Investigators find no evidence of voter fraud in Georgia’s Fulton County in 2020 election
ATLANTA (AP) – Investigators in Georgia have found no evidence to support claims that fraudulent or counterfeit ballots were counted in Fulton County in the 2020 general election, according to a court record.
Archives (May 2021): Judge clears Fulton County 2020 mail-in ballots for audit
Henry County Superior Court Chief Justice Brian Amero is presiding over a trial that alleges fraud in Fulton County in last year’s election. He is evaluating a request from county officials to dismiss the lawsuit. At a hearing last month, he asked for an update on any investigation by the Secretary of State’s office and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation into allegations of fraudulent or counterfeit ballots in the most populous county. of State.
Lawyers for the state attorney general’s office on Tuesday filed a response brief that details investigative steps taken in response to the allegations.
Former President Donald Trump focused on Georgia, and in particular Fulton County, after the November general election, arguing without evidence that fraud in the county contributed to its small loss in the state.
Archives (March 2021): Trump told chief Georgia election investigator she would be ‘congratulated’ if ‘the right answer came out’
The brief filed Tuesday on behalf of Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger addresses allegations in affidavits filed with the trial that witnesses saw suspicious mail-in ballots during a manual ballot count resulting a state audit requirement.
âBased on witness statements and examination of approximately 1,000 postal ballots and images of ballot papers, the secretary’s investigators did not find any ballot papers corresponding to the descriptions givenâ¦ or appearing to be fraudulent or counterfeit, âthe brief states.
See: Trump, on audio recording, urges Georgian official to ‘find’ more votes
Investigators spoke with Susan Voyles, an auditor during the hand count. She said she saw a batch of “blank” ballots that appeared to have been marked by a computer rather than by hand and were not crumpled as they would have been if they had been put in envelopes.
Investigators examined the ballots in the lots and ballot boxes identified by Voyles, but all had been crumpled and none appeared to have been marked by a computer. Voyles then told investigators she may have been wrong and gave them another box number. Investigators determined that the box-lot combination she cited did not exist.
Voyles told investigators she reported the suspicious mail-in ballots to a county election official at the time, but no official recalled telling her about the suspicious ballots.
Investigators also spoke to Barbara Hartman, an auditor at the same table as Voyles. She confirmed seeing suspicious ballots, but said she did not write down the box or lot numbers. She also said they did not report the suspicious ballots to election officials for fear election workers would offend them.
The investigators also spoke with Sonia-Francis Rolle and Gordon Rolle, both listeners during the count of hands. They said they saw ballots that appeared to have not been folded, but did not report this to election officials or take note of the lot or box number.
The brief also addresses a widely discussed and previously disproved claim that Fulton County election workers working at State Farm Arena on election night pulled out “suitcases” of ballot papers under a table after observers and the media had left. left and scanned the ballots several times.
Investigators looked at nearly 24 hours of security footage. They discovered that the video confirmed that the “suitcases” were normal voting bins that election workers put away under tables when they thought they were done for the night, then removed when told to continue. from.
Investigators interviewed the county chief clerk, four election officers and a county media liaison. They said ballot scanners frequently crashed, forcing them to make multiple attempts to scan all of the ballots in each batch.
Investigators examined the scanner’s activity logs, which confirmed the paper jams reported by election workers and seen in the video.
Investigators therefore concluded that there was no evidence to corroborate the allegations in the trial that election workers scanned and counted fraudulent ballots that had been hidden under tables in the arena. The brief notes that former US Attorney BJay Pak came to the same conclusion based on statements made to the FBI and an independent review of the evidence. Pak resigned in early January, apparently under pressure.
Originally filed in December, the lawsuit said there was evidence of fraudulent ballots and incorrect ballot counting in Fulton County. She relied heavily on affidavits from witnesses interviewed by investigators. It was deposed by nine Georgian voters and led by Garland Favorito, a longtime critic of Georgian electoral systems. As part of the lawsuit, they seek to inspect some 147,000 mail-in ballots to determine if they are illegitimate.
At a hearing on September 20, Amero put the case on hold for 20 days to give investigators time to respond to his order. He said it was important for him to know whether or not counterfeit ballots had been “put into the mix.” He has scheduled another hearing for next month.
Read on (November 2020): Georgia’s recount is over and Biden is still the winner