Even More Problematic Statements from Georgia Election Officials About the 'Smoking Gun' Video

AP Photo/Mike Stewart

As we’ve previously reported, Georgia election officials came out with a response to try to explain the ‘smoking gun’ video that showed them allegedly throwing out poll watchers and then continuing to count ballots. Poll watchers have alleged they were told that the counting was going to stop.


Election officials are now claiming they never told the poll watchers that and the poll watchers just left of their own accord. “The media and party observers were never told to leave because counting was over for the night” claims the official “Fact Check” on the video story by Lead Stories.

According to the “Fact Check,” this was the story from Frances Watson, chief investigator for the Georgia secretary of state:

There was never an announcement made to the media and other observers about the counting being over for the night and them needing to leave, according to Watson, who was provided information by the media liaison, who was present. She said they just followed the “cutters” as they left.

She said:

Nobody told them to stay. Nobody told them to leave. Nobody gave them any advice on what they should do. And It was still open for them or the public to come back in to view at whatever time they wanted to, as long as they were still working.

In addition, she explained that the only ballots that were scanned after the media and other observers had left were those that had already been opened in front of these observers.

Except that’s not quite true, as we explained.

The poll watchers reportedly signed sworn affidavits that they were told that. But additionally, we know the media was told that counting would be over for the night because there are multiple stories still up from that night. To say that there was “never an announcement counting would be over from the night just beggars the facts of those stories, reporting how the counting was going to stop at 10:30, exactly the time the poll watchers and the media were ejected from the room by the election officials.


I remember hearing about “stopping the count” early on Election Night. I thought, are they kidding? They have one job and they’re going home?

Georgia is going to have to explain things like this from ABC, tweeted on Election Night at 10:34 after the media was told the count was stopping.

Here’s the local news, the Marietta Daily Journal even reporting it.

Even NBC News reported it, The Week observed in their critique that night.

It’s bedtime in Georgia! In Fulton County — the state’s most populous county, which includes Atlanta — officials said they would stop counting mail-in ballots at 10:30 p.m., with the plan of resuming in the morning, NBC News reports. Hey, that’s fine, it’s not like we’re in the middle of an incredibly contentious election or anything!

So how does their investigator not know this and what’s their explanation for the contradictory story?

There’s another conflict in the official story. A senior source in the Secretary of State’s office told Fox News that there was a “designated observer,” there the whole time. But that’s not true and creates a false impression on a couple of counts.


There was a state election board monitor present from 11:52 to 12:45 p.m. and the deputy chief investigator for the secretary of state’s office was present beginning at 12:15 a.m., accord to that monitor.

As Jenny Beth Martin, a co-Founder of the Tea Party, observes:

So first, this is not acting in accordance with these provisions of holding it “in public.” Moreover, the party poll watchers are entitled to be there.

Second, even then the state election official monitor didn’t show up until 11:52. So there wasn’t someone there “the whole time.” There was no one there for 82 minutes from 10:30 to 11:52.

So yes, it certainly appeared there was a whole lot of scanning going on in those 82 minutes.


So really, there needs to be a better explanation of all of this if they want people to be reassured of what went on here. And telling contradictory and easily disprovable things does not engender confidence.



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