Fulton County election officials have failed to meet a second response date they set to provide The Georgia Star News with complete chain of custody documents for absentee ballots deposited into drop boxes during the November 3, 2020, general election. For a third time, Fulton County has extended their response date, this time to August 6, 2021.
Fulton County’s communication about the third extension comes more than eight months and five follow-up requests after The Star News filed an initial open records request on December 1, 2020, for the drop box transfer forms that document the critical chain of custody of absentee ballots deposited in 37 drop boxes installed throughout Fulton County for the 41 days of the November 2020 election period.
Fulton County election officials provided two different versions of 34 completed critical chain of custody documents for absentee ballot drop boxes from the November 2020 election.
The documents were provided in response to open records requests made by The Georgia Star News, which remain incomplete even six months after the election, The Star reported.
Ballot transfer forms from Fulton County reveal that 86 percent of the more than 59,000 absentee ballots analyzed from drop box locations, required to be “immediately transported” to the county registrar according to Emergency Rule of the State Election Board for Absentee Voting, took more than one hour to be transferred to election officials.
State Election Board Emergency Rule 183-1-14 relative to securing absentee ballot drop boxes, which went around state law, was adopted by the State Election Board at their July 1, 2020, meeting.
Six months after the November 3, 2020 election, Fulton County has failed to produce complete chain of custody documents for 18,901 vote-by-mail absentee ballots deposited by voters into drop boxes.
The Fulton County missing documentation is a little more than five percent of the estimated 333,000 vote-by-mail absentee ballots cast in the November 3, 2020 general election for which chain of custody documentation is still missing.
Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger has refused to collect, count, and verify the chain of custody documentation associated with an estimated 600,000 absentee vote by mail ballots deposited in drop boxes in the 2020 general election. Instead, Raffensperger has said it is a county responsibility. The Georgia Star News has filed Open Records Requests with all 159 counties in the state to obtain this documentation and report on it to the public.