Georgia election staff sacked accused of shredding election proposals

Two Georgia election workers from the state’s most populous district were sacked Friday for allegedly destroying nominations in the past two weeks.

Fulton County said in a statement Monday that following a preliminary review, two employees may have checked out stacks of applications for processing but allegedly shredded some of the forms instead of processing them in full.

According to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (R), 300 local election-related motions have allegedly been destroyed.

Fulton County said colleagues reported the behavior to their manager on Friday morning. The two election workers were fired that day.

The illegal behavior is said to have occurred within the past two weeks, according to Richard Barron, director of registration and elections for Fulton County.

According to The Associated Press, Fulton County is due to hold elections on November 2nd to elect a mayor, councilors and other local officials. The registration deadline for voters for these races was October 4th.

Raffensperger, in response to the report that election officials had been fired for allegedly destroying bids, asked the Justice Department to investigate the Fulton County elections. He said his office has already started an investigation into the new allegations.

“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,” Raffensperger said in a statement.

“The Department of Justice needs to look closely at what Fulton County is doing and how its leadership disenfranchises Fulton voters through incompetence and wrongdoing. Georgia voters are fed up with Fulton County’s failures, ”he added.

According to Raffensperger, Georgia state law requires election officials to retain primary or general election documents for 24 months after voters go to the polls.

Voter registration requests in the state do not list the party that identifies Georgia residents because voters do not enroll by party, according to the AP.

Fulton County spokeswoman Jessica Corbitt said it was not immediately clear whether the 300 voter registration applications examined were lost.

“Usually, processing a voter registration application involves entering into the state system, updating and verifying their information,” she said, according to the AP. “That is the matter that is being investigated – was this process complete.”

The district said that after hearing of voter registration petitions being destroyed, Robb Pitts, chairman of the Fulton County Commission, immediately reported it to Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis for investigation.

“Elections are the most important function of our government,” Pitts said in a statement. “We are committed to transparency and integrity.”

The reports of torn voter registration filings in Fulton County are the latest in a series of troubles the county’s elections have faced in recent years, including long lines and inefficient reporting strategies, according to the AP.

Fulton County is already under scrutiny for its electoral practices after a state electoral body unanimously voted in August to set up a bipartisan review body to examine how the county’s elections are handled.

Additionally, following the 2020 elections, Raffensperger forced Fulton County into a consent order that the State Department said required a state-appointed observer to monitor its electoral practices.

Raffensperger said the observer did not find any fraud in the elections but pointed to “significant mismanagement problems in the Fulton County’s electoral process”.