Countering Lies about the 2020 Presidential Election
The first edition of this report was released by the Voter Protection Program in January 2021.
In the months before and after the November 3, 2020 presidential election, President Trump and his supporters have sought to undermine the results of the election in the major battleground states by claiming—or, more often, merely alluding to—fraud and other election conspiracies. These falsehoods continue to fuel the beliefs that led to the deadly attack on the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021, during the Joint Session of Congress to certify the Electoral College vote.
The allegations are meritless. They are either (1) entirely without basis, (2) reflect a profound ignorance of state election law and procedure, and/or (3) seek to argue that the results are unreliable simply because there is no way definitively to prove a negative, that is, that there was no fraud.
The allegations are also repudiated in both the court of law and the court of public opinion. For months, President Trump and his supporters have tested their theories in multiple courts of law, and they have lost every case of any consequence. When offered opportunities to present evidence, they have failed. That these claims continue to propagate amongst Trump’s most fervent supporters, including some elected officials, does not change the fact: the 2020 election was fair, secure, and accurate. Democrats and Republicans won seats up and down the ticket. President Trump lost the election. And nothing in the law or the facts can change the outcome.
Nevertheless, these myths continue to evolve and make the rounds in speeches, legislative hearings, in press hits, and on social media, So, in this guide we offer a state-by-state compendium of the falsehoods that have been circulating and attendant rebuttals to help negate the deadly effects of the ongoing public conspiracy mongering.1 We use the term “election extremists” throughout this guide to refer to those who have propounded these particular falsehoods about the November election, or may do so in the future. The lies may persevere on the fringe with election extremists, but we will continue to fight them.
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Ballot Duplication Errors
Georgia’s Signature Verification Process
A Georgia statute requires election officials to compare the signatures of absentee voters on absentee ballot envelopes to the voters’ signatures on registration rolls and if the signatures do not match to reject the ballots, subject to voters’ ability to cure their ballots.2 Ga. Code. Ann. § 21-2-386(a).
In March 2020, pursuant to a settlement agreement, the secretary of state agreed to require three voting registrars to participate in signature verification before an absentee ballot was rejected and to implement procedures to facilitate voters’ ability to cure rejected signatures. The new signature verification regulation was implemented for the 2020 general election.
Alleged Unlawful Votes in the Georgia Election
Court Cases Addressing Georgia’s Election
Allegations that More than 10,000 Confirmed or Suspected Deceased Individuals Voted
Lack of a Pre-Certification Audit as Allegedly Contrary to Michigan Law
Absent Voter Counting Boards at the Detroit TCF Center
Many of the attacks on the validity of the vote count in Nevada were comprehensively addressed and rejected after extensive examination of the factual record by Judge James Todd Russell of the First Judicial District Court of the State of Nevada in his order of December 4, 2020. That order granted the motion of the Biden electors to dismiss the statement of contest brought by the Trump electors, and together with other cases, definitively rejected claims of wrongdoing.28 Judge Russell’s Order Granting Mot. to Dismiss Statement of Contest (“Russell Order”) is available at https://assets.documentcloud.org/documents/20420186/order-granting-motion-to-dismiss-statement-of-contest-1.pdf. Judge Russell’s order was unanimously affirmed by the Supreme Court of Nevada on December 8, 2020. 29 Law v. Whitmer, 2020 WL 7240299 (Nev. 2020). Available at Appendix B.
Voter Fraud, Double Voters, Etc.
Constitutionality of Act 77
Ballot Receipt and Postmark Extension
Notice and Cure of Deficient Ballots
Discrepancies in the Number of Ballots
Indefinitely Confined Voters
Ballot Curing Violations & Applications for Absentee Ballots
Collection of Absentee Ballots
The Election Denier Landscape
Replacing the Refs: 2023 Statewide Races & 2024 Presidential Candidates
New Survey: Institutional Investors Believe American Democracy Is Increasingly At Risk
We use the term “election extremists” throughout this guide to refer to those who have propounded these particular falsehoods about the November election, or may do so in the future.
