DeKalb County responded to an Open Records Request from The Georgia Star News to produce the ballot transfer forms that formed the critical chain of custody link in the absentee ballots deposited in the near 300 drop boxes in the state and transported to county election offices in a letter received on Friday that said the county did not know if such records exist.
Earlier this week, the Secretary of States’ office told Breitbart News that it did not know how many of the 1.3 million absentee ballots cast in the 2020 general election were delivered by mail vs. drop box, but the counties should know.
The Georgia Star News filed an open records request on Tuesday for all “ballot transfer forms” from the Nov. 3 General Election in DeKalb County. But there is no way to determine the chain of custody.
The open records request reply, received from Assistant County Attorney at DeKalb County Dexter Q. Bond, Jr., stated, “it has not yet been determined if responsive records to your request exist.”
The ballot transfer forms that remain unknown in DeKalb are a part of Georgia’s new Election Code implemented this past summer.
The DeKalb County response was unusual in several ways.
The Georgia Star News has contacted several counties in the state, and DeKalb is the only county so far to respond that it does not know if it has ballot transfer forms.
Cook County, for instance, provided copies of all the ballot transfer forms used in the 2020 general election within 24 hours.
Late Friday afternoon Cobb County provided copies of 400 ballot transfer forms used in the 2020 general election.
The Georgia Star News received responses from election officials in both Cobb County and Cook County.
In contrast, the DeKalb County response instead came from an Assistant County Attorney.
It strains credulity to suggest that the election director of DeKalb County cannot say whether or not the legally required ballot transfer forms exist in 30 seconds, not the 30 days the county says it needs to be able to answer that question.
As previously reported by The Georgia Star News:
Throughout the state, approximately 300 drop boxes were used to collect absentee ballots in the November 2020 general election, authorized under Georgia Election Code Emergency Rule 183-1-14-0.8-.14 passed in July 2020 which states that every absentee ballot drop box collection team “shall complete and sign a ballot transfer form upon removing the ballots from the drop box, which shall include the date, time, location and number of ballots.
The “ballot transfer forms” are a part of the new rule and were created in order to document the chain of custody of ballots collected from drop boxes.
The code also requires that “the ballots from the drop box shall be immediately transported to the county registrar and processed and stored in the same manner as absentee ballots returned by mail are processed and stored. The county registrar or a designee thereof shall sign the ballot transfer form upon receipt of the ballots from the collection team.”
Chief Executive Officer of Facebook Mark Zuckerberg made a donation to the 2020 election efforts, which include a donation to the Center for Tech and Civic Life.
DeKalb County received $4.8 million from the nonprofit in which Zuckerberg donated to.
The county published information on their grant:
DeKalb County has been selected to receive a $4.8 million grant from the Center for Tech and Civic Life (CTCL). The CTCL grant will allow DeKalb County Board of Registration and Elections to hire more personnel, purchase additional voting and mail ballot sorting equipment, open and operate additional early voting and Election Day locations, ensure sanitization of voting equipment and purchase sufficient personal protective equipment (PPE) for both poll workers and voters.
“These funds will be used to address longstanding operational issues and increase voter safety and confidence in our voting process,” said DeKalb CEO Michael Thurmond.
The county will conduct a comprehensive review of the elections system to ensure that citizens can participate in a fair, free, and convenient elections process.
The 2016 election results in DeKalb County, Hillary Clinton received 239,131 votes, Donald Trump received 47,531 and other candidates received 9,209 for a total of 295,871 votes cast.
Unofficially, the 2020 election votes cast in DeKalb County have Donald Trump with 58,373 votes and Biden with 308,227 votes.
You can read the letter from DeKalb County to The Georgia Star News here:
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Tiffany Morgan is a reporter at The Georgia Star News and the Star News Network. Email tips to [email protected]