Fact check: Georgia rejected ballots did not go from 4% to “almost zero” in 2020

Update Dec. 7, 2020: Adding paragraphs 10, 11 and 12 to include a clearer explanation and distinction between total rejected ballots and ballots rejected only because of signature-related issues.

Reuters Fact Check. REUTERS

Social media users have been sharing content online that claims Georgia rejected “almost zero” ballots in the 2020 election and around 4% in the previous election years. The claim, echoed on Twitter by President Trump, is untrue.

Examples can be seen here and here .This claim was posted by President Donald J. Trump on Facebook and Twitter on Nov. 19, 2020 here and here .

Trump’s post reads: “Almost ZERO ballots rejected in Georgia this election. In years past, close to 4%. Not possible. Must have signature check on envelopes now. Very easy to do. Dems fighting because they got caught. Far more votes than needed for flip. Republicans must get tough! @BrianKempGA”

Georgia Secretary of State (SoS) shared in a Facebook post and on its website the numbers for rejected absentee ballots in 2016, 2018 and 2020, visible here and here .

The Facebook post by the Georgia SoS says that in the 2016 Presidential election, 580 out of 246,621 absentee by mail ballots were rejected for “missing or inaccurate oath information” with a rejection rate of 0.24% (here).

In the 2018 general election, 454 out of 284,393 absentee by mail ballots were rejected for missing or non-matching signatures with a rejection rate of 0.15% (here).

In 2020, 2,011 out of 1,322,529 absentee by mail ballots were rejected for missing or non-matching signatures with a rejection rate of 0.15%. Both 2018 and 2020 has the same rejection rate of 0.15% for signature issues, the Georgia Secretary of State said. (here)

The claim that almost zero ballots were rejected in Georgia this year is false. 2,011 absentee by mail ballots were rejected for signature related issues.

The claim that around 4% of ballots were rejected in Georgia in previous election years is also false. The Georgia Secretary of State said that 580 ballots in 2016 and 454 in 2018 were rejected. These numbers make up ballot rejection rates of 0.24% in 2016 and 0.15% in 2018.

This Fact Check reviewed the amount of ballots rejected specifically due to signatures, as provided by the Georgia Secretary of State in its press release (here). This is a subset of the total rejected ballots in the state. The total rejected ballots data is not yet available for 2020.

According to the nonprofit, nonpartisan organisation Ballotpedia, Georgia rejected 6.42% of mail-in ballots in total in the 2016 general election and 3.10% in total in the 2018 midterm (here). These totals include rejections because of signatures, but also include, for example, ballots received late or past deadlines, problems with return materials or a voter having already voted in person.

It may be that Trump was referring to the 0.15% of ballots specifically rejected for "missing or non-matching signatures" when saying that ballots rejected in 2020 were "almost zero", but this percentage is consistent with past years. The higher percentage he mentions for past years is likely based off the total rejected ballots (here) which can not be compared with 2020, as this information is not available.


False. Georgia rejected 2,011 ballots or 0.15% in 2020. In 2016 and 2018, Georgia’s ballot rejection rates were 0.24% and 0.15% respectively.

This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our fact-checking work  here  .