The Georgia secretary of state's office is investigating whether Fulton County monitored absentee ballots returned in drop boxes for the 2020 presidential election.
Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said the investigation was necessary because Fulton County’s elections leadership "fail[ed] the voters of Fulton County and the voters of Georgia," leaving a void that required "new leadership to step up and take charge."
"New revelations that Fulton County is unable to produce all ballot drop box transfer documents will be investigated thoroughly, as we have with other counties that failed to follow Georgia rules and regulations regarding drop boxes. This cannot continue," he tweeted on Monday afternoon.
Fulton County officials say the investigation, which will focus only on ballot transfer forms rather than ballots themselves, is unnecessary.
"Fulton County followed procedures for the collection of absentee ballots from Fulton County drop boxes," Fulton spokeswoman Jessica Corbitt-Dominguez told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “We maintain a large quantity of documents and (are) researching our files from last year to produce the ballot transfer forms.”
Raffensperger did not elaborate on which "new revelations" he was referencing, but the investigation does follow an article from the Georgia Star News, a conservative website, questioning the county's handling of the drop box forms.
"A Star News analysis of drop box ballot transfer forms for absentee ballots deposited in drop boxes provided by Fulton County in response to an Open Records Request showed that 385 transfer forms out of an estimated 1,565 transfer forms Fulton County said should have been provided are missing," the article said after reporting that a Fulton County election official admitted "a few forms are missing" and that "some procedural paperwork may have been misplaced."
The dispute is one of several involving alleged voting discrepancies in the Peach State.
An active legal case centers on the concern that thousands of fraudulent mail-in ballots might have been cast in the heavily populated Georgia county. Last month, Superior Court Judge Brian Amero granted a motion to unseal higher resolution images of 147,000 absentee ballots from the 2020 election in Fulton County so that they can be "forensically analyzed," according to VoterGA co-founder Garland Favorito, one of the plaintiffs in the case.
Depositions in the case were then postponed when the litigants reached an agreement in which the plaintiffs consented to reschedule until after the judge holds a hearing on a motion to dismiss the case filed by attorneys for Fulton County. A hearing has been scheduled for June 21.
Among those set to be deposed were Ruby Freeman and her daughter Wandrea Moss, election workers who worked in the absentee ballot counting room at State Farm Arena and were singled out by former President Donald Trump and his allies as they made claims of fraud in the contest.
The Trump campaign filed several legal challenges alleging widespread voter fraud in the 2020 presidential election, most of which were rejected by the courts.
Trump has clashed with Raffensperger over scrutiny of the 2020 election, attracting controversy when the then-president called the secretary of state on the phone to pressure the state's top election official to "find" enough votes to reverse his loss President Joe Biden, the first Democratic presidential contender to carry the state in decades. A criminal investigation was opened in February.
Raffensperger is up for reelection in 2022, and Trump endorsed challenger Rep. Jody Hice in March.
“One of our most outstanding Congressmen, Jody Hice, has announced he is running for Secretary of State in the Great State of Georgia. Jody has been a steadfast fighter for conservative Georgia values and is a staunch ally of the America First agenda. Unlike the current Georgia Secretary of State, Jody leads out front with integrity,” Trump said in a statement released by his Save America PAC.
Biden won Georgia by roughly 12,000 votes, a tally affirmed in multiple recounts and certified by the state. Still, despite criticisms by Trump and his allies for not doing enough to crack down on alleged fraud in the state, Raffensperger's office previously announced investigations into other counties besides Fulton. The secretary of state opened investigations into Coffee, Grady, and Taylor counties after saying they "failed to do their absentee ballot transfer forms in violation of Georgia Rules and Regulations."
"Since day one, I have made securing Georgia’s election a top priority and I have not stopped working since then," he said at the time. "Though the overwhelming majority of counties did what they were supposed to, this demonstrates that new steps need to be taken to fully secure our elections. Securing elections is work that is never truly finished."
Georgia has traditionally been a Republican-leaning state, but it continued to lean blue this year when Democratic challengers ousted two sitting GOP incumbents in the state's twin U.S. Senate runoffs in January.
Representatives for Raffensperger's office and Fulton County did not immediately reply to the Washington Examiner's request for comment.
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Original Author: Carly Roman
Original Location: Georgia investigating Fulton County ballot drop box forms from 2020 election