It Took Just a Few Hours of Georgia Voting for Trump Supporters to Find a New Conspiracy Theory – By Aaron Mak (Slate) / January 5 2021
On Tuesday, multiple polling places being used for Georgia’s Senate runoffs experienced equipment malfunctions, causing a handful of delays and, perhaps more consequentially, giving Trump supporters a foothold for their voter-fraud conspiracy theories. They were not, according to reports on the ground, the kinds of incidents that usually attract much notice: Columbia County, in eastern Georgia, faced problems with programming errors in the keys that start up paper-ballot scanners and in the cards that poll workers use to activate touch-screen voting machines. The issue was resolved by 10 a.m. after the secretary of state’s office sent over new keys and cards. And Paulding and Gwinnett counties, in northern Georgia, also each had a ballot scanner go down, though they were quickly repaired or replaced.
Equipment malfunctions at polling places are a serious issue that can make lines unreasonably long and potentially discourage people who have taken time out of their day from voting. Malfunctions have been all too common in previous elections and aren’t unique to the Georgia runoff. Often, they’re suggestive of neglected voting infrastructure.
What they’re not is evidence of a shadowy conspiracy to steal an election from a president—or, in this case, from two of his Senate allies. Almost immediately, however, disinformation peddlers latched on to disparate reports of malfunctions in Georgia in order to bolster their unfounded claims about a wider undertaking to tamper with voting machines in the 2020 election.
Voting machines have been an obsession of MAGA world thanks in part to President Donald Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani falsely asserting that software from the election technology company Dominion allowed Democrats to switch votes from Trump to Biden. Prominent pro-Trump lawyer Sidney Powell has made even more fantastical claims, alleging that Dominion’s voting machines were created “at the direction” of former Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez to influence election results and that the company also has ties to George Soros and the Clinton Foundation. Dominion has been an object of groundless speculation among followers of QAnon, the conspiracy theory holding that a satanic pedophile ring runs the world’s major institutions, and Trump himself has claimed that there was “tremendous corruption” in the company’s machines.