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March 26, 2023
Reports coming out earlier this week revealed that 200 absentee ballots in Fulton county were double counted and scanned twice ahead of the Georgia recount.
Brad Raffensperger, the Georgia Secretary of State, in response to the reports tweeted, “Fulton County’s continued failures have gone on long enough with no accountability. Rick Barron and Ralph Jones, Fulton’s registration chief, must be fired and removed from Fulton’s elections leadership immediately. Fulton’s voters and the people of Georgia deserve better.” Ultimately, the decision to retain or to fire the officials will fall to the Fulton County Commision. Local commission members continue to debate the decision, with Democratic members wanting to retain Barron and Jones and Republican members wanting them ousted.
Fulton county contains most of Atlanta within its boundaries and it leans heavily democrat, with 72.6% of the presidential votes going to Joe Biden in November. It was the third most democrat-leaning county in Georgia in this most recent election, just behind its two neighboring counties of Clayton and DeKalb (Politico). Fulton County, and its election officials, came under scrutiny immediately following the release of election results, after Georgia voted blue for the first time since Clinton was elected in 1992. Since then, there have been multiple allegations and investigations into election fraud spread throughout multiple states and counties (Yahoo News).
Raffensperger, who is currently running for re-election as the Georgia Secretary of State, has been criticized by Donald Trump numerous times for his handling of the election. The newest discovery of ballots being double counted, even though a small number, may sour his reputation among the republican base even more. The error was found in part due to a duplicate vote for Kanye West, a write-in candidate (Newsweek). This uncharacteristic find led officials on a trail that led to the 200 duplicates.
Raffensperger is currently being challenged in the primaries by fellow Republican Jody Hice, who Trump has now officially endorsed. According to his website, Congressman Hice currently serves as the 10th Congressional District representative and is the Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Government Operations for the Committee on Oversight and Reform. Some democrats in the Fulton County Commission believe that Raffensperger’s calls to fire election officials is simply a strategy to appeal to the republican base and maintain his position as the Secretary of State in his upcoming bid for reelection.
ARTICLE: ABBY RANCOUR
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: YAHOO NEWS