Missing Fulton County Chain of Custody Documents to be Investigated by Secretary of State Raffensperger

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Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger announced Monday that a thorough investigation will be conducted of Fulton County’s inability to produce the critical chain of custody documents for absentee ballots deposited in drop boxes during the November 3, 2020 election.

Raffensperger made his announcement via Twitter, following the lead story Monday in The Georgia Star News that a Fulton County election official admitted that chain of custody documents are missing for absentee ballots deposited in drop boxes in the 2020 election.

Fulton County told The Star News in response to Open Records Requests initiated in December 2020 that “a few forms are missing” and that “some procedural paperwork may have been misplaced.”

Seven months after the election, Fulton County has been unable to produce 385 transfer forms out of an estimated 1,565 transfer forms according to their own documentation.  Those 385 transfer forms represent 18,901 absentee ballots placed into 37 drop boxes placed throughout Fulton County.

The number of transfer forms and the absentee ballots they represent are about 25 percent of the total transfer forms and absentee ballots deposited in drop boxes in Fulton County during the November 2020 election – significantly greater than “a few,” by any objective standard.

Since the election, Raffensperger has maintained that Georgia had safe, secure and honest elections.

As recently as an early April press release, Raffensperger gave Fulton and 119 other counties a clean bill of health with regard to filling out and retaining absentee ballot drop box transfer forms in accordance with Georgia rules.

Raffensperger said at the time that of the 123 Georgia counties that had absentee ballot drop boxes for the November election, only three small counties violated Georgia Rules and Regulations by failing to do their absentee ballot transfer forms.  The three counties – Coffee, Grady and Taylor – were referred for investigation, said Raffensperger.

The three small counties accounted for only 0.37 percent of the absentee ballots cast in the November election, according to Raffensperger.

Meanwhile, Fulton County had 75,000 to 79,000 absentee ballots submitted via drop boxes – a number that varies in Fulton County’s documentation – which represents more than 12 percent of the estimated 600,000 absentee ballots deposited in drop boxes throughout the state.

Earlier this month, the Georgia GOP convention censured Secretary of State Raffensperger for “dereliction of his Constitutional duty.” That dereliction of duty included, “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.”

Raffensperger now says he supports the audit in Fulton County, which Henry County Superior Court Judge Brian Amero granted last month in response to a lawsuit filed by Georgia voting watchdog Garland Favorito.

Raffensperger, in an interview with The New York Times, made a prediction about the absentee ballot audit.

“At the end of the day they’re going to get the same results we got after November.”

The lack of a chain of custody of the absentee ballots, however, presents a very different situation than an audit of the ballots themselves.

In conjunction with the announced investigation, Raffensperger expressed concern about the elections leadership in Fulton and the impossibility of restoring confidence in elections without new leadership to step up and take charge.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that Raffensperger started the investigation after a “conservative website,” The Georgia Star News, published an article questioning Fulton County’s handling of absentee ballot drop box transfer forms.

Once the investigation is complete, the State Election Board that promulgated the Emergency Rule allowing drop boxes, will review the findings.

The Board has the authority to issue reprimands, levy fines and refer cases to the attorney general, according to the report.

Laura Baigert is a senior reporter at The Star News Network, where she covers stories for The Tennessee Star and The Georgia Star News.

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4 Thoughts to “Missing Fulton County Chain of Custody Documents to be Investigated by Secretary of State Raffensperger”

  1. Karen Davis

    So out of ALL the Trump legal challenges, THREE recounts, TWO AT TAXPAYER expense, YOU and Brad Raffensberger, who has been denounced and censured, have uncovered the truth.
    Well, whoop-de-do, y’all. What an amazing investigation!
    Joe Biden is the President.
    Trump will not replace him.

    1. Renee Lambright

      Absolutely!

  2. President Awesome mentioned you on his Telegram for this, keep up the great work.

  3. Dal H ANDREW

    What is it telling us when so many previously discredited Trump-centric concerns/allegations/suspicions about electoral fraud are becoming more credible under disciplined scrutiny and retrospection?

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