Fact Check

RUMOR ALERT: Election Cheating in Georgia's Spalding County

More evidence is required before this claim can be rated in a traditional Snopes fact check.

Published Nov. 3, 2020

 (Screenshot Twitter)
Image Via Screenshot Twitter
Did Georgia "lock down voting" in a county that has strong support for President Donald Trump?

Why no rating on this article? This is a trending topic but has not yet been rated by Snopes for reasons we’ll outline below.

On Election Day 2020, Snopes readers asked about a widely reported glitch that caused voting machines in Spalding County, Georgia, to go down. Without evidence, actor and conservative Twitter figure James Woods asserted in a tweet that this was evidence of "civil war level cheating" by the Democrats because Spalding County is a "high percentage Trump district."

Although details regarding the technical glitch are still emerging, Woods' claim contains certain traits that are often indicative of misinformation:

  • It appears this claim is being shared widely by only one political faction
  • This claim relates to alleged criminal conduct, but the relevant law enforcement agency (whether federal, state or local) hasn't yet reported the supposed incident.
  • The caption or description associated with the image(s) or video appears designed to inflame the viewer's emotions

Here is everything we know at this time:

According to WSB-TV in Atlanta, "The Secretary of State’s office says the system should be back up after human error caused major problems at polling places across Spalding County today, but many precincts are still dealing with issues." The issue occurred when "workers ... incorrectly loaded information onto the poll pads Tuesday morning so none of the machines were working."

WSB-TV reported that poll workers are trained on how to fix this specific issue, according to the Georgia secretary of state’s office said.

Spalding County Elections Supervisor Marcia Ridley assured voters that they will be able to cast their ballots, according to WSB-TV. Many precincts are using paper ballots while the issue is resolved.

FOX 5 in Atlanta reported that at the time of the technical difficulty, paper ballots were used at all locations.

Until more details emerge, we cannot authoritatively rate this claim with a traditional Snopes rating.

If we receive more information, we will update this post.

Have more information on this topic? Send us a tip.

Alex Kasprak is an investigative journalist and science writer reporting on scientific misinformation, online fraud, and financial crime.