President Donald Trump’s legal team on Dec. 3 presented surveillance footage at a Georgia state legislature hearing that appears to show ballot-counting workers telling poll observers late at night on Election Day to leave before continuing to count and pulling out what appears to be boxes filled with ballots.
In the hearing on Dec. 3, Jacki Pick, a lawyer who is volunteering with the campaign’s legal case, said the team received video footage from State Farm Arena’s vote-tabulation center in Fulton County, Georgia. The team said that GOP poll watchers weren’t allowed to watch the counting process in the poll center.
According to Pick, an unusual occurrence took place later in the evening at around 10 p.m. local time: A woman—described as a blonde woman with braids—told workers to stop counting and notified everyone to go home.
Describing the video footage, Pick said, “Everyone clears out, including the Republican observers and the press, but four people stay behind and continue counting and tabulating well into the night.” The four counted unobserved until about 1 a.m., according to the video.
Pick said that video footage shows Fulton County election workers waiting at their scanning areas until GOP poll observers and reporters left the room before they started “scanning ballots,” ostensibly without any observation.
WATCH: Footage of State Farm Arena in #Atlanta shows that after poll monitors and media were told counting was done, four workers stayed behind to count #ballots, at times pulling out suitcases containing ballots from underneath desks.
— The Epoch Times (@EpochTimes) December 3, 2020
Pick said that at 11 p.m., once everyone was gone, workers are seen pulling out the suitcase-looking containers and asked rhetorically whether it’s normal to “store suitcases of ballots under a table cloth.” After reviewing hours of the footage, she said that it doesn’t appear to be a normal procedure.
Georgia elections officials have since said those were not suitcases but container boxes that are used to store ballots.
Gabriel Sterling, the head of Georgia’s voting system implementation manager, told a fact-checking website after the footage was released that “if you look at the videotape, the work you see is the work you would expect, which is you take the sealed suitcase looking things in, you place the ballots on the scanner in manageable batches and you scan them.”
Frances Watson, the chief investigator for the Georgia secretary of state, also disputed some of Pick’s claims: “There wasn’t a bin that had ballots in it under that table. It was an empty bin and the ballots from it were actually out on the table when the media were still there, and then it was placed back into the box when the media were still there and placed next to the table.”
It’s unclear what she was referring to, as the video shows the containers being pulled from under a table.
Neither official explained to the website why the suitcase-looking boxes for ballots were kept under a table and were then taken out after other workers were—as Pick claimed—told to go home on Election Night after 10 p.m. They also did not say where the suitcases came from or who placed them under the table.
A Fulton County spokeswoman told The Epoch Times via email: “The video is not a credible report of voter fraud. The matter has already been investigated and it has been confirmed that there is no fraud.”
Watson said the area was still open to the public and that nobody told poll observers to stay or leave. But her claim and similar ones made by Fulton County officials, however, have been disputed by Georgia GOP Chair David Shafer, who on Thursday, wrote that the assertion that an observer was present during the process are “untrue, as the video shows. Our position is unchanged. Ballots were counted unlawfully and in secret.”
“Even had state monitors been present, the law still requires that ballot counting be open to partisan monitors and the public. But state monitors were not present, as the @GaSecofState now acknowledges and the video shows,” Shafer said.
Pick further alleged that the same woman with the blonde hair in braids, whom she said may have been the manager, had placed the table there earlier. It’s not clear where those ballots came from, and it’s not clear when the containers were placed under the table, Pick added.
Witnesses have sworn in affidavits that the counting continued until the early morning hours, Trump’s team said.
“Why are they counting them when the place is cleared out with no witnesses?” Pick said.
She argued that the number of ballots there is “beyond the margin of victory” in the presidential race. Three scanners—which can carry out several thousand ballot processes per hour—are believed to have been working for several hours until the early morning hours, she further stated.
According to a Michigan government copy (pdf) of “Dominion Functional Requirements,” certain Dominion devices can process up to 4,900 11-inch ballots per hour, while some can process 3,600 per hour, and others can produce between 360 to 455 ballots per hour. Dominion machines are used in Fulton County.
Following the video’s release, President Donald Trump said on Twitter that the video is significant evidence showing voter fraud.
“Wow! Blockbuster testimony taking place right now in Georgia,” Trump wrote. “Ballot stuffing by Dems when Republicans were forced to leave the large counting room. Plenty more coming, but this alone leads to an easy win of the State!”
In the hearing, it was noted that officials cleared out State Farm Arena on election night, allegedly due to a pipe break. Pick and other members of Trump’s team said it’s not clear whether this was the reason why poll workers and members of the press left after around 10 p.m.
Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, a Republican, told reporters this week that Fulton County “cut corners” during the second recount. Officials with the secretary of state’s office said last month that they were seeing “managerial sloppiness” and “chain of custody” issues in the county.
Fulton County Board of Commissioners Chairman Rob Pitts challenged the criticism during a public hearing on Dec. 3, saying he would give the county “an A+” for how it handled the election.
On Nov. 3, Regina Waller, the Fulton County public affairs manager for elections, told ABC News that the election department at State Farm Arena sent ballot counters home at 10:30 p.m. GOP officials later said, as shown on the video, that workers stayed behind to count. Richard Barron, the chief of the Fulton County Elections, told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution days later that five county workers stayed behind to do the counting.
Barron added that a state observer was present. Barron said that he was aware that there was a mistake, saying the GOP was welcome to observe.
But Shafer said Fulton County officials “falsely announced that the counting of ballots would stop at 10:30 p.m.”
“This video proves our allegation—that they continued counting ballots in secret until 1:00 am,” Shafer wrote in a tweet on Dec. 3. About a month before that, he noted that “no one disputes that Fulton County elected officials unlawfully resumed the counting of ballots after our observers left the center.”
Delays Due to Pipe Burst
According to statements by counting officials on the night of Nov. 3 a pipe burst caused a two-hour delay to vote counting in a room where absentee ballots were tabulated at the State Farm Arena in the early morning.
However, a local attorney who filed a records request about the burst pipe only received a brief text message exchange about the incident describing it as “highly exaggerated … a slow leak that caused about an hour-and-a-half delay” and that “we contained it quickly—it did not spread,” according to the text conversation that the attorney, Paul Dzikowski, shared with The Epoch Times.
“As it turns out, there never was a burst pipe or water main, which some news outlets reported,” Dzikowski told The Epoch Times in an email.
“The water inside [State Farm Arena] was caused by a leaking toilet, which, as you know, can be remedied by simply hand-turning off the water supply line to the toilet. In any event, the leak was minimal and was resolved in the early morning hours, well prior to the time the elections staff halted the counting.”
Zachary Stieber and Ivan Pentchoukov contributed to this report.
Update: This article was updated on Dec. 3, 2020, to include statements by officials.