Fulton County Chain of Custody Documents Purportedly Given to Georgia Public Broadcasting on June 17 Have Been Denied to The Georgia Star News

Georgia Public Broadcasting building

In a stunning development Wednesday, Fulton County has denied The Georgia Star News the same chain of custody documents for absentee ballots deposited into drop boxes during the November 2020 election, that they purportedly gave to Georgia Public Broadcasting (GPB) News on or before June 17.

Fulton County’s Legal Assistant Shana Eatmon’s emailed response informed The Star News said that there are no documents that meet our open records request.

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Raffensperger’s Office Seeks Over $100,000 to Complete Open Records Request Submitted by Georgia Secretary of State Candidate David Belle Isle

Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger’s office will charge David Belle Isle, who is challenging Raffensperger in the GOP primary for the top elections post, more than $100,000 to complete an open records request. 

Further, Raffensperger’s office claimed producing the documents would take approximately 230 business days to complete — a timeline that conveniently places the results after the GOP primary election for secretary of state.

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Fulton County Fails to Meet Their Own Extended Response Date for Providing Absentee Ballot Chain of Custody Documents from the November 2020 Election

Fulton County Response

Fulton County officials have failed to meet the extended response date they set for providing The Georgia Star News with complete chain of custody documents for absentee ballots deposited into drop boxes during the November 3, 2020, general election.

More than seven months and five follow-up requests after The Star News filed an initial open records request on December 1, 2020, Fulton County Legal Assistant Shana Eatmon said they needed until July 15, to provide the requested documents.

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Georgia Public Broadcasting Reveals Secretary of State Raffensperger Delivered Some Fulton County Absentee Ballot Chain of Custody Documents to Them in April

An interview between The Georgia Star News and Georgia Public Broadcasting (GPB) News revealed that they had received Fulton County’s drop box absentee ballot transfer forms from the Secretary of State’s office in April.  GPB News, however, did not report on their findings until after The Star News report in June.

Stephen Fowler of Georgia Public Broadcasting (GPB) News requested an interview with John Fredericks, which also included Laura Baigert, of The Georgia Star News, as part of his fact-check for a story and to get comments from everyone involved.

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Seven Months Later, Georgia County Officials Have Not Produced Chain of Custody Records for 316,000 Absentee Vote by Mail Ballots Deposited in Drop Boxes in 2020 Election

Seven months after the November 3, 2020 presidential election, state and county officials in Georgia have failed to produce chain of custody records for more than 317,000 absentee vote by mail ballots deposited in drop boxes located around the state for that election.

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Georgia Public Broadcasting Reports Receiving Transfer Forms from Fulton County Not Provided to The Georgia Star News

Georgia Public Broadcasting building

Georgia Public Broadcasting News, part of the taxpayer-funded network of state PBS television stations and NPR radio stations, reported Wednesday, June 16, 2021, that they received from Fulton County all but eight of the 385 missing absentee ballot drop box transfer forms The Georgia Star News has reported on.

After six months and several open records requests, 385 of the transfer forms that document the chain of custody of absentee ballots deposited in drop boxes and transferred to the county registrar during the November 3, 2020, election have still not been provided to The Star News.

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The Georgia Star News Analysis of Fulton County Drop Box Absentee Ballot Chain of Custody Documents from September 29 through November 3, 2020

The purpose of this story is to present the analysis that The Georgia Star News has conducted on the chain of custody documents provided by Fulton County for absentee ballots deposited into drop boxes during the early voting and election-day period of September 29 through November 3, 2020.

The documents provided to The Star News have been part of an ongoing series of Open Records Requests made to Fulton County for the absentee ballot drop box transfer forms, which began more than six months ago.

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Six Months After the Election, Fulton County Says ‘More Time Is Needed’ to Produce Complete Chain of Custody Documents for Absentee Ballots Deposited in Drop Boxes

Six months after the November 2020 election and after failing on two occasions to produce complete chain of custody documents for absentee ballot drop boxes, the Fulton County Registration & Elections officials advise that “more time is needed.”

Fulton County’s reply to The Georgia Star News came as a response to a follow-up on previously-supplied records related the transfer forms that document the critical chain of custody for absentee ballots deposited over a 41-day voting period in 37 drop boxes placed throughout Fulton County.

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Fulton County Supplied Two Different Versions of 34 Critical Chain of Custody Documents for Absentee Ballot Drop Boxes That Go Back In Time

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.

