If one were to apply the old saying of where there’s smoke, there’s fire to Fulton County, Georgia, it’d be understandable that a person might be reaching for a phone right about now to call the fire department because the smoke is billowing in the Peach State.
President Joe Biden won the state of Georgia by less than 12,000 votes, and the most populous county in the state, Fulton County, which includes Atlanta, has fired two election workers for allegedly shredding voting applications in the past two weeks despite a state law requiring officials to preserve elections documents related to primary or general elections for 24 months after the election.
“Preliminary review suggests that employees may have checked out batches of applications for processing. Instead of fully processing them, in some instances the employees allegedly shredded some of the forms. Fellow employees reported this behavior to their supervisor on Friday morning and the employees were terminated the same day,” read a statement released by the county.
Fulton County Commissioners Chairman Robb Pitts immediately reported the incident to the office of Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis for investigation.
“Elections are the most important function of our government,” Pitts said in the release. “We have committed to transparency and integrity.”
Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said 300 municipal election-related applications were allegedly destroyed and is calling on the Department of Justice to investigate Fulton County elections. His office has already launched an investigation into the allegations.
“After 20 years of documented failure in Fulton County elections, Georgians are tired of waiting to see what the next embarrassing revelation will be,” Raffensperger said in a statement. “The Department of Justice needs to take a long look at what Fulton County is doing and how their leadership disenfranchises Fulton voters through incompetence and malfeasance. The voters of Georgia are sick of Fulton County’s failures.”
Of course, with Attorney General Merrick Garland running the show at the DOJ, the Republican official may want to temper his expectations.
Raffensperger required Fulton County in a consent order to accept a state-appointed monitor to oversee their elections processes, according to the release.
“The monitor, Carter Jones, found no fraud but significant mismanagement issues in Fulton County’s elections processes. Jones described Fulton’s election processes as ‘badly managed, sloppy and chaotic’ after spending several months working closely with Fulton County’s elections,” the statement said.
Raffensperger, a frequent target of former President Donald Trump who insisted that he won Georgia, wants to have it both ways it would seem, as he said in an op-ed shortly after the election, “Georgia’s voting system has never been more secure or trustworthy.”
In a January appearance on “60 Minutes,” Raffensperger said of the election, “We had safe, secure, honest elections, and the results are disappointing if you are a Republican. But those are the results.”
Fulton County is scheduled to hold elections in three weeks for mayor, city council and other municipal officials on Nov. 2, according to The Associated Press. The deadline to register to vote in these elections was Oct. 4.
It’s not clear if the 300 voter registration applications were lost, according to Fulton County spokeswoman Jessica Corbitt — voters don’t register by party in the state.
“Normally, processing a voter registration application involves entering them in the state system, updating them, verifying their information,” she said, according to the AP. “That is the matter that’s under investigation — was that process completed.”
Fulton County said any resident who tries to vote in the upcoming election and is found not to be registered will be able to vote using a provisional ballot.
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