmed to the AP that she was not in Pennsylvania at the time. (AP Photo)
In video captured by The Associated Press, a woman counts ballots in Pittsburgh on Nov. 7, 2020. There have been posts erroneously claiming that the image captures Democratic Sen. Elena Parent, of Atlanta, counting votes. Posts making the erroneous claim compared the photo of the ballot counter with video and photos of Parent at a recent state Senate hearing examining alleged electoral fraud in Georgia. Parent confirmed to the AP that she was not in Pennsylvania at the time. (AP Photo)
In video captured by The Associated Press, a woman counts ballots in Pittsburgh on Nov. 7, 2020. There have been posts erroneously claiming that the image captures Democratic Sen. Elena Parent, of Atlanta, counting votes. Posts making the erroneous claim compared the photo of the ballot counter with video and photos of Parent at a recent state Senate hearing examining alleged electoral fraud in Georgia. Parent confirmed to the AP that she was not in Pennsylvania at the time. (AP Photo)

CLAIM: Photo captures Democratic Sen. Elena Parent of Atlanta counting votes. 

AP’S ASSESSMENT: False. The photo shows a woman counting ballots in Pittsburgh on Nov. 7, not Parent, according to video captured by The Associated Press. Posts making the erroneous claim compared the photo of the ballot counter with video and photos of Parent at a recent State Senate hearing examining alleged electoral fraud in Georgia. Parent confirmed to the AP that she was not in Pennsylvania at the time. 

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THE FACTS: This week, social media users shared a screenshot of a woman counting ballots at the Allegheny County elections warehouse and wrongly identified the poll worker as Parent. The image of the poll worker was shared on Facebook and Twitter, with posts questioning why the state senator would be involved in vote counting.

State Senator Elena Parent of Georgia is seen here counting ballots in Pa? Not sure that’s lawful Senator…,” wrote a user on Facebook on Dec. 6. The Facebook user posted footage of the poll worker, alongside a photo of Parent from the hearing. The post had over 3,000 shares. 

“Elena Parent, Democratic Senator, why are you opening ballots and in counting rooms? I didn’t know a senators job description was to work in election counting rooms?” wrote another Twitter user on Dec. 5. 

The posts came on the heels of a hearing last week, where Parent, a member of the state’s Senate Judiciary Committee, countered claims of voting fraud in Georgia. 

These discredited claims are being made because I told the truth to Trump’s legal team during the election hearing: No ‘evidence’ was being presented to Georgia State Senators that was new and there is no evidence of widespread fraud in Georgia’s November election,” Parent told the AP in an email. 

“The allegations are false. I am not depicted in the video or stills,” Parent explained. “I have not been to Pennsylvania anytime in 2020 and I have never counted ballots in a state or local election.”

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The Associated Press has debunked multiple social media posts claiming to show evidence of voting irregularities in Georgia, including a surveillance video which was falsely described as showing poll workers in Atlanta taking suitcases of ballots from under a table, and scanning them without any supervision. According to Georgia election officials, the video showed regular ballot containers on wheels, not suitcases. Both an independent monitor and an investigator oversaw the vote count, state and county officials said.

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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