Fact Check

Debunking Trump Tweets: No Big Win in Georgia for #TeamKraken

A claim that Trump's legal supporters won "a major injunction" in trying to overturn election results in Georgia proved to be short-lived.

Published Nov. 29, 2020

A close up image of a voters ballot to be mailed in, a pen ready to fill in the selected votes. (Getty Images)
A close up image of a voters ballot to be mailed in, a pen ready to fill in the selected votes. (Image courtesy of Getty Images)
Trump's legal supporters won "a major injunction" in their quest to overturn election results in Georgia.

On Nov. 29, 2020, President Donald Trump retweeted a claim that #TeamKraken (the nickname for persons seeking to overturn Trump's election loss to Joe Biden) had won "a major injunction" in Georgia (a state Trump lost to Biden by about 13,000 votes) resulting in "an order to freeze all [voting] machines" there:

#TeamKraken had filed a lawsuit a few days earlier seeking, among other things, to force Georgia officials to de-certify the election results, to enjoin them from transmitting the already-certified vote results to the Electoral College, to order the governor to declare Donald Trump the winner of the election, and to require that all voting machines be "seized and impounded immediately for a forensic audit."

The big win for #TeamKraken had supposedly been the issuance of an order enjoining the State of Georgia from "wiping or resetting any voting machines in the [state] until further order of the Court":

That alleged victory, such at it was, proved to be short-lived, however:

U.S. District Court Judge Timothy Batten initially granted a motion for a temporary restraining order (TRO) requiring the State of Georgia "to impound and preserve the voting machines in the State of Georgia, and to prevent any wiping of data." However, shortly afterwards Batten reversed himself and denied the request for a TRO because the voting machines in question are not under the control of the defendants in the case (i.e., Georgia state officials), but rather under the control of Georgia county officials (who were not named in the lawsuit):

Plaintiffs contend that Union County officials have advised that they are going to wipe or reset the voting machines of all data and bring the count back to zero on Monday, November 30. On this basis, Plaintiffs seek a temporary restraining order to impound and preserve the voting machines in the State of Georgia, and to prevent any wiping of data. However, Plaintiffs’ request fails because the voting equipment that they seek to impound is in the possession of county election officials. Any injunction the Court issues would extend only to Defendants and those within their control, and Plaintiffs have not demonstrated that county election officials are within Defendants’ control. Defendants cannot serve as a proxy for local election officials against whom the relief should be sought. Therefore, to the extent Plaintiffs seek emergency relief to impound and preserve the voting machines, that request is denied.

Whether or not the voting machines in Georgia are impounded and/or wiped, the end result is unlikely to be of any import. The state certified its vote after performing a statewide Risk-Limiting Audit of all votes cast which "upheld and reaffirmed the original outcome produced by the machine tally of votes cast," and claims by #TeamKraken that machines manufactured by Dominion Voting Systems were part of a massive voting fraud conspiracy which deprived Trump of a lawful victory were contradicted by Dominion spokesman Michael Steel, who explained that the alleged switching of votes from Trump to Biden could not have occurred because it was “physically impossible”:

"Well, it's physically impossible," Steel said of vote switching. "Look, when a voter votes on a Dominion machine, they fill out a ballot on a touch screen. They are given a printed copy which they then give to a local election official for safekeeping. If any electronic interference had taken place, the tally reported electronically would not match the printed ballots. and in every case where we've looked at -- in Georgia, all across the country -- the printed ballot, the gold standard in election security, has matched the electronic tally."

"We simply provide a tool to count the ballots -- to print and count ballots," he said. "There is no way such a massive fraud could have taken place, and there are no connections between our company and Venezuela, Germany, Barcelona, Kathmandu, whatever the latest conspiracy theory is."

David Mikkelson founded the site now known as snopes.com back in 1994 as a creative outgrowth of his wide-ranging interests in a variety of subjects (particularly folklo ... read more