KEY POINTS

  • Only four absentee ballots were from dead voters, said investigators
  • All four ballots were submitted by the relatives of deceased voters
  • The State Election Board may levy fines of up to $5,000

A conspiracy theory promoted by former President Donald Trump claiming that thousands of dead people voted in Georgia during the November election has been debunked by investigators.

In early January, Trump claimed 5,000 dead Georgians voted in the election during a phone call with Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger.

“The other thing, dead people. So dead people voted. And I think the number is in the — close to 5,000 people. And they went to obituaries. They went to all sorts of methods to come up with an accurate number. And a minimum is close to about 5,000 voters,” Trump told Raffensperger.

However, an investigation launched by the state’s election officers found only four absentee ballots from dead voters. All four ballots were submitted by the deceased people’s family members, as first reported by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Monday.

In one case, a 74-year-old widow of William Nelson submitted an absentee ballot even after he died in September 2020, noting that he “was going to vote Republican.”

In another case, Trion resident Sherry Cook submitted an absentee ballot for her husband, Donald Cook, who passed away months before the November election. The family claimed he signed the ballot before his death. However, as per the investigators, it was impossible because the ballot wasn’t issued until after his death.

State election investigators also debunked a claim made by the Trump campaign that cited the vote of James Blalock as evidence of fraud. Blalock was a Covington resident who died in 2006. Officers confirmed that his widow, who is legally named Mrs. James Blalock, was the one who voted and not her husband.

It is unclear whether the four Georgians who submitted the absentee ballots of their dead relatives would be prosecuted. The State Election Board may levy fines of between $100 and $5,000.

The report comes after the House select committee investigating the attack at the Capitol on Jan. 6 announced it would focus on investigating a phone call Trump made to his “top lieutenants” at the Willard Intercontinental Hotel to discuss ways to steal the election. The call was made just hours before a mob of pro-Trump supporters stormed the Capitol.

The group was led by Trump’s lawyers -- Rudy Giuliani, John Eastman, Boris Epshteyn, and Trump strategist Steve Bannon, according to The Guardian.

Former US president Donald Trump withdrew Washington from the nuclear pact in 2018
Former US president Donald Trump withdrew Washington from the nuclear pact in 2018 AFP / Andy JACOBSOHN
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