Georgia Secretary of State refers 3 counties for investigation over absentee ballots

ATLANTA — Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said three counties violated absentee ballot regulations during the 2020 election.

Raffensperger said he referred Coffee, Grady, and Taylor Counties for investigation after he said the counties “failed to do their absentee ballot transfer forms in violation of Georgia Rules and Regulations.”

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According to the secretary of state’s office, the counties failed to fill out the necessary forms as required. The three counties accounted for 0.37% of all the absentee ballots cast in the November election, Raffensperger said.

“Since day one, I have made securing Georgia’s election a top priority and I have not stopped working since then,” Raffensperger said. “Though the overwhelming majority of counties did what they were supposed to, this demonstrates that new steps need to be taken to fully secure our elections. Securing elections is work that is never truly finished.”

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The secretary of state’s office said absentee ballot drop boxes were allowed by emergency rule of the State Election Board to address the absentee ballot voting surge caused by COVID-19. The emergency rule required counties with drop boxes to fill out ballot transfer forms that included the date, time, location, and number of ballots in the drop boxes whenever election officials collected ballots from the drop box.

In total, 123 counties had absentee ballot drop boxes for the November election. Of those, 120 have confirmed they filled out and retained ballot transfer forms in accordance with Georgia rules.

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