Election 2020 Georgia

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger speaks during a news conference on Wednesday, Nov. 11, 2020, in Atlanta.

(The Center Square) – Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger is calling on the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate Fulton County’s embattled elections office after employees allegedly shredded hundreds of voter applications.

Fulton County Registration and Elections Director Richard Barron fired two employees last week after allegations they destroyed the applications. Raffensperger’s office said 300 voter applications were shredded in the Fulton County office, which is violation of state law.

Georgia law requires election officials to keep primary or general elections documents for 24 months after the election. Election officials reported the incident to Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis and the Secretary of State’s Office of Investigations.

Raffensperger now wants a full review of the county’s history of election problems by DOJ officials.

“After 20 years of documented failure in Fulton County elections, Georgians are tired of waiting to see what the next embarrassing revelation will be,” Raffensperger said. “The Department of Justice needs to take a long look at what Fulton County is doing and how their leadership disenfranchises Fulton voters through incompetence and malfeasance.”

University of Georgia Professor Charles Bullock said Fulton has a history of long lines to vote and delays in reporting elections results. The majority-Democrat county became a focus of fraud allegations after the 2020 presidential election because of its track record.

The Georgia State Election Board voted in August, under the state’s new voting law, to assign a three-person panel to conduct review of Fulton County's elections, which could lead to replacement of the elections director.

Raffensperger also required Fulton County to agree to a consent order to accept a state-appointed monitor to oversee its elections processes. Raffensperger’s office said the monitor did not find fraud but said Fulton elections “were badly managed, sloppy and chaotic.”

Fulton County officials said the terminated employees may have checked out batches of applications that were received within the last two weeks for processing, but instead of fully processing them, the employees allegedly shredded some of the forms. Other employees reported it to their supervisor Friday, and the employees were fired the same day, officials said.

Fulton County is one of several Georgia counties holding municipal elections Nov. 2. Early voting started in Georgia on Tuesday and ends on Oct. 29. 

Staff Reporter

Nyamekye Daniel has been a journalist for five years. She was the managing editor for the South Florida Media Network and a staff writer for The Miami Times. Daniel's work has also appeared in the Sun-Sentinel, Miami Herald and The New York Times.