The claim: More than 60,000 children voted in 2020 in Georgia
An Aug. 17 Facebook post (direct link, archive link) shows a photo of an election worker sorting ballots and includes the text of a post on X, formerly Twitter, about claims of election fraud in 2020 in Georgia.
Among a litany of false claims, the post says, “Shockingly, 66,248 individuals under 18 were allowed to vote.”
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Our rating: False
State officials say no underage people voted in the election. A lawyer for former President Donald Trump’s 2020 campaign cited that number in a hearing with state lawmakers, and he now is charged with making false statements.
Claim included in indictment of Trump, allies
Georgia has been a hot spot for misinformation about election fraud ever since President Joe Biden beat Trump there by just 12,000 votes in the 2020 election.
This particular claim resurfaced on social media in the days after Trump and 18 allies were indicted in Fulton County, Georgia, over their efforts to overturn his election loss in that state – even as it appeared in a list of false statements on page 26 of the 98-page indictment.
One of the people charged, Atlanta-based Trump campaign attorney Ray Stallings Smith III, made the same claim during a Georgia Senate hearing in December 2020. He is charged with felony false statements and writings, and prosecutors say the claim and others like it are not true.
USA TODAY reached out to Smith for comment but did not immediately receive a response.
The claim has been debunked multiple times by Georgia officials.
No one younger than 18 voted in Georgia in 2020, a lawyer for the secretary of state’s office told lawmakers in a hearing held a month after the election.
Ryan Germany, the office’s general counsel at the time, told the Governmental Affairs Committee of the Georgia House of Representatives that four people requested ballots before they turned 18. But each of them reached the legal voting age before the Nov. 3, 2020, election, “which means they’re allowed to vote,” Germany said.
Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger also debunked the claim in a January 2021 letter to three GOP members of Congress from Georgia.
“Georgia’s voters have witnessed false stolen election claims from both sides of the aisle,” Mike Hassinger, a spokesperson for Raffensperger’s office, said in an email to USA TODAY. “On Nov. 8, 2022, the voters of Georgia completely rejected election deniers, and like Georgia voters, our office has moved on.”
USA TODAY reached out to Germany, now a lawyer at the Atlanta law firm of Gilbert Harrell, for comment but did not immediately receive a response.
No unregistered voters cast ballots
The post contained several other false claims, many of which also were included in the indictment.
- Claim: More than 2,000 felons voted illegally. | False: Germany said the office was investigating 74 cases of felons who may have voted.
- Claim: More than 2,000 people weren’t registered. | False: Raffensperger said in his letter that there were no votes cast by unregistered voters because they “cannot be given credit for voting in Georgia unless they are registered to vote.”
- Claim: More than 10,000 dead people voted. | False: While Raffensperger said in the letter that his office found two potential instances of dead people voting, “the allegation that a large number of dead people voted in Georgia is not supported by any evidence.”
- Claim: More than 1,000 voters registered using post office boxes. | False: A Google search showed many of those addresses are apartments, Raffensperger said in the letter.
- Claim: Nearly 400 people “double-voted” across states. | False: An investigation by Raffensperger’s office found many of those supposed double-voters are not the same people, he said in the letter.
USA TODAY reached out to the social media users for comment but did not immediately receive a response.
Our fact-check sources:
- Robert Sinners, Aug. 18, Email exchange with USA TODAY
- Georgia House of Representatives (YouTube), Dec. 23, 2020, Governmental Affairs 12.23.20
- Georgia Secretary of State, Jan. 6, 2021, Letter to Reps. Jody Hice, Barry Loudermilk, Sen. Kelly Loeffler
- 11 Alive (YouTube), Dec. 3, 2020, Second Georgia Senate election hearing
- 11 Alive, Dec. 23, 2020, State debunks voter ‘fraud’ claims line-by-line
- Washington Post, Aug. 14, Indictment, Fulton Superior Court
- USA TODAY, Aug. 15, Donald Trump charged in sweeping Georgia indictment alongside Republican allies: recap
- USA TODAY, June 1, 2021, Fact check: No evidence of fraud in Georgia election results
- Gilbert Harrell, accessed Aug. 17, C. Ryan Germany
- Smith & Liss LLC, accessed Aug. 18, Ray S. Smith III
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