One of Georgia’s top election officials said “Trump supporter-ish kind of people” prompted the audit of Fulton County’s absentee ballots, and he also suggested those individuals are biased and cannot inspect ballots in an honest manner.
That man, Gabriel Sterling, is Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger’s chief operating officer.
Sterling accused Trump supporters of allowing their biases to influence their judgement — as he appeared on CNN.
“You can’t hand it off to random people who claim to be auditors with no election experience. The thing in Arizona, and the thing with some people here if it gets handed off to them, which I don’t think it will be, is they are preternaturally disposed to find things that are normal processes and say ‘Ah-ha. This is the fraud.’ If they don’t find it then they will intellectually manufacture it,” Sterling told host Pamela Brown, who said she agreed.
“Then they will go to other news organizations who will then pump these things up into things that aren’t real. That is what we are seeing in Arizona, and that is our fear.”
Sterling singled out VOTER GA official Garland Favorito as the primary person pushing for the audit.
“He [Favorito] has been filing suits for years on potential problems in the state. They have all had the same level of merit from our point of view. The claims are there are pristine ballots. There are unfolded ballots that were inserted. That there were machine-mark ballots. There’s just no evidence for any of that,” Sterling said.
“Our law enforcement officers in the secretary of state’s offices spent literally thousands of hours examining ballots in Fulton County and other counties trying to track these claims down and so far we have seen nothing with any merit to it.”
Favorito was unaware of Sterling’s CNN appearance when The Georgia Star News contacted him Tuesday.
“If anyone examined the sealed mail-in ballots in Fulton County from the November 3 election they blatantly violated Georgia law,” Favorito said.
Favorito said his inspection team “consists of six poll managers, eight auditors, 25 audit monitors, 13 recount monitors, and dozens more poll watchers, as well as two lawyers and a doctor.” He also said his team members understand the ballot process and can audit them professionally.
Brown, who dismissed the audit as a part of “Trump’s Big Lie Roadshow,” asked Sterling where this all ends?
“Here is the problem, Pamela. We are a nation of laws,” Sterling said.
“They have filed a lawsuit. Fulton County was supposed to defend this. This goes into exactly what Secretary Raffensperger says. They [Fulton County officials] just happen to do bad jobs oftentimes at many things. They did nothing to try to stop this. They didn’t do a motion to dismiss. The judge even said there’s not a motion to dismiss before. I don’t have any choice in this matter. They didn’t put up any witnesses other than one deposition from one guy. They didn’t do a closing argument. This is what happens when you don’t try to defend your own system. That is what happens. Counties run elections. Someone sues Fulton County, so now we have to deal with the fallout from this because they continually do things that aren’t good for voters.”
Raffensperger tweeted last week that “Fulton County has a long standing history of election mismanagement that has understandably weakened voters’ faith in its system.”
“Allowing this audit provides another layer of transparency and citizen engagement,” Raffensperger wrote.
A Georgia judge late last week issued a ruling that will allow officials to audit roughly 145,000 absentee ballots cast in Fulton County in the 2020 election. The scope of the audit will allow individuals to examine ballot signatures to ensure they were legitimate.
Fulton County officials have provided files that show no chain-of-custody documents called “absentee ballot transfer forms” for 385 out of the 1,591 drop box collections that took place in Fulton County between September 24, 2020 and November 3, 2020. This, per a Star News investigation.
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Chris Butler is an investigative journalist at The Tennessee Star. Follow Chris on Facebook. Email tips to [email protected]
Photo “Gabriel Sterling” by Gabriel Sterling. Background Photo “Georgia Capital” by andre m. CC BY-SA 3.0.