A review of transfer forms provided to The Georgia Star News in response to an open records request reveals that the Secretary of State’s office in Georgia is missing chain of custody documents for 6,995 absentee ballots deposited in drop boxes in Fulton County during the November 2020 election.
The number of absentee ballots for which the office has no evidence of the origination of the ballots represents 9 percent of the 79,460 total that Fulton County has recorded as being deposited into drop boxes during the more than month-long early voting and election day period.
43,907 of the 61,731 absentee ballots deposited in drop boxes in the November 2020 presidential election in DeKalb County, Georgia–72 percent–were counted in official tallies certified by the county and the state, despite violating chain of custody requirements set forward in Georgia Emergency Rule 183-1-14-1.8-.14 promulgated by the Georgia State Election Board at its July 1, 2020, meeting.
That rule states absentee ballots placed in drop boxes, “shall be immediately transported to the county registrar” by the two person collection team, which is required to sign a ballot transfer form indicating the number of ballots picked up, the time the ballots were picked up, and the location of the drop box, and that, “The county registrar or a designee thereof shall sign the ballot transfer form upon receipt of the ballots from the collection team.”
Taxpayer-funded National Public Radio (NPR) spread 2020 election misinformation about absentee ballot drop box chain of custody documents in Georgia in an article written by Georgia Public Broadcasting (GPB) political reporter Stephen Fowler published on Friday. That article was the basis for a four-minute segment broadcast across NPR’s national network Friday afternoon.
The NPR Politics Twitter account tweeted the story, titled “How Pro-Trump Local News Sites Keep Pushing 2020 Election Misinformation,” out on Friday.
In a story this week, The Washington Post referred to Fulton County’s record-keeping of the chain of custody documentation of the absentee ballots deposited into drop boxes during the November 3, 2020, election “shoddy” and “sloppy.”
While the apparent goal of the story was to deliver “Four Pinocchios” to former President Donald Trump for what The Post called “baseless claims about ballot drop boxes in Fulton County, Ga,” it made arguments supporting claims of election irregularities.
Steve Bannon’s “War Room: Pandemic” has become the focal point for Republicans eager to show their pro-Trump bona-fides, according to NBC News, which says politicians are using the podcast as a “kind of proxy primary.”
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.