Fox News Reporter Debunks Georgia Election Fraud Claims Made by Tucker Carlson and Sean Hannity

Fox News reporter Griff Jenkins debunked claims made on his own network that "mysterious" suitcases filled with ballots contributed to voter fraud in the Georgia election.

The 90-second clip, which was shared by President Donald Trump's personal attorney Rudy Giuliani at a hearing before Georgia's Senate Judiciary subcommittee on Thursday, shows election workers in Fulton County rolling containers—which Fox News reporters claimed were "suitcases"—from underneath a table at the State Farm Arena where ballot-counting took place on November 3. Jenkins, after speaking with Georgia officials, said on Friday morning that reports claiming the video showed unsupervised voter fraud were "simply not true."

"I just got off the phone with a senior source in the Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger's office, a Republican, who tells me that they had a designated observer at that spot all night, the entire time, and they've seen this video, they're familiar with the claims, and they said that they're simply not true," Jenkins said in a report on Friday morning. "The suggestion that Georgia vote counters were sent home and ballots were brought in in suitcases, also not true."

"What appears is reported as suitcases are actually the normal containers that ballots are put in," he continued. "That is not unusual, they say, for them."

Georgia election official Gabriel Sterling also debunked the voter fraud claims on Twitter, saying that the clip shows "normal ballot processing" as determined by investigators at the secretary of state's office, who watched hours of footage from security cameras at the State Farm Arena.

Counting votes
Ballots are checked on November 7, in Lawrenceville, Georgia. In response to some claims of voter fraud, Fox reporter Griff Jenkins said, "What appears is reported as suitcases are actually the normal containers that ballots are put in. That is not unusual, they say, for them." Elijah Nouvelage/Getty Images

All three Fox News prime-time hosts—Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham—showed the clip on Thursday night during their respective shows. Hannity claimed, "Shortly after observers were asked to leave the room, several large, mysterious suitcases, they believe filled with ballots, were rolled out from under a table."

Sterling told Lead Stories on Thursday that election workers who were in charge of opening absentee ballot envelopes and verifying ballots for scanning and counting were dismissed that night after they finished their portion of the process. The workers shown in the video stayed because they were responsible for scanning the ballots—prepared by the dismissed election workers—since ballots couldn't be left overnight without being scanned.

"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," Sterling said.

Frances Watson, the chief investigator for the Georgia secretary of state office, confirmed that the containers seen in the video weren't suitcases, but rather the normal bins used for the ballot counting process.

"There wasn't a bin that had ballots in it under that table," Watson told Lead Stories. "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."

Watson added that the media were never told to leave as the claims indicate, but rather that the location "was still open for them or the public to come back in to view at whatever time they wanted to, as long as [election workers] were still working." She said that the ballots that had already been opened in front of the observers were the only ones scanned after the media and other observers left.

Following Jenkins' initial report that these claims were false, Fox & Friends hosts weren't convinced, claiming that the reason for Republican-led reports of voter fraud in Georgia is due to the high number of mail-in ballots caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Various lawsuits filed by the Trump campaign alleging widespread voter fraud in numerous states have proven unsuccessful since Election Day. However, the lawsuits continue in key swing states, including Georgia, from both parties.

Last week, attorney Sidney Powell, a former lawyer for the Trump campaign, filed a lawsuit in Georgia seeking to decertify the results of the election, which upheld President-elect Joe Biden as the state's winner by a slim margin. Trump's legal team said on Thursday that they expect to file a lawsuit in Fulton County Superior Court alleging voter fraud in the county.

On Wednesday, voter advocacy groups in Georgia filed a lawsuit seeking to restore nearly 200,000 names to the state's voter registration list ahead of the Senate runoffs in January. The groups said that the state had improperly removed 198,000 people last year due to changes in their addresses.

Newsweek reached out to Fox News for comment but did not hear back in time for publication.