Is Georgia the first state to decertify 2020 election results? No, that's not true: Georgia officials have done no such thing. The claim appears based on speculation, not the circumstances as of the day it was published. The claim relates to the audit of absentee ballots in Fulton County, Georgia's most populous county. The claim apparently assumes both that the audit will turn up evidence of fraud and, when it does, that Georgia's governor will call a special legislative session to decertify the results of the 2020 election. Neither premise is proven.
An example of the claim appeared in an article (archived here) published by Before It's News on May 24, 2021. The article, which was titled "BOOM! Georgia 1st to DECERTIFY 2020 Election! Q+ Trump 'I caught them! Things Will Get VERY INTERESTING! Watch AZ!'", read:
Breaking News! Georgia will be first to DECERTIFY the 2020 Election results! Trump asks, 'How can Joe govern when he lost? I caught the Swamp! It's about to get VERY INTERESTING! Watch Arizona!' Trump will return soon.
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The article included a nearly 47-minute video. This fact check does not encompass all the claims made in the video; we're just looking at the question of election decertification in Georgia.
The claim has its roots in an audit of absentee ballots in Fulton County. On May 21, 2021, Henry County Superior Court Judge Brian Amero agreed, as part of an ongoing lawsuit, to unseal the ballots so they can be inspected and scanned. You can read his order here.
The video takes the fact of the audit and makes at least two assumptions -- that the audit will turn up evidence of fraud and, when it does, that Georgia's governor will call a special legislative session to decertify the election results.
At two minutes, 19 seconds, a narrator claims:
Judge Amero, he will demand that [Georgia] Governor [Brian] Kemp call a special session to decertify these election results. Boom.
Of course, it's impossible to know the results of an audit before it is completed. What we do know is that Georgia has already conducted several audits, including a hand recount, and all have affirmed the original outcome of the vote. Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger recertified the results of the presidential election on December 7, 2020. At that time, he told reporters:
We have now counted legally cast ballots three times, and the results remain unchanged.
I know there are people that are convinced the election was fraught with problems, but the evidence, the actual evidence, the facts, tell us a different story.
Still, Raffensperger expressed support for the most recent audit in Fulton County, posting to Twitter on the day of Amero's ruling:
Fulton County has a long standing history of election mismanagement that has understandably weakened voters' faith in its system. Allowing this audit provides another layer of transparency and citizen engagement.-- GA Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (@GaSecofState) May 21, 2021
But assuming the audit were to uncover fraud, what then? Could the governor call a special session to decertify the 2020 election results?
According to Kemp, the governor, the answer is no.
Last year, in a joint statement with Georgia Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan, he said he didn't have the authority to convene a special session of the Georgia General Assembly to select a separate slate of presidential electors. They said:
State law is clear: the legislature could only direct an alternative method for choosing presidential electors if the election was not able to be held on the date set by federal law. In the 1960s, the General Assembly decided that Georgia's presidential electors will be determined by the winner of the state's popular vote. Any attempt by the legislature to retroactively change that process for the November 3rd election would be unconstitutional and immediately enjoined by the courts, resulting in a long legal dispute and no short-term resolution.
The judicial system remains the only viable - and quickest - option in disputing the results of the November 3rd election in Georgia.
Lead Stories contacted Kemp's office to ask about the possibility of a special session. We will update this story if we receive a response.
Garland Favorito, one of the plaintiffs involved in the lawsuit against Fulton County, does not expect the audit to change the results of the election. He told CNN:
It's not an election challenge and therefore this case alone could not do that.
What this case is about is the equal protection and due process, constitutional rights, of the plaintiffs and all Georgia voters. Because if counterfeit ballots were introduced into the certified results, it diluted our votes and the votes of all Georgians both within and outside of Fulton County.