Georgia opens investigation into drop box ballots, chain of custody in hotly contested county

Official Absentee Ballot Drop Box at 4380 Memorial Drive in greater Decatur. Photo by Dean Hesse.

The Georgia Secretary of State’s office is taking action for the sake of election integrity and opening up a probe into drop box ballots and chain of custody issues in DeKalb County.

The state’s elections office confirmed to Just the News on Tuesday that the office of Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger has begun an investigation relating to the chain of custody of ballots left at drop box locations in DeKalb County.

“The Secretary of State’s office has opened an investigation into the drop box chain of custody documentation for Dekalb County,” the office told Just the News.

They will be checking for compliance with chain of custody rules as well as whether those rules were effective.

“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,” the office stated to the outlet.

The probe comes after Georgia Star News reported that most absentee ballots cast in the county’s general election were counted and certified despite that they did not meet chain of custody requirements.

43,907 of the 61,731 absentee ballots placed in drop boxes for the 2020 election were counted as legitimate votes without being voted properly by rules set forth by the Georgia State Election Board, according to Just the News.

All told, 43,907 absentee ballots deposited in drop boxes in DeKalb County (28,194 absentee ballots whose chain of custody was accounted for on ballot transfer forms that were signed as received by the registrar’s designee one day after election workers removed them from drop boxes plus 15,713 absentee ballots whose chain of custody was accounted for on ballot transfer forms for with there was no registrar’s designee signature for time or date of receipt) were counted in the certified results of the November 3, 2020 election despite being delivered to the registrar’s office in clear violation of the chain of custody documentation of the Georgia State Election Board’s July 2020 rule.

Georgia Star News

But, DeKalb, which is a Democrat stronghold, wasn’t the only county found in direct violation of the state’s election laws.

“As we announced earlier this year, Coffee, Grady, and Taylor counties all failed to complete any ballot transfer documents,” the office also told Just the News. “They were referred for investigation.”

“In Stephens County, the elections director emptied an absentee ballot drop box on her own instead of with the two people that the State Election Board rule required. Stephen County was referred to the Attorney General’s office by the State Election Board,” the Secretary of State’s office continued.

As reports of voting irregularities and violations continue to arise in contested states, officials are beginning to take steps to resolve what happened in 2020 and guarantee future free and fair elections.

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