In order to maintain ballot integrity, as well as the integrity of the entire election process, officials must be able to prove that the ballots – especially absentee and mail-in ballots – were always secure and in possession of authorized and accountable individuals. In at least one Georgia county those records are nowhere to be found.
Ballot transfer forms, used to establish a secure and accountable chain of custody, for some 300 absentee and drop box locations located throughout Georgia’s Dekalb County, cannot be found.
In response to an open records request filed by The Georgia News Star, the DeKalb County Department of Voting, Registration and Elections issued a written statement saying, “it has not yet been determined if responsive records to your request exist.”
“DeKalb County and [the DeKalb County Department of Voting, Registration and Elections] VRE are currently operating within its COVID-19 Emergency Response Plan,” the Department’s written statement said. “These remote operations and VRE’s current workload greatly impact how soon responsive records can be provided.”
“VRE is expected to make this determination within thirty business days,” the statement concluded.
DeKalb County responded to an Open Records Request from The Georgia Star News to produce the ballot transfer forms that formed the critical chain of custody link in the absentee ballots deposited in the near 300 drop boxes in the state and transported t https://t.co/6hQAI9lU4c pic.twitter.com/rs4EnIP3sW
— The Georgia Star News (@GeorgiaStarNews) December 5, 2020
The local news outlet, through open records requests, ask for the ballot transfer forms from several counties including Cobb, Cook, and Dekalb Counties. Cobb and Cook Counties have complied with the requests.
A spokesperson for embattled Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (R) – who is also listed as the secretary for a corporation called Sweet Virgin Inc., which makes virgin mink hair weaves, told reporters last week that ballot transfer forms are in the possession of the individual counties.
Georgia election law requires ballots from drop boxes and other remote ballot depository locations to be picked up by teams of at least two people who are mandated to complete a transfer form upon doing so.
“The 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 relevant rule states.
“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.”
The drop boxes in question in Dekalb County should have more than a dozen signed ballot transfer forms, this calculated by the frequency of the pickups required by the law’s provisions.
The Peach State first used absentee ballot drop boxes for its June 19 primary, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.
The Trump campaign’s legal team filed an election contest in Georgia on December 4, 2020, charging that violations of the Constitution and state laws took place in the 2020 General Election.
The President has held that widespread and systemic fraud occurred in Georgia that could be corrected if the signatures on absentee ballot envelopes were to be verified.
Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R), called on Georgia’s Secretary of State to order a signature audit after the release of damning video footage that documented poll workers in Fulton County processing ballots in the middle of the night with no observers.