The Fulton County Office’s previous investigation could eventually replace the Board of Elections with a temporary superintendent with broad powers to oversee the vote.
The elections office in Georgia’s heavily Democratic Fulton County said Monday that two activists were fired for cutting voter registration forms, most likely to add fuel to the Republican-led investigation into the office that critics have politicized. Said inspired.
County Elections Director Richard Barron said employees of the Fulton County Board of Elections were fired Friday after other employees told them to destroy registration forms for processing ahead of local elections in November.
Fulton County Commission Chairman Rob Pitts said in a statement that both the county district attorney and the state’s chief electoral officer Brad Raffensperger were asked to investigate the matter.
But it was Mr Riffensperger who first disclosed the allegations of the truncated registration form, issuing a scathing news release demanding that the Justice Department investigate “incompetence and malpractice” at the agency. “After 20 years of documented failure in the Fulton County elections, Georgians are tired of waiting to see what the next embarrassing revelation will be,” he said.
His announcement only underscored the political implications of the document-cutting allegations, which almost certainly would have carried less freight to any other election office. Fulton County officials did not say how many forms were cut out, but Mr. Raffensperger put the total at about 300 in a county with 800,000 voters.
While allegations of tampering surfaced on Friday, it was not clear when the actual destruction of the registration form would have happened.
Former President Donald J. Mr Raffensperger, who has drawn national attention for rejecting Trump’s request, faces a tough primary race next spring against an opponent backed by Mr Trump. The Fulton County Election Office, meanwhile, has become the subject of fury by Trump supporters who make baseless claims that Biden’s victory in the state was illegitimate.
Some supporters are suing for another review of the presidential vote in Fulton County, which includes a broad swath of metropolitan Atlanta and where 73 percent of voters supported Biden. The statewide Georgia vote has been counted three times with zero evidence of fraud.
The Republican-dominated state legislature this spring approved legislation that gives it effective control of state election boards, and empowers the board to investigate legislators’ complaints about local election bodies. Fulton County was quickly selected for an investigation that could eventually replace the Board of Elections with a temporary superintendent who would have broad powers to oversee the vote.
Voting rights advocates and statewide Democrats have examined the election machinery in the county as a first step toward a pro-Trump takeover, most crucial to Democratic hopes in future elections.
“I don’t think there is any other state in the union that has the power to turn a nonpartisan election office into a partisan branch of the Secretary of State’s office,” said Mr Barron, the Fulton County Elections Director. Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
The performance of the state in the elections has been mixed. Last year’s primary elections were plagued by long lines, and county elections have long been the subject of complaints. A report by a state-appointed monitor concluded that the elections there were “sloppy”, but found no evidence of “dishonesty, fraud or willful malpractice”.
The Election Board has cited recent reforms, such as revised training manuals and newly appointed election managers, as evidence that it is addressing complaints. But Monday’s revelations give critics new ammunition at a time when the November election for Atlanta mayor and city council is being seen as a test of the board’s ability.
Mary Norwood, a Fulton resident who lost in two races for mayor of Atlanta, has been a longtime critic of the board. She said she supports an investigation into the erosion allegations.
“If you have two employees who have been fired by the Director of Elections, that certainly prompts an investigation and analysis,” she said. “It’s important that we get this right.”