Cobb County Says 89,000 Absentee Ballots Delivered from Drop Boxes, but Has Not Yet Produced Chain of Custody Logs

 

Nearly one in four of the 387,305 votes cast in Cobb County in the 2020 general election were absentee ballots placed in the drop boxes located around the county.

More than 1.3 million absentee ballots were returned and counted in the 2020 general election in Georgia, out of 5 million votes cast. In the current tally, Joe Biden leads Donald Trump in the 2020 presidential contest by 12,670 votes.

Unofficially, the total votes for Cobb County for the 2020 Presidential election have Joe Biden with 221,846 votes and Donald Trump with 165,459 – totaling 387,305.

County election officials provided documentation to The Georgia Star News that 89,445 absentees ballots were collected from the 16 drop boxes located around the county and delivered to county election officials from the end of September until Election Day, November 3.

The county reports 59,152 additional absentee ballots delivered by mail. All told, 148,597 of the 387,305 votes cast in Cobb County in 2020 were absentee ballots, while 245,149 were cast in-person, either on Election Day or in the Early Voting period.

These findings are a part of an open records request filed by The Georgia Star News on Tuesday for all “ballot transfer forms” from the Nov. 3 General Election in Cobb County.

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.”

Cobb County officials have been unable to produce the actual ballot transfer forms that contain the critical chain of custody details — names of the collection teams members, number of ballots picked up, date and time picked up, name of registrar or designee who received the ballots at election offices, and date and time the ballots were picked up.

“There is no way to know how many of these were in the final count or if any of these were rejected for signature issues,” Cobb County Elections and Registration Director Janine Eveler said of the absentee ballots deposited in Cobb County drop boxes and delivered to county election officials.

Across the 16 drop box locations identified in Cobb County, Eveler said there were approximately 400 drop box pickups, but the number of ballot transfer forms is still unclear, as is information about which elections workers actually picked up and delivered the ballots.

Eveler said that Cobb County does maintain possession of the 400 or so completed ballot transfer forms, but it will take some time to create the PDFs of those ballot transfer forms to fulfill The Georgia Star News’ Open Records Request.

Election officials in Cook County, which had only one drop box, delivered a PDF of the completed ballot transfer forms used there within 24 hours of The Georgia Star News Open Records Request.

A review of the actual ballot transfer forms in Cobb County and all estimated 150 Georgia counties that used ballot drop boxes is a critical step in ensuring the integrity of hundreds of thousands of absentee ballots cast in the November 3 election.

The office of Secretary State Brad Raffensperger told Breitbart News on Tuesday, “‘we don’t know how many absentee ballots arrived by mail versus drop box. The counties will know.”

Absentee ballot drop boxes were introduced this year in Cobb County, thanks in part to a $5.6 million grant from a 501(c)(3) Center for Technology and Life (CTCL) “safe elections” project, funded by Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

The money’s intention was “to support election officials with the infrastructure they need to administer the vote – including voting equipment, PPE for poll workers and hiring additional poll staff.”

According to 2016 election results in Cobb County, Hillary Clinton received 159,416 votes, Donald Trump received 152,602 and other candidates received 14,406, for a total of 326,424 votes cast.

From 2016 to 2020, the overall vote total increased by 18.6 percent. Democrats increased their support by 39 percent. President Trump received an 8 percent increase.

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Tiffany Morgan is a reporter at The Georgia Star News and the Star News Network. Email tips to tiffbamorgan@gmail.com
Photo “Ballot Drop Box” by Joe Mabel. CC BY-SA 4.0.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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