A report published by Just the News on Aug. 8 suggests there might have been more tampering with 2020 voting ballots than recorded. The outlet obtained records as well as copies of ballots from Fulton County, GA, to demonstrate the overvoting and adjudication that took place during the election.
In one example, ballot 5150-232-18 showed a sloppily covered circle next to then-President Donald Trump’s name and then a checkmark next to then-candidate Joe Biden. The Dominion voting machine rejected it, deciding it was overvoting so neither should get the vote. On Nov. 4, 2020, 24 hours after being discarded by the machine, humans viewed it and chose Biden as who they thought the voter intended.
This process – manually choosing a vote that the machine has rejected – is known as adjudication. In this example, it is probably understandable why the staff chose the Democratic candidate since the voter’s other choices were in that party line. However, the instructions – which are printed at the top of the ballot – specifically state that if a mistake is made, the ballot must be returned with “spoiled” written across it. “If you make a mistake or change your mind or change your mind on a selection do not attempt to mark through the selection or attempt to erase. Write ‘Spoiled’ across the ballot and across the return envelope” and then get a new one to make the proper choices.
Yet, Just the News reported that hundreds of ballots that should have been deemed spoiled were manually “fixed” and counted. The news source reviewed 1,604 pages of adjudication logs just from Fulton County, plus 4,820 of the 5,064 “ballot images where human vote counters reviewed or overrode the Dominion Voting machines.” JTN said its “review provided an unprecedented window into the extraordinary discretion accorded adjudication judges to interpret a voter’s intent on flawed ballot.”
Part of the problem is conflicting rules. While it clearly states any mistakes will result in marking a ballot as spoiled and to be returned while a new one is filled out, another instruction directs the judges to manually determine for whom the vote was intended. While some may view it as common sense that a voter who chose all Democrat candidates elsewhere on the ballot would likely choose a Dem for president, state law as well as ballot instructions clarify clearly that those ballots are not to be tallied.
Another example, much more worrisome, was discarded and marked spoiled even though there were no obvious mistakes. The voter had chosen Trump as well as Republicans across the board, yet it was still rejected manually. “In all, 1,341 marks were removed from the names of candidates on the 5,000 ballots, a computer analysis of the logs showed,” JTN explained.
Georgia is not the only place where such incidents took place. Former Kansas attorney general and head of the Amistad Project Phill Kline said similar actions also took place in Detroit, Philadelphia, Green Bay, and other major urban centers in swing states. “This happens every year,” he explained. “But in 2020 laws requiring both parties to review this process weren’t followed.”
Instead, Kline used Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg as an example: “With COVID as an excuse, election observers were kicked out of the counting room and private billionaires invited in.” He called for more action from government: “Americans deserve to know how this shadow government managed the election, and state election officials, rather than fighting efforts to understand what happened, should open the doors and support the effort to get at the truth!”
Read more from Kelli Ballard.