On the night of Nov. 3, tens of thousands of absentee ballots for Fulton County, Georgia, were counted at the State Farm Arena’s vote-tabulation center in Atlanta. In recent days, the fog of incomplete and conflicting information provided by interested parties has begun to clear.
It now appears that a state election monitor was absent for a part of the counting process and that Republican poll watchers were led to believe the counting was over when it in fact wasn’t. It is also clear that the watchers were prevented from meaningfully observing much of the process, even though they were allowed in the room.
Georgia is a key battleground state, controlling 16 electoral votes. Current results show Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden ahead of President Donald Trump by about 12,000 votes. The Trump campaign and other groups are challenging the results, alleging fraud and other illegalities. The campaign is demanding that the Georgia state legislature grant the state’s electoral votes to Trump.
Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, a Republican, has acknowledged that his office is investigating hundreds of instances of potential illegal voting activity, but has rejected the notion that Fulton County officials themselves were involved in fraud during the ballot count at the arena on election night.
On Aug. 10, the State Election Board approved a new rule that allows election officials to start opening and scanning absentee ballots three weeks before Election Day (pdf). State law says the ballots can only be opened on Election Day. The state is being sued over the rule, based on the argument that the board didn’t have the jurisdiction to issue the rule change.
The rule allows officials to verify signatures on ballot packages and feed ballots to scanners. The votes are then to be stored in the scanner memory until they can be added to the tallies on election night. It’s not clear to what degree Fulton County has followed the new rule. County spokeswoman Jessica Corbitt declined to answer questions posed by The Epoch Times for this article.