State board clears Fulton County in 2020 election controversy

Numerous allegations made against the Fulton County Department of Registration and Elections and two election workers were false and unsubstantiated.
A takeover would have meant state officials would be placed in charge of polling locations, ballot tabulation, and county election staffing.
Published: Jun. 20, 2023 at 2:16 PM EDT|Updated: Jun. 22, 2023 at 12:00 PM EDT
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ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - Georgia’s state election board has closed its investigation into alleged malfeasance during the 2020 election at the State Farm Arena in Atlanta.

According to a statement from Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, numerous allegations made against the Fulton County Department of Registration and Elections, and specifically, two election workers, were false and unsubstantiated.

“We are glad the State Election Board finally put this issue to rest,” Raffensperger said. “False claims and knowingly false allegations made against these election workers have done tremendous harm. Election workers deserve our praise for being on the front lines.”

The investigation, which included personnel from Raffensperger’s office and GBI and FBI agents, found “there was no evidence of any type of fraud as alleged,” according to the board.

“Three law enforcement agencies reviewed the entire unedited video footage of the events in question surrounding [the two election workers] at State Farm Arena,” the report said. They also reviewed social media posts allegedly made by a Fulton County election worker stating they engaged in election fraud, which was found to have been created by a third party who “admitted he created a fake account and confirmed the content was fake.”

Ultimately, “all allegations made against [the two election workers] were unsubstantiated and found to have no merit,” Raffensperger’s office said.

State Election Board Member Ed Lindsey requested a letter be sent to the two election workers, “because of what [these election workers] have gone through, I’d like to ask that [the state election board] writes a letter affirmatively telling them that the matter has been dismissed.”

The State Election Board appointed a three-person panel in August 2021 after Republican lawmakers used a provision of a sweeping election law passed earlier that year to request a review of Fulton County’s handling of elections.

The bipartisan review panel found Fulton County had a history of election problems but has also shown considerable improvement, with the panel recommending in January that the state should not take over.

Former President Donald Trump had zeroed in on the county after he lost Georgia by a slim margin in the November 2020 general election. In phone calls to state election officials and in public comments, Trump made claims of widespread election fraud in Fulton.

Actions he took as he tried to overturn his election loss, including a phone call to Raffensperger, led Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis to open an ongoing investigation into whether Trump and others illegally meddled in the state’s election.

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