43,907 of the 61,731 absentee ballots deposited in drop boxes in the November 2020 presidential election in DeKalb County, Georgia–72 percent–were counted in official tallies certified by the county and the state, despite violating chain of custody requirements set forward in Georgia Emergency Rule 183-1-14-1.8-.14 promulgated by the Georgia State Election Board at its July 1, 2020, meeting.
That rule states absentee ballots placed in drop boxes, “shall be immediately transported to the county registrar” by the two person collection team, which is required to sign a ballot transfer form indicating the number of ballots picked up, the time the ballots were picked up, and the location of the drop box, and that, “The county registrar or a designee thereof shall sign the ballot transfer form upon receipt of the ballots from the collection team.”
An analysis by The Georgia Star News of DeKalb County’s absentee ballot drop box transfer forms from the November 2020 election identified a number of problems that puts the documents out of compliance with the Georgia Board of Election Emergency Rule 183-1-14-1.8-.14.
The Star News reviewed 725 absentee ballot drop box transfer forms, obtained from the DeKalb County law department in response to an open records request, that were used by DeKalb County during the November 2020 election to document the chain of custody of the 61,731 absentee ballots deposited in drop boxes .
Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger on Wednesday announced that he had referred three counties for investigation after they bucked state law and failed to do their absentee ballot transfer forms from last November’s presidential election. Raffensperger, in a press release, identified those three counties as Coffee, Grady, and Taylor. The three counties account for only 0.37 percent of all absentee ballots cast in last year’s election, he said.
With the January 5 run-off election for two U.S. Senate seats underway and election practices in Georgia for the November 3 presidential election remaining under intense scrutiny, DeKalb County has failed to produce the drop box absentee ballot transfer forms that are required under a State Election Board emergency rule.
Absentee ballot transfer forms are a critical piece in the chain of custody for votes deposited into the approximately 300 drop boxes deployed throughout the state of Georgia for the November election. DeKalb County, with its 34 drop box locations, accounted for more than 10 percent of Georgia’s absentee ballot drop boxes.