Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger tweeted Monday that Fulton County is under investigation by his office for its inability to produce ballot drop box transfer forms for absentee ballots from the November 3, 2020, general election.
The investigation follows a lengthy piece by the Georgia Star News, in which a Fulton County election official admitted that “a few forms are missing” and that “some procedural paperwork may have been misplaced.”
According to records cited by the Georgia Star News, Fulton County should have been able to provide the publication with an estimated 1,565 transfer forms upon an Open Records Request. Since the publication requested the documents several months ago, the county has reportedly provided 1,180 transfer forms, which can be viewed here.
At least 385 absentee ballot transfer forms are still missing, which would account for approximately 18,901 votes. The number is decidedly higher than “a few” — President Joe Biden won the state of Georgia by fewer than 12,000 votes.
In July of 2020, the State Election Board, a five member body which includes Raffensperger, passed an emergency rule for the November 3, 2020, election mandating that every Georgia county use and maintain transfer forms to document the critical chain of custody for absentee ballots collected from those drop boxes and delivered to designees of the county registrar.
Statewide, approximately 300 drop boxes were used in the 2020 general election.
There were 37 ballot drop boxes in Fulton County, which were available for 41 days between September 24 and November 3.
Fulton County is not the first county in Georgia to be investigated for its handling of transfer forms. In April, Raffensperger opened up investigations into Coffee, Grady, and Taylor counties, which “failed to do their absentee ballot transfer forms in violation of Georgia Rules and Regulations,” a press release states.
The Georgia GOP convention censured Secretary of State Raffensperger earlier this month for “dereliction of his Constitutional duty,” including, according to a report from the 2021 State Resolutions Committee:
Undermining the security of our elections by allowing mass mailings of absentee applications by his office and third parties which created opportunities for fraud and overwhelmed election offices; rendering accurate signature matching nearly impossible; allowing ballot drop boxes without proper chain of custody; and ignoring sworn affidavits and disregarding evidence of voter fraud.
Out of 159 counties in the state, only four are now under investigation by the Secretary of State’s office for violation of the State Election Board’s emergency rule on drop boxes.
An unnamed source told CNN that the state is just “investigating a rule violation,” and that the probe “does not have any implications about fraudulent or missing ballots in Fulton any more than it meant that in the other smaller, more conservative counties.”
Raffensberger said the county needs new leadership to step up and take charge.
“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,” his tweet said in part.