John Avlon Reality Check 1119
Avlon: The real culpability belongs to Republican Trump allies
03:24 - Source: CNN
Washington CNN  — 

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has petitioned the United States Supreme Court to take up a lawsuit against Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Georgia, claiming that there are voting irregularities in each state that still require investigation.

The Supreme Court has already rejected a separate request to block certification of Pennsylvania’s election results which CNN legal expert Steve Vladeck said is a signal the court may not want to get involved in election-related disputes.

The filing from Texas contains numerous false claims of voter fraud, most of which have been repeatedly touted by President Donald Trump and his allies. Here’s a look at several of those claims.

Ballot dumps

The filing cites witness claims of “mysterious late night dumps of thousands of ballots at tabulation centers” as an example of the alleged “rampant lawlessness” present throughout the election process.

Facts First: There’s nothing inherently suspicious or mysterious about large batches of votes being reported late at night or even after Election Day.

Votes from mail-in ballots were often reported later on Election Day and afterwards because they couldn’t be counted ahead of time in many states, including Michigan and Pennsylvania. And in several of the lawsuits the brief referenced, judges determined the witness affidavits claiming they saw literal late night dumps of ballots were baseless and not evidence of fraud.

Poll watchers

According to the filing, video shows “poll watchers being blocked from entering vote counting centers—despite even having a court order to enter.”

Facts First: There is no evidence supporting claims that poll watchers were shut out of the process. There have been some instances where poll workers did not understand the rules but for the most part, registered poll watchers have been allowed at polling places.

Many of the Trump campaign’s previous attacks on poll watchers have been focused on swing states like Pennsylvania. It’s possible the suit is referring to one incident in Philadelphia in which a watcher who was registered for a different zone and different ward was initially not allowed into a polling location, due to confusion over city rules. Even in this case, the suit’s claim would be misleading because the poll watcher was ultimately allowed access.

Suitcases of ballots

The filing says there is video of “suitcases full of ballots being pulled out from underneath tables after poll watchers were told to leave.”

Facts First: The brief is likely referring to viral video footage of a ballot counting location in Fulton County, Georgia. After a review of the footage, state and county officials determined the events in the video were part of the normal process, not fraud. Though observers weren’t present at the time captured in the video, there was no announcement made telling them to leave, according to Fulton County Elections Director Richard Barron. And the objects pulled from under the table were ballot bins, not suitcases, according to election officials.

Gabriel Sterling, the voting systems implementation manager for the Georgia secretary of state’s office announced in a tweet early Friday morning that state investigators concluded the video showed “normal ballot processing.”

“Nothing we have learned from the independent monitor or our investigation have suggested any improper ballots were scanned,” the secretary of state’s office told CNN in a statement.

Asked in a December 4 Fulton County Board of Elections meeting why the bin was under the cloth covered table, giving the impression of something to hide, Barron responded that, “They put those ballot bins under their workspace because it’s the most convenient place to put those things.”

“There isn’t any reason for anything to be hidden,” he added. “It’s just the way the workspace is laid out.”

“The President’s team is intentionally misleading the public about what happened at State Farm Arena on election night,” Sterling tweeted Friday afternoon. “They had the whole video too and ignored the truth.”

Michigan “glitch”

The brief also suggests that a “glitch” occurred in Michigan, implying that Dominion voting machines were possibly at fault.

“In Michigan, which also employed the same Dominion voting system,” the brief says, “on November 4, 2020, Michigan election officials have admitted that a purported ‘glitch’ caused 6,000 votes for President Trump to be wrongly switched to Democrat Candidate Biden.”

Facts First: There was no technical glitch. It was human error and the issue was corrected and never affected the official vote total, according to state election officials.

According to a statement from Michigan’s State Department, an error occurred during the unofficial vote tabulation when a county clerk failed to update voting machine software, which caused votes to not properly combine “when the clerk reported unofficial results.”

“The software did not cause a misallocation of votes; it was a result of user human error,” the statement says.

The State Department also wrote that if the error had not been quickly corrected, there are separate measures in place to review and verify the unofficial results, including through a bipartisan group of canvassers.

Mail-in ballots

Under a section titled “Facts,” the brief claims “Absentee and mail-in voting are the primary opportunities for unlawful ballots to be cast” and suggest the expansion of mail-in voting in the election played a role in creating “a massive opportunity for fraud.”

The insinuation – that mail-in ballots are potentially rife with fraud – is one of the main themes touched upon throughout the lawsuit.

Facts First: Election experts have told CNN time and again that mail-in ballots are a safe form of voting and not subject to widespread fraud. There have been no reports from state election officials of either party of widespread voter fraud from mail-in ballots.

On November 12, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency issued a statement calling this year’s election “the most secure in American history.”

On November 17, Trump fired Chris Krebs, the director of the CISA, who continually debunked claims of widespread voter fraud following the election. In his tweet announcing Krebs’ removal, Trump falsely claimed Krebs made “highly inaccurate” claims about the security of the 2020 election.