For the third time, counties across Georgia have certified votes from November’s presidential election.
The outcome is not expected to change, but legal challenges are still underway.
One involves a video from State Farm Arena that has since gone viral. President Trump’s lawyers and other supporters call it the smoking gun, proving election fraud.
Channel 2 investigative reporter Justin Gray spent the day with Georgia election officials, going through the video frame-by-frame to show everyone what really happened.
[SPECIAL SECTION: Election 2020]
Gray looked not at just the short clip the Trump campaign shared, but the critical hours before and after that clip as well.
State election investigators have already spent hours analyzing the video showing what Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani said was suitcases being pulled from under a table.
They were, in fact, official, sealed ballot containers.
“We can show exactly when they were placed in there,” lead investigator Frances Watson said.
Watson said they weren’t mystery ballots that came from a mystery location.
Video taken hours before shows the table being brought into the room at 8:22 a.m. Nothing was underneath the table then.
At 10 p.m., with the room full of people, including official monitors and the media, video shows ballots that had already been opened but not counted placed in the boxes, sealed up and stored under the table.
The reason? Employees thought they were done for the night.
“They were closing things up and getting ready to leave,” Watson said.
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Here’s where the confusion comes in:
Media and observers left as employees packed up. But Fulton’s election director called a supervisor at State Farm a few minutes later, telling them to keep counting after the Secretary of State’s office called and said they shouldn’t stop counting for the night so early.
After that call, employees pulled the containers of ballots back out and went back to work.
“No magically-appearing ballots,” Gabriel Sterling with the Secretary of State’s office said. “These were ballots that were processed in front of the monitors, processed in front of the monitors and placed there in front of the monitors.”
So what about the time gap between when the media and observers left and then the observers returned about an hour later? Employees scanned ballots.
“These are just typical everyday election workers are just doing their jobs,” Sterling said. “This is not some Ocean’s Eleven-level scheme being put together in the middle of the night.”
There was about an hour that workers scanned ballots before a state monitor arrived, but video shows those moments. The monitor then observed counting until they stopped for the night. The lead election investigator has looked at all that video and said that she saw no evidence of any wrongdoing.