2020 Election: Chain of Custody (Still) Missing for Thousands of Absentee Ballots in Georgia

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More than four months have passed since the 2020 presidential election in which Trump’s second term in office was prevented by Democrat Joe Biden.

More than four months have passed since the 2020 presidential election in which Democrat Joe Biden prevented Trump’s second term in office. The former president consistently maintained that the election was fraught with fraud which compromised his votes while boosting Biden’s tally. 

Georgia is one of the main states where the alleged fraud took place. The state has not produced the chain of custody documents for thousands of mail absentee ballots deposited in drop boxes and transferred to counting locations.

“The outcome of the 2020 presidential election in Georgia was decided by fewer than 12,000 votes. It’s been months, yet GA officials have failed to produce a chain of custody documents for 404,691 – of the estimated 600,000 absentee vote by mail ballots deposited in drop boxes,” Phillip Kline, former Attorney General of Kansas and Director of the Amistad Project, said in a tweet.  

When ‘The Star News’ requested counties to provide ballot transfer form data under the Georgia Open Records Law, only 56 out of 159 counties could do so. According to the Emergency Rule, the counties are mandated to maintain ballot transfer forms that the Georgia State Election Board passed last July.

Of the 103 counties that failed to comply with the request for data, 35 counties did not respond to The Star News’ request, 33 gave notification that they did not have any drop box locations, 17 acknowledged the request but did not produce the necessary documents. Eight asked for a processing fee to make the ballot data available to the public.

Additionally, six counties admitted having the forms. Still, they stated that they could not deliver them for various reasons. Two counties were indeterminate in their response. One county promised to send the information via mail. The last remaining county sent the documents but neglected to list how many ballots were collected from the drop boxes located at various county parts.

Georgia state election rules mandate that the ballots be collected by a team of at least two people who must complete a transfer form every time they finish the task. 

LAWRENCEVILLE, GA – NOVEMBER 07: Election personnel sort absentee ballot applications for storage at the Gwinnett County Board of Voter Registrations and Elections offices on November 7, 2020, in Lawrenceville, Georgia. Georgia is one of the main states where the alleged fraud took place Nouvelage/Getty Images)

“The collection team shall complete and sign a ballot transfer form upon removing the ballots from the dropbox, which shall include the date, time, location, and a number of ballots. After emptying the drop box [at] 7:00 p.m. on Election Day, the collection team shall close the drop box and indicate on the ballot transfer form that the drop box was emptied and closed,” according to the election code.

Almost 300 drop boxes were utilized to collect absentee votes in Georgia for the 2020 presidential race. Some of these boxes were partly funded by donations from third parties, like the Center for Tech and Civic Life, which received money from Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

Election integrity bills

The numerous irregularities in the 2020 election, including the case of a missing chain of custody for mail ballots in Georgia, have forced the Republican Party to fight for stricter election integrity rules throughout the country. 

In Georgia, an election reform bill basically ends no-excuse absentee voting and places several restrictions on the use of drop boxes during the election.

In Arizona, the Senate has passed a bill mandating voters to submit an ID card and proof of address. The Senate has also banned private funding of elections. 

In New Hampshire, the Senate passed a similar bill that requires voters to produce the last four digits of their social security number and a valid ID, along with their absentee ballot applications.

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  • Arvind is a recluse who prefers staying far away from the limelight as possible. Be that as it may, he keeps a close eye on what's happening and reports on it to keep people rightly informed.