Ga. Code. Ann. § 21-2-386(a).
See, L. Lin Wood, Jr., v. Brad Raffensperger, et al., 1-20-cv-04651-SDG (N.D. Ga. Nov. 13, 2020).
see Wood v. Raffensperger, 2020 WL 6817513 (N.D. Ga. Nov. 20, 2020), aff’d, 2020 WL 7094866 (11th Cir. Dec. 5, 2020); Order Denying Mot. For Expedited Declaratory and Injunctive Relief, Trump v. Kemp, 1:20-cv-05310 (N.D. Ga. Jan. 5, 2021); Boland v. Raffensperger, No. 2020-CV-343018 (Fulton Cnty. Sup. Ct. Dec. 8, 2020), aff’d, No. S21M0565 (Ga. 15, 2020).
Wood, 2020 WL 6817513 at *10; Trump v. Kemp, 1:20-cv-05310, slip op. at 22–25; Boland, No. 2020 CV 343018, slip op. at 5–6 & n.3, available at https://www.democracydocket.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/45/2020/11/2020.12.8-Final-Order-Granting-MTDs-2020CV343018-Boland-v.-Raffensperger-et-al.-KH623927x9D7F4.pdf.[/footnote]
- Steven Grimberg, a Trump-appointed federal district court judge in the Northern District of Georgia, dismissed the Wood lawsuit in an opinion that fully addressed the merits of his claims.[footnote] Wood, 2020 WL 6817513 at *10.
at *9 -*12.
Wood v. Raffensperger, 981 F.3d 1307, 1318 (11th Cir. 2020).
Boland, No. 2020CV343018 at 5 n. 3; Wood, 2020 WL 6817513 at *10.
Boland, No. 2020CV343018 at 5 n. 3; Wood, 2020 WL 6817513 at *10.
Wood, 2020 WL 6817513 at *10.
Id. at *7.
Additional expert reports rebutting these claims were filed with the court. See, e.g., Callais Decl., Pearson v. Kemp, No. 20-cv-04809 (N.D. Ga. Dec. 5, 2020) (submitting expert reports of Dr. Stephen Ansolabehere, Dr. Jonathan Rodden, Dr. Kenneth R. Mayer, and William Marble), available at https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/18694655/62/pearson-v-kemp/.[/footnote]
- Geels, on the other hand, is prone to misinterpreting minor errors that he found. As MIT Professor Charles Stewart noted in his expert report: “The anomalies Mr. Geels uncovers are generally minor typographical and clerical errors that are neither signs of fraudulent behavior nor [of] lax control over election administration in the state.” (See Appendix A for Stewart’s expert report).
- The numbers of alleged unlawful votes were generated by cross-checking databases. Matching voters’ names from one database to entries in other databases (like change of address or death records) is highly unreliable, in part because different people with identical names and birth dates are not uncommon in large databases. Georgia’s voter registration database includes about 7.7 million people. When it is cross-checked with databases containing hundreds of millions of datapoints, numerous mistaken matches are inevitable.
- As Ansolabehere notes, clerical errors, inconsistencies, and typographical errors in fields such as name, address, and date of birth can create significant errors in attempts to link records across different lists. This includes the example of linking a voter file to National Change of Address, telephone records, death registries, or across different states’ voter files. Both false positives (matches that should not have occurred) and false negatives (matches that did not occur but should have) arise.[footnote] See Ansolabahere, Response to Matthew Braynard Expert Report, at ¶ 32, Pearson v. Kemp, No. 20-cv-04809 (N.D. Ga. Dec. 5, 2020).
Wood, 2020 WL 6817513 at *12.
Boland, No. 2020CV343018; see also Trump v. Kemp, 1:20-cv-05310, slip op. at *22; In re Enforcement of Election Laws, No. SPCV2000982-J3 (Ga. Sup. Ct. Nov. 5, 2020).
Wood, 2020 WL 6817513 at *9-*12.
