Transparency issues mar Senate runoff in Georgia’s largest county as observers cite limited access
"Before 2020, all parties knew that people need to see how ballots are managed," said Amistad Project's Phill Kline, adding that it "doesn't invade voter privacy."
Some election issues remain in Fulton County, Ga., as observers reported having difficulty seeing ballot duplication, and political party observers are still not able to access every facility where ballots are received.
The Amistad Project and the American Voters' Alliance have received reports from observers that indicate there are still issues in Fulton County's elections.
According to a report, overseas ballots aren't being properly tracked and verified as legitimate, which Phill Kline, director of the Amistad Project, said was "concerning." The report also said absentee ballots weren't being properly tracked, according to Kline.
An observer at the Fulton County Absentee Processing Center reported being unable to watch the ballot duplication, which is when a ballot is damaged and a poll worker must duplicate it and determine the voter's intent. Even though observers are five feet away, they are unable to witness ballot duplication because of how they are positioned in the room.
Even though representatives from both political parties are supposed to be able to witness ballot duplication, that "doesn't appear to be what’s happening," Kline told Just the News.
"Before 2020, all parties knew that people need to see how ballots are managed," Kline said. The observation "doesn't invade voter privacy," he said, noting that it has always been public knowledge whether people voted absentee or not.
Kline said that the lack of a requirement for political party observers to be present to witness ballot processing at satellite offices, where mail-in and drop box ballots are handled, is a transparency issue. While the absentee ballot processing centers require political party observers to witness the handling of ballots, the satellite offices do not. He added that absentee ballots are processed before being brought to absentee processing centers, which means that observers are not truly witnessing the entire process of handling ballots.
The former Kansas attorney general added that the post office also manages mail-in ballots and that there should be observers who witness the handling of those as well. Kline explained that "transparency is essential" and that while the postal service claims everything is being postmarked correctly, no one outside the government workers can verify that.
The observer's report, sent to the Amistad Project and American Voters' Alliance, also found that ballots were placed into bins, which were then locked and sealed in filing cabinets. However, a poll worker had forgotten to do something with the cabinet and cut the seals open. The file cabinets contained more than a dozen open trays of ballots with different designations, such as provisional, accepted, and out of country.
Kline explained that there are many procedures in elections and it is essential that they be followed, as they provide protection against fraud by facilitating the exposure of any wrongdoin later. If procedures are violated, then it's "difficult to demonstrate wrongdoing," he said.
Any violation of procedures should be reported and monitored, but if they aren't then "it delegitimizes the election," Kline added.
Fulton County didn't immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday evening.
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