Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger admits county is missing documents
President Donald Trump has responded after it emerged that Georgia’s Fulton County has unearthed 19,000 mail-ballots that are missing their required chain of custody documents.
This week, Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger admitted that Fulton County has been unable to provide ballot chain of custody docs.
The documentation is related to drop boxes used in November’s presidential election.
Almost 19,000 absentee ballots are not accounted for with proper paperwork.
The number is alarming considering it exceeds Democrat Joe Biden’s margin of victory in Georgia by more than 6,000 votes.
“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,” Raffensperger tweeted Monday.
“This cannot continue,” Raffensperger continued.
“Restoring confidence in our elections is going to be impossible as long as Fulton County’s elections leadership continues to fail the voters of Fulton County and the voters of Georgia.
“They need new leadership to step up and take charge,” he wrote.
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.
— GA Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (@GaSecofState) June 14, 2021
Fulton County, located in the Atlanta metropolitan area, is the state’s most populous county — home to over 100,000 people.
On Monday, Laura Baigert of The Georgia Star News reported that a Fulton County election official admitted “a few forms are missing” and that “some procedural paperwork may have been misplaced.”
However, a Star News analysis found that “385 transfer forms out of an estimated 1,565 transfer forms Fulton County said should have been provided are missing — a number that is significantly greater than ‘a few’ by any objective standard.”
Baigert noted that the number of ballots in question exceeds Biden’s margin of victory of 11,779 votes (0.24 percent) over President Donald Trump.
“The total number of absentee ballots whose chain of custody was purportedly documented in these 385 missing Fulton County absentee ballot transfer forms was 18,901, more than 6,000 votes greater than the less than 12,000 vote margin of Biden’s certified victory in the state,” she wrote.
In an email to The Star News, the county said “25 plus core personnel were quarantined due to [a] positive COVID-19 outbreak at the [elections preparation center],” possibly resulting in the documentation being misplaced.
In a Tuesday statement, Fulton County spokeswoman Jessica Corbitt said, “We maintain a large quantity of documents and are researching our files from last year,” according to The Hill.
“The majority of the ballot transfer forms have already been produced and we are continuing to research a handful,” she added.
Trump responded to these revelations in a Thursday statement, saying, “Thank you and congratulations to Laura Baigert of the Georgia Star News on the incredible reporting you have done.
“Keep going! The scam is all unraveling fast.”
Congratulations Laura! President Trump congratulates Nashville’s own Laura Baigert and her reporting in the Georgia Star News on the missing chain of custody forms for absentee ballots in Fulton County Georgia.
— Nashville Tea Party (@NashvilleTea) June 17, 2021
Last month, an attorney representing Georgians who secured the right to review over 145,000 absentee ballots cast in Fulton County told the judge overseeing the case that a top county election official could not say how many absentee ballots were printed.
The attorney, Bob Cheeley, told Judge Brian Amero that Fulton County Registration Chief Ralph Jones, during a pre-trial deposition, estimated the county printed 20,000 absentee ballots through a vendor in the 10 days leading up to the election.
Jones could not give Cheeley a precise number.
Cheeley further related that he asked Jones whether any of the ballots were left over, but Jones could not say.
An independent report contracted by the Georgia State Election Board and released on Jan. 12 determined that there were many abnormalities in Fulton County’s November election, including some matters involving Jones himself.
“There were persistent chain of custody issues throughout the entire absentee ballot processing system,” the report said.
It added that “the fact that ballots were being delivered to State Farm Arena in unsecured mail carts is very concerning.”
“Protocol for securing ballots exists not only to protect the ballots themselves but also to ensure that no ballot box stuffing occurred,” it said.
“This problem was exacerbated by poor managerial processes by Ralph Jones, who failed to do intake counts for the provisional ballots.”
The report also noted that some staff seemed unaware that absentee ballots needed to be verified before they were counted.
State Farm Arena in Atlanta is where poll watchers were told by election officials that counting had stopped for the day, only for surveillance video to reveal it resumed later in the night.
The report concluded that “the truth about what happened on the night of November 3rd between 10:30 PM and 11:52 PM [at State Farm Arena] continues to be elusive … but if the party poll watchers are correct, then there is a serious problem.”
Fulton County filed multiple legal motions last month in a bid to prevent the review of 147,000 absentee ballots from proceeding.
Amero has set a hearing for June 21 to consider Fulton County’s objections.