As Georgia election officials on Jan. 5 announced a pause in vote counts in Chatham County, President Donald Trump stated that a big “voter dump” was being set up against GOP candidates Sens. Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.) and David Perdue in the Senate runoffs.
Chatham County’s Board of Elections Chairman Tom Mahoney said the night of Jan. 5 that election workers at the county’s elections annex who were processing absentee ballots had been sent home for the night and would return the following morning.
Election workers in Fulton County would also resume counting votes in the morning, while a reported technical issue was causing a delay in DeKalb County’s vote count, meaning some 19,000 ballots would be manually scanned to be tabulated and added to the total vote count.
“Looks like they are setting up a big ‘voter dump’ against the Republican candidates. Waiting to see how many votes they need?” Trump responded to the news in a Twitter post. In another tweet, he said: “Just happened to have found another 4000 ballots from Fulton County. Here we go!”
“Why are they stopping the vote count in Democrat Chatham county, Georgia? This sounds familiar!” added White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany.
Shortly after, Gabriel Sterling, the voting systems implementation manager for the Georgia secretary of state’s office, pushed back against swirling allegations of potential misconduct, stating that Chatham County “didn’t just stop.”
“They completed the counting of everything they have in. That includes Election Day, Advanced, & all of the absentees they had in. The last left will be the absentee by mail that came in today,” Sterling, a top official working out of Brad Raffensperger’s office, said on Twitter.
Georgia’s two runoff elections will determine which party controls the U.S. Senate. Loeffler was facing pastor Raphael Warnock, while Perdue was challenged by Jon Ossoff. Both Warnock and Ossoff are Democrats.
As of early Jan. 6, the runoff race was too close to call, but Warnock gave what appeared to be a victory speech, saying he had “proved that with hope, hard work and the people by our side, anything is possible.”
Loeffler told supporters that there was still a “path to victory,” adding, “We’re going to win this election.”
Trump’s remarks alleging a “voter dump” in the state echo a message on Dec. 23, in which he urged Americans to “stop the theft of the presidential election,” alleging vote spikes during the Nov. 3 election.
In a video statement to the nation last month, he noted how on the night of Nov. 3, he was leading in swing states including Michigan, Wisconsin, Georgia, and Pennsylvania. However, vote-counting stopped abruptly in the early hours of the next day, and a series of “massive and statistically inconceivable vote dumps” in the middle of the night overturned the results, he said.
“These gigantically ridiculous one-sided spikes were miraculously just enough to push Joe Biden into the lead in all of the key swing states. These glaring anomalies are just the tip of the iceberg,” he said.
Meanwhile, an analysis conducted by the Voter Integrity Project of The New York Times publicly reported data on the day of the election that showed several vote spikes that had unusually high Biden-to-Trump ratios, according to a report from White House trade adviser Peter Navarro.
“Such spikes or surges could well indicate that fraudulent ballots had been counted,” the report states.
Janita Kan and Mimi Nguyen Ly contributed to this report.