‘I screamed in my car’: A Georgia election official debunks Trump’s ‘ridiculous claims’ from the president’s leaked phone call with Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger

Gabriel Sterling, the voting-systems manager for the Georgia secretary of state’s office, implored political leaders to condemn threats and violence against election workers. Jessica McGowan/Getty Images
  • Gabriel Sterling, a voting-system implementation manager in Georgia, fact-checked a wide range of President Donald Trump’s new and old baseless election and voter-fraud claims on Monday.
  • Sterling’s latest weekly news conference came the day after multiple news organisations published audio of a stunning hour-long call in which Trump tried to pressure Georgia’s secretary of state, Brad Raffensperger, to reverse the state’s election results.
  • Sterling said he screamed into his computer and in his car when he heard Trump repeating debunked conspiracy theories about ballots being tampered with at State Farm Arena.
  • “Again, this is all easily, provably, false,” Sterling said. “Yet, the president persists. And by doing so, undermines Georgians’ faith in the election system, especially Republican Georgians.”
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At a news conference Monday, Georgia’s voting-system implementation manager, Gabriel Sterling, tried to fact-check as many of President Donald Trump’s election and voter-fraud claims as possible.

It was the latest in a series of news conferences that Sterling has dubbed “anti-disinformation Mondays” or “Groundhog Day Mondays” of refuting the same general falsehoods and misconceptions about the November election.

Sterling, at times appearing exacerbated, emphasised that the state had conducted a thorough audit of its results and that voters should not “self-censor” by refusing to vote in Tuesday’s Senate runoff elections because of Trump’s mischaracterization of the November election as fraudulent.

The news conference came the day after the leaking of a Saturday phone call in which the president urged Georgia’s secretary of state, Brad Raffensperger, to “find” thousands of votes to retroactively flip the Peach State’s results in Trump’s favour.

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Sterling was flanked Monday by a large chart showing Trump’s accusations juxtaposed with facts about the way Georgia conducts its elections.

“We see nothing in our investigations of any of these data claims that shows nearly enough ballots to change the outcome,” Sterling said.

Sterling debunked a series of false claims about Georgia’s election in rapid succession:

  • Sterling refuted an oft-repeated conspiracy theory about ballots being tampered with and pulled out of suspicious suitcases at State Farm Arena on video. Sterling noted that the full video footage of everything that happened that day had been posted and reviewed by the local news organisation WSB-TV.
  • “I wanted to scream — well, I did scream at the computer, and I screamed in my car at the radio talking about this because this has been thoroughly debunked,” Sterling said of his thoughts when he heard Trump on his call with Raffensperger repeating a false version of the events, adding that Trump’s legal team “watched the entire tape, and from our point of view, intentionally misled the state senate” about it at an election-integrity hearing.
  • He also said that, contrary to some claims, workers did not scan the same ballots multiple times, noting that every county’s tally sheets were available on the secretary of state’s website.
  • Sterling debunked the Trump legal team’s claim that 2,056 felons illegally voted in Georgia’s elections, saying the secretary of state’s office had identified only 74 votes possibly cast by ineligible felons.
  • He also refuted the Trump team’s claim that as many as 66,248 underage voters cast ballots in the November election, saying that only four 17-year-olds requested mail ballots because they were set to turn 18 by Election Day.
  • Sterling said that contrary to the Trump team’s claims, 2,423 unregistered voters did not cast ballots. “You can’t do it,” he said. “There cannot be a ballot issued to you, there’s no way to tie it back to you, there’s no way to have a name to correspond back to unless they’re registered voters, so that number is zero.”
  • Sterling added that 1,043 voters who the Trump campaign claimed to have voted illegally from a PO Box were really registered at multifamily homes, such as apartments. “We have not seen anyone registering to vote at a USPS PO Box,” he said.
  • Sterling said the secretary of state’s office found no evidence of voters registering or voting without being registered after the voter-registration deadline.
  • Sterling said the secretary of state’s office was investigating 395 possible cases of double voting but had not found a confirmed case yet. “We’re talking handfuls, not tens of thousands,” Sterling said of any fraudulent votes.
  • Sterling debunked several of Trump’s baseless claims attacking voting technology made by Dominion Voting Systems, saying there was no evidence of machines “flipping” votes. “Again, this is all easily, provably, false,” he said. “Yet, the president persists. And by doing so, undermines Georgians’ faith in the election system, especially Republican Georgians.”
  • Sterling dismissed claims about Dominion that Trump made in the call with Raffensperger, saying: “No one is changing parts or pieces out of Dominion Voting Machines. I don’t know what that means. That’s not a real thing.”
  • Addressing an allegation made during a recent Senate hearing, Sterling said there was no evidence of election equipment being hacked. “First of all, ballot-marking devices and scanners, neither of them have modems,” he said. “It’s very hard to hack them without modems — there’s nothing to talk to.”
  • “There is no shredding of ballots going on,” Sterling said. “That’s not real, that’s not happening.”