Fulton County, Ga. Registration and Elections Director Richard Barron is stepping down on Dec. 31, according to County Board of Commissioners Chair Robb Pitts.
The Fulton County Election Board had voted in February to fire Barron following scathing criticism of his handling of the 2020 elections, Fox 5 Atlanta reported. However, the county’s commissioners overruled the electoral board’s decision, according to Georgia Public Broadcasting.
A little more than two weeks prior to the 2020 election, Atlanta’s Fox5 TV reported on a COVID-19 outbreak at the Fulton County Election warehouse.
A Fulton County elections report revealed extensive problems occurred with chain of custody and absentee ballot processing during the general election. The State Election Board contracted Seven Hills Strategies (SHS) to monitor Fulton County from its pre-electoral processes through the recent runoffs. An SHS monitor synthesized 270 hours of observation into a 14-page report, published last month. The monitor was careful to emphasize that they didn’t witness any fraudulent activity such as ballot stuff or double-counting.
In addition to multiple reports of absentee ballots sent to incorrect addresses, the monitor reported that the absentee ballot processing was “extremely sloppy” and rife with chain of custody issues. The monitor cited one example of the headquarter building functioning as both the additional voter verification area and a holding room for ballots between the mail room and another processing room. The monitor stated that it witnessed staff members attempting to move unverified absentee ballots into a stack headed for State Farm Arena to be scanned and counted.
The Fulton County Registration and Elections Board fired its elections director, Richard Barron, during a special meeting on Tuesday. Barron had served the role since 2013.
Members of the public and the board in favor of firing Barron cited a variety of issues concerning the events at State Farm Arena, chain of custody, rejected ballots, record-keeping, security of ballot transportation, and the dismissal of whistleblowers such as Bridget Thorne. In December, The Georgia Star News interviewed Thorne about her affidavit and subsequent dismissal by the elections officials.
A Fulton County voting technician stepped forward as another whistleblower, alleging severe mishandling of mail-in ballots. The Dominion Voting Systems (Dominion) certified technician, Bridget Thorne, swore in an affidavit that the ballots weren’t handled securely at State Farm Arena.
Thorne stated that their testing and calibration process involved printing series of “test ballots” on actual ballot paper, making them “indistinguishable” from live ballots.