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Georgia Opens Probe Into Drop Box Ballots, Chain Of Custody In Huge Democrat County

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OPINION: This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion


Georgia’s Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger has opened an investigation into the handling of dropboxes in the 2020 election in one of the state’s Democratic strongholds.

The investigation comes after a scathing report that there were problems with the chain of custody documentation in DeKalb County, Just The News reported.

DeKalb County, which is just outside the Atlanta metro area, is one of the largest Democrat strongholds in the state.

Last November, 83% of DeKalb residents voted for Joe Biden over Donald Trump.

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The investigation comes after DeKalb County’s election director was placed on an extended leave of absence two weeks ago.

“The Secretary of State’s office has opened an investigation into the dropbox chain of custody documentation for Dekalb County,” Raffensperger’s office said.

“The investigation includes not only whether Dekalb County properly complied with the documentation required by the State Election Board but also whether the actual procedures used by Dekalb adequately protected chain of custody for ballots returned to drop boxes,” Raffensperger’s office added.

Fulton County, Georgia’s most populous county, and seat of Democratic power in the state is under review for a possible, eventual takeover of its elections by Georgia’s State Election Board. 

The move has commenced under a process outlined in Georgia’s sweeping new voting law, which was recently passed, according to Fox News

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On Wednesday, the State Election Board voted unanimously to approve a bipartisan three-person review panel to investigate Fulton County, which includes most of the city of Atlanta and makes up around 11 percent of the state’s electorate.

The county has been subject to criticism from Republican lawmakers who have scrutinized its voting practices after President Trump and his allies made as-yet-to-be-unproven claims that widespread fraud in Fulton county contributed to his narrow defeat in the US 2020 election.

Efforts by the Trump campaign persist despite pushback from Democrats, who reject his accusations. 

In July, Republican lawmakers asked the state board to appoint a performance review panel to investigate Fulton’s handling of elections, setting off the process that would enable the Republican-controlled state board to replace Fulton County’s board of registration and elections with an administrator of the board’s choosing. 

As detailed by Fox News, Fulton County accounts for around 11 percent of Georgia’s voting electorate. President Biden officially won nearly 73 percent of votes cast in last year’s election.

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U.S. Census data shows the county is made up of almost equal parts white and black residents followed by Asians. The county is 45.5 percent white, 44.5 percent black, and 7.6 percent Asian. 

Sara Tindall Ghazal, the solitary Democrat on the State Election Board, said that the board is required by law to appoint a panel after reaching the lawmakers’ request.

She made her comments before voting to approve the review panel. She added that she expects the board to be under “tremendous political pressure on both sides.” 

“The narrative driving this pressure has been influenced by disinformation surrounding the November 2020 election, but the fact remains that Fulton County voters have reported numerous problems for far longer than November 2020, particularly surrounding registration and absentee ballots,” Ghazal said. “I urge Fulton County to review this performance review board as an opportunity to have fresh eyes on their systems and procedures and identify areas of improvement.”

According to Matt Mashburn, a Republican member of the State Election Board, the panel has diverse representation with a Democrat from the Atlanta area and a Republican from a rural part of the state.

It also has a lawyer from the Secretary of States’ office. Mashburn says that the panel has been “carefully balanced to reflect all interests so that the accusations that we heard in the press that this is just a Republican hatchet job against Fulton County is not reflected by this slate of candidates.”

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“I encourage Fulton to keep trying to improve and not just throw up their hands and say it’s all in the hands of the board now,” he said, Fox News reported. 

Republican lawmakers responsible for implementing the review said that they want to ensure that election officials in Fulton County have been following state voting laws and regulations. 

The move has seen pushback from Democrats and so-called voting rights activists, who argue that the provision could allow political interference in local elections.

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