In the early afternoon on January 5, President Donald Trump tweeted about “reports” that “Dominion Machines are not working in certain Republican Strongholds” in the 2021 Georgia runoff elections for the U.S. Senate. However, the issue Trump referenced, which was initially mentioned by a right-wing talk radio host, was already resolved by the time of his complaint.
About two hours before Trump’s tweet, The Gateway Pundit posted an article about right-wing talk radio host, blogger, and Trump 2020 advisory board member John Fredericks claiming that voting machines made by Dominion Voting Systems were, according to the article, “breaking down in several Georgia GOP precincts” and that voters were told workers “will scan ballots later.” Fredericks had made these comments on War Room Pandemic, the podcast of deranged, indicted, ex-Breitbart, and ex-Trump official Steve Bannon. The article also featured numerous tweets purportedly from Georgia voters (or friends of Georgia voters) describing difficulties with scanning their ballots. The claim has also been amplified by a right-wing site called “Trending Politics.”
However, the Georgia Secretary of State’s office said in a press release that “the only reported issues occurred in Columbia County, Georgia, … and were resolved by 10 am,” with no interruption in voters’ ability to cast ballots. Gabriel Sterling, a voting systems implementation manager, directly responded to the president on Twitter, saying the issues Trump referenced were “resolved hours ago” and that Sterling’s office kept the public informed about the issue “in real time.” (Sterling had also tweeted about the “issues” in Columbia County in the morning, and the Gateway Pundit had quoted his tweet in its article.)
According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, “a ballot scanner went down” in one polling location in Paulding County, another jurisdiction referenced in the Gateway Pundit article. But an “emergency ballot box” was provided to keep ballots safe “until the scanner was replaced about 30 minutes later.” The county said that “voting did not cease at any time and all ballots have been tabulated.”
All credible reports indicate that the 2021 Georgia runoff elections are proceeding smoothly. But some in the right-wing media are still trying to push alarmist messaging about voter and/or election fraud.