What is it about?

After the 2020 general election, Donald Trump and other Republican politicians promoted conspiracy theories alleging that Joe Biden's close victory in Georgia was fraudulent. Did these allegations factor in to Georgians' decisions to vote in their state's Senate runoff elections? Using a panel of Twitter users matched to a voter file, we find that users in Georgia who endorsed 2020 election conspiracy theories were slightly less likely to vote in the runoff election, while users who actively rejected those conspiracy theories were slightly more likely to vote.

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Why is it important?

Democracy depends on both elections actually being conducted freely and fairly, and on candidates and citizens believing that elections are conducted freely and fairly. Our findings highlight the potential for 2020 election conspiracy theories -- promoted by leaders of a major political party -- to have undermined important democratic norms and eroded some citizens' beliefs that elections legitimately confer power to govern.


This is a rare opportunity to learn about the relationship between online and offline behaviors, and between expressed beliefs regarding perceived norm violations and subsequent voting behavior.

Jon Green
Northeastern University

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Online engagement with 2020 election misinformation and turnout in the 2021 Georgia runoff election, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, August 2022, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences,
DOI: 10.1073/pnas.2115900119.
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