Wood, 981 F.3d at 1318.
Dec. 7 2020, Pearson v. Kemp, No. 1:20-cv-4809 (N.D. Ga.), available at https://www.washingtonpost.com/context/judge-dismisses-sidney-powell-bid-to-overturn-biden-win-in-georgia/4f4ffba0-0d59-4516-aee9-738b52f7f925/.
Id. at 43.
Bowyer v. Ducey, No. CV-20-02321-PHX-DJH, 2020 WL 7238261, at *14 (D. Ariz. Dec. 9, 2020).
Id. at *16.
Order on Case Status, Trump v. Raffensperger, No. 2020-cv-343255 (Ga. Sup. Ct. Fulton Cnty. Dec. 9, 2020).
Trump v. Raffensperger, No. S21M0561 (Ga. Dec. 12, 2020).
Trump v. Kemp, 1:20-cv-05310, slip op. at 16.
Judge Russell’s Order Granting Mot. to Dismiss Statement of Contest (“Russell Order”) is available at https://assets.documentcloud.org/documents/20420186/order-granting-motion-to-dismiss-statement-of-contest-1.pdf.
Law v. Whitmer, 2020 WL 7240299 (Nev. 2020). Available at Appendix B.
Russell Order at ¶¶ 73–74.
NVSOS Facts v. Myths Sheet, available at https://www.nvsos.gov/sos/home/showdocument?id=9191.
at 1 (Fact #2).
Id. at 2 (Fact #4).
Id. at 2 (Fact #5).
Russell Order at ¶¶ 72–79.
at ¶ 78.
Id. at ¶¶ 92–94, 100–101, 102–103.
Id. at ¶¶ 106–107
at ¶ 45 (quoting Krause v. Cegavske, slip op. at 9).
Id. at 2:2-7.
Id. at ¶ 43.
See, e.g., id. at ¶¶ 43–50.
Id. at ¶¶ 92–97.
Voting Rights Act of 1965, 52 USC § 10502(e); Nev. Rev. Stat. § 298.250.
National Voter Registration Act, 52 USC § 20507.
Voting Rights Act of 1965, 52 USC § 10502(e).
See Associated Press, Nevada military voters fear they’re part of unsupported fraud claim, RENO GAZETTE JOURNAL, Nov. 13, 2020, available at https://www.rgj.com/story/news/politics/2020/11/13/nevada-military-families-drawn-into-gops-unsupported-ballot-fraud-claim/6280312002/.
See Newsroom, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, Facts and Statistics, Nevada, available at https://newsroomchurchofjesuschrist.org/fact-and-statistics/state/Nevada.
Voting Rights Act of 1965, 52 U.S.C. § 10502(e).
Rev. Stat. § 298.250.
Rev. Stat. § 293.487.
Nev. Rev. Stat. § 293.497.
Russell Order, supra, at ¶ 101.
Russell Order, supra, at ¶¶ 140–156, 162.
Id. at ¶¶ 110–113.
Id. at ¶ 112.
Law v. Whitmer, 2020 WL 7240299 (Nev. Dec. 8, 2020).
For a more detailed account of these arguments, see Opposition of Respondents to Emergency Application at 19–21, Kelly v. Commonwealth, No. 20A98 (Dec. 8, 2020).
For a more detailed account of these arguments, see Secretary of the Commonwealth Kathy Boockvar’s Brief in Opposition to Motion for Injunctive Relief at 9-11, Donald J. Trump for President, Inc., 830 Fed. App’x 377; and Donald J. Trump for President, Inc., 2020 WL 6821992, at *11–13.
For a more detailed account of these arguments, see Secretary of the Commonwealth Kathy Boockvar’s Brief in Opposition to Motion for Injunctive Relief at 10–11, Donald J. Trump for President, Inc., 830 Fed. App’x 377; Donald J. Trump for President, Inc., 2020 WL 6821992 at *13–15; and Donald J. Trump for President, Inc., 830 Fed. App’x 377.