Georgia election official debunks Trump’s ‘ridiculous claims’

  • Georgia Voting System Implementation Manager Gabriel Sterling fact-checked a wide range of President Donald Trump’s new and old baseless election and voter fraud claims on Monday. 
  • Sterling’s weekly news conference came after multiple news organizations published audio of a stunning hour-long call where Trump pressured Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to reverse the election results.
  • Sterling said that he “screamed into his computer” and “screamed in his car” when he heard Trump repeating debunked conspiracies about ballots being tampered with at State Farm Arena.
  • “Again, this is all easily, provably, false. Yet, the president persists. And by doing so, undermines Georgians’ faith in the election system, especially Republican Georgians,” Sterling said. 
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In a news conference Monday, Georgia Voting System Implementation Manager Gabriel Sterling tried to fact check as many of President Donald Trump’s election and voter fraud claims as possible.

Monday’s press conference was the latest in a series of news conferences that Sterling has dubbed “anti-disinformation Mondays” or “Groundhog Day Mondays” of refuting the same general falsehoods and misconceptions about the November election. 

Sterling, at times appearing exacerbated, emphasized that the state has conducted a thorough audit of its results and that voters should not “self-censor” by refusing to vote in Tuesday’s Senate runoff elections because of Trump’s mischaracterization of the November election as fraudulent.


The news conference came on the heels of a leaked phone call between the president and Georgia’s Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, where Trump urged him to “find” thousands of votes that would retroactively flip the Peach State’s results in his favor.

Read more: Secret Service experts are speculating in group chats about how Trump might be hauled out of the White House if he won’t budge on Inauguration Day

Sterling was flanked on Monday by a large chart showing Trump’s accusations juxtaposed with facts on how Georgia conducts its elections.

“We see nothing in our investigations…


The Cybersecurity 202: Security advocates see a possible silver lining in Trump’s election assaults

“If there’s one positive piece that comes out of this it would be greater oversight of election vendors,” David Levine, elections integrity fellow at the Alliance for Securing Democracy, told me. Dominion, along with two other major vendors, control about 80 percent of the U.S. market for election systems. “If there’s a successful cyberattack against one of them, that could have devastating consequences,” he said.

On the other hand, the attacks by Trump and his supporters are basically made up out of whole cloth and contrary to all available evidence. Security pros worry these conspiracy theories that go far beyond any legitimate concerns will corrode public faith in elections and convince people it’s not worth turning out to vote. 

Unfortunately, there’s a danger that the entire effort to increase cybersecurity in elections will get tarred by the unfounded rantings of a few people,” Lawrence Norden, director of the Election Reform Program at New York University’s Brennan Center for Justice, told me. “There are legitimate things that need to be done to improve the security of our election systems and they should be done regardless of what some crazy people are alleging.” 

There’s a potential silver lining as election security is likely to remain a hot topic in Washington after 2020. 

The fact that it’s entered the discourse at such a high level among Republicans – even because of dubious circumstances – suggests there could eventually be a more bipartisan focus on ensuring future elections are conducted securely and transparently. 

Election security has improved considerably since 2016 with the addition of paper ballots for millions more voters and a surge in post-election audits  But there’s still a lot more to be done. 

Security advocates now have to thread an important political messaging needle as the debate gets incredibly polarized. The issue was already precarious following the 2016 election when Democrats’ fears about Russian hacking were high – but Trump often reacted to discussion about election security and Russia’s efforts to undermine the 2016 contest as suggesting that his victory over Hillary Clinton was illegitimate. 



Alex Stamos, director of Stanford Internet Observatory discusses domestic disinformation in the US Presidential Election

LISBON, Portugal, Dec. 4, 2020 /PRNewswire/ —

  • According to Alex Stamos, director of Stanford Internet Observatory, along with the usual election disinformation tactics – trying to mislead voters on the mechanics of casting their ballot, or trying to discourage them from voting altogether – this year’s US presidential election saw a new phenomenon: people attempting to call into question the election results.
  • Stamos, formerly Facebook’s chief security officer,  said that, overall, social media platforms did a better job at preventing foreign disinformation on their sites than they did during the 2016 election. Comparing them head to head this time around, Stamos said YouTube  was “probably the most problematic”, with the least comprehensive policies around election disinformation.
  • Speaking at 100,000-attendee online conference Web Summit, Stamos is part of a line-up that includes European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen, tennis great Serena Williams and Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban.

Compared to the 2016 US presidential election, social media platforms did much better at preventing foreign disinformation  during this year’s election cycle. The bigger problem was domestic disinformation, said Alex Stamos, director at Stanford Internet Observatory.

Even though platforms improved, Stamos – who was Facebook’s chief security officer until 2018 – said that YouTube was the most problematic platform.

“The largest influencers get the least amount of enforcement, and we need to invert that,” he said.

Stamos’s comments came during  an interview with Eizabeth Dwoskin, Silicon Valley correspondent at the Washington Post, during the 100,000-attendee Web Summit.

Elaborating on YouTube’s challenges this election cycle, Stamos pointed out that influencers livestreamed far more than four years ago. Live video is especially hard to fact-check in a meaningful way, especially when influencers tried to erroneously claim election victory for Trump while votes were still being counted.

“Some of these people have live audiences that approach the daytime viewership of CNN, so you’re talking about YouTube effectively operating as a cable network,” he said.

Famously – and…


The White House tried to silence the government’s election security leaders. It didn’t’ work.

with Tonya Riley

If White House officials thought they could silence criticism of the president’s baseless election fraud claims by firing the government’s top cybersecurity officials, they were sorely mistaken. 

Christopher Krebs reasserted there’s no evidence the election was undermined by hacking in a Washington Post op-ed last night and knocked back some of the same phony claims that got him fired by presidential tweet two weeks ago as director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency. 

The 2020 election was the most secure in U.S. history. This success should be celebrated by all Americans, not undermined in the service of a profoundly un-American goal,” he wrote. 

Krebs will be speaking with David Ignatius in a Washington Post Live event at 11 a.m. today. 

Krebs’s deputy Matthew Travis, who was ousted at the same time, also slammed the Trump campaign’s election fraud claims during an address at the Aspen Institute’s Cyber Summit

“What we were hearing from the Trump campaign was in effect politicizing the security of a sub-sector of infrastructure, namely the election system,” he said. 

President Trump’s fraud claims, meanwhile, are falling flat both in courtrooms and increasingly among Republicans

The hardest blow to date came yesterday when Attorney General William P. Barr declared he has “not seen fraud on a scale that could have effected a different outcome in the election,” effectively withdrawing support from Trump’s efforts to contest President-elect Joe Biden’s victory. 

Barr had previously joined Trump in spreading unfounded claims of potential fraud before the election, including the false claim that mail ballots could easily be forged by foreign powers. 

The shift reflects the slow but increasingly sure vindication of election officials’ hard work to ensure a secure and transparent election process over the president’s insistent disinformation campaign

a man wearing a suit and tie: President Trump fired Christopher Krebs, who headed the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) at the Department of Homeland Security. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

© Jonathan Ernst/Reuters
President Trump fired Christopher Krebs, who headed the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) at the Department of Homeland Security. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

Trump and…