Fact check: Images from Georgia showed shredded wastepaper, not ballots

Social media users have shared images that reportedly show shredded ballots in the U.S. state of Georgia during runoff Senate elections. This is false: the photos show wastepaper, not ballots.

Reuters Fact Check. REUTERS

The allegations first emerged on Twitter on Jan. 6 and received over 77,600 likes. The tweet featured an image showing full boxes of shredded paper alongside the caption: “Our team is in Georgia. They took a little walk. They found shredded ballots in Dell boxes. Police came as well. They wanted to confiscate phones with evidence. Here is just the first few photos” (  here  and  here  ).

The tweets were later shared on Facebook  here  ,  here  ,  here  ,  here  ,  here  ,  here  and  here  . 

Georgia’s runoff elections resulted in the Democrats taking control of the U.S. Senate after Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff emerged as victors (here).

There is no evidence that the boxes photographed in Georgia on Jan. 6 were filled with shredded ballots.

The tweet was identified as having been taken at the Georgia World Congress Center in Fulton County. The BBC reported that the county’s elections director, Richard Barron, told reporters that the papers in the picture were not ballots, but waste from a letter-opening machine used to cut ballot envelopes (

Fulton County Government spokesperson Jessica Corbitt-Dominguez confirmed to Reuters by email: “the paper seen in the photo is not ballots but paper waste.”

The claim of the waste being ballots was also debunked by Politifact  here  .

Reuters has identified similar instances of misinformation surrounding Georgia’s runoff elections for two Senate seats  here  .


False. The images shared online show shredded wastepaper in boxes, not discarded votes.

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