The video is more powerful than anything the Trump team has come up with to this point because (1) it’s video, which is always more powerful; (2) the story seemingly told by the snippet so intuitively lines up with the fraud narrative — Republican observers are asked to leave late at night and then, boom, new ballots are produced from under a table.
A couple of things to know:
—The suitcases aren’t actually suitcases, but standard crates used for absentee ballots.
—There’s a dispute about whether observers were told to leave or not — election officials say there was a misunderstanding and the Republican observers assumed the counting was over for the night because the “cutters” who open the absentee-ballot envelopes had finished and were leaving.
—Regardless, at no point was the process closed to anyone and everyone knew, or should have known, that there were cameras all over the place. For a while there were no Republican observers in the room, but everything that occurred during this period is on tape — because the entire day is on tape. State officials who were briefly absent returned to observe the rest of the count.
As far as I understand, what happens in the snippet that’s gotten so much attention is that the ballot counters thought they were shutting down for the night, began to put stuff away, and then when told to keep working, pulled everything back out, including the crates from under the table. (I’m fuzzy on this, but by some accounts the crates had already been emptied of ballots when the Republican observers were still there.)
The key thing, though, is that, again, the entire day is on tape and has been reviewed by state officials. The ballot crates were already there in the morning and accounted for when observers were in the room. Nothing that happens during the period in question is different from what you’d expect during routine counting.
Here is a thread from a reporter who has watched all the tape:
I just spent 2 hours going through State Farm surveillance video with @GabrielSterling & state investigators. We watched chain of custody of the table & ballot boxes in question – from 8am until midnight. The boxes were packed & sealed with observers in room – nothing improper pic.twitter.com/gKxS2GwD0Z
— Justin Gray (@JustinGrayWSB) December 4, 2020
And another from a journalist who’s been following it closely:
FACT CHECK: Rudy Giuliani and co. released a video snippet claiming “suitcases” of ballots were illegally added to totals and illegally counted without monitors.
— stephen fowler covers Georgia’s election! (@stphnfwlr) December 4, 2020
Obviously, officials should release the hours and hours of video of the entire day’s proceedings, so everyone can review it for themselves and draw their own conclusions.