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85 Percent of 59,000 Absentee Ballots Placed in Fulton County Drop Boxes in 2020 Election Were Not Transported to Registrar ‘Immediately’ As Georgia State Rule Requires; 5 Percent Were Delivered BEFORE They Were Picked Up

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.

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Georgia Still Has Not Produced Chain of Custody Records for 333,000 Absentee Vote by Mail Ballots Deposited in Drop Boxes in 2020 Election

  Six months after the November 3, 2020 presidential election, officials at the state and county level in Georgia have failed to produce chain of custody records for more than 333,000 absentee vote by mail ballots deposited in drop boxes located around the state for that election. Joe Biden was certified…

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Six Months After the 2020 Election, Fulton County Has Failed to Produce Chain of Custody Documents for 18,901 Absentee Ballots Placed in Drop Boxes

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.

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Five and a Half Months After 2020 Election Fulton County Fails to Produce Complete Chain of Custody Documents for Absentee Vote by Mail Ballots Deposited in Drop Boxes

Nearly half a year after the 2020 Election, and four months after the original inquiry, Fulton County has failed to fulfill the Open Records Request with The Georgia Star News. Although the county did provide some chain of custody documents, initial analysis by The Star News indicates that the Fulton County ballot transfer form records sent may be incomplete.

On January 22, Fulton County Officials responded to the Open Records request made by The Star News with two PDF files. As previously reported, of those two files – one with a label that ended with BX-1, and another with a label that ended with BX-3 – showed ballot transfer form records for 36,635 absentee votes by mail ballots deposited in drop boxes.

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Five Months After 2020 Election, Georgia Still Has Not Produced Chain of Custody Records for 355,000 Absentee Vote by Mail Ballots Deposited in Drop Boxes

Five months after the November 3, 2020 presidential election, officials at the state and county level in Georgia have failed to produce chain of custody records for more than 355,000 absentee vote by mail ballots deposited in drop boxes located around the state for that election.

Joe Biden was certified as the victor of Georgia and its 16 Electoral College votes by a margin of 11,599 votes, or less than 0.25 percent of the 5 million votes cast in the November 3, 2020 presidential election in Georgia. According to the Georgia Secretary of State’s office, 1.3 million of those votes were cast as absentee vote by mail ballots. Based on polling conducted by John McLaughlin & Associates, 700,000 of those absentee vote by mail ballots were sent via regular mail and 600,000 were deposited in the estimated 300 drop boxes located around the state and were manually picked up and transported by election workers to the local county registrar for subsequent counting.

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Lawsuit on Fulton County Mail-In Ballots Still Underway, Ruling Anticipated Next Week

A judgment allowing or prohibiting the inspection of Fulton County’s mail-in ballots may occur as early as next week. The plaintiffs, organized by the election integrity organization Voters Organized for Trusted Election Results in Georgia (VoterGA), have been engaged in litigation for nearly a month to obtain an inspection of those ballots.

VoterGA had anticipated receiving a ruling allowing them to inspect the county’s mail-in ballots during their last hearing on January 15. However, after three hours debating the county’s compliance with open records requests concerning the mail-in ballots, akin to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requirements, Chief Judge Brian Amero decided to only address that issue.

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DeKalb County Fails to Produce Drop Box Absentee Ballot Transfer Forms Required by State Election Board Emergency Rule

With the January 5 run-off election for two U.S. Senate seats underway and election practices in Georgia for the November 3 presidential election remaining under intense scrutiny, DeKalb County has failed to produce the drop box absentee ballot transfer forms that are required under a State Election Board emergency rule.

Absentee ballot transfer forms are a critical piece in the chain of custody for votes deposited into the approximately 300 drop boxes deployed throughout the state of Georgia for the November election.  DeKalb County, with its 34 drop box locations, accounted for more than 10 percent of Georgia’s absentee ballot drop boxes.

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With Georgia Runoff Elections Less Than a Month Away, Neither the State Nor the Counties Have Produced Chain of Custody Records for 500,000 Absentee Ballots Placed in Drop Boxes for November 3 Election

The two U.S. Senate runoff elections in Georgia will be held on January 5, less than one month from now.

But more than one month after the controversial November 3 general election, documents necessary to establish the chain of custody for more than 83 percent of the estimated 600,000 absentee ballots placed in drop boxes by voters and subsequently delivered to county election officials by county poll workers have yet to be produced by either state or county officials.

As previously reported, the office of Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger told Breitbart News two weeks after the November 3 election that it did not know how many of the 1.3 million absentee ballots cast in the 2020 general election (out of 5 million total) were delivered by mail vs. drop box, but the counties should know.

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