After a vote that took place Wednesday, the Georgia State Election Board, which is controlled by Republicans, has moved closer towards potentially taking over the elections in Fulton County. The vote centered on whether or not to appoint a bipartisan panel to conduct an investigation into Fulton County.
In Georgia, Republicans have long desired to have statewide control over the election review process, particularly in Fulton County, which yielded a major victory for the Democrats in the 2020 presidential election. Donald Trump also called out Fulton County for election fraud, though an independent monitor did not find evidence of voter irregularities.
According to Sara Tindall Ghazal, an election board member, a major influence that has driven the push towards statewide monitoring of elections is the fact “that Fulton County voters have reported numerous problems for far longer than November 2020, particularly surrounding registration and absentee ballots.”
The three-person panel includes Ryan Germany, who serves as general counsel for Republican Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger; Stephen Day, who serves as member of the Gwinnett County Elections Board; and Ricky Kittle, who serves as chairman of the Catoosa County Elections Board.
This board is tasked with conducting a full, thorough investigation of elections, registrations, election equipment, and compliance with state law. In addition, the board will also issue reports that share the various conclusions it reaches.
The review panel was formed after GOP legislators requested an investigation into how Fulton County handled elections during the previous month. Republican legislators have stated that they want the review to ensure that Fulton County election officials, which comprise nearly 11 percent of Georgia’s electorate, have fully complied with state laws.
The panel will take approximately 90 days to investigate, starting from the date of the request prior to a preliminary hearing regarding the results of the investigation.
The review in Georgia follows a similar review in Phoenix, Arizona, wherein the Arizona State Senate subpoenaed 2.1 million ballots that had been cast in the 2020 presidential election. The purpose of the subpoena was to ensure that election officials across Maricopa County counted and certified the vote count properly.
However, the review proposed in Fulton County will not be a full forensic audit; instead, it will focus on whether or not officials have followed all proper procedures.
Joe Biden received almost 73 percent of the vote in Fulton County, whereas Trump received 26 percent. In total, Biden received 234,904 more votes than Trump did in Fulton County. However, Trump lost Georgia by only 12,000 votes.
Various Republican allies of Trump have attempted contesting the ballot counts throughout the state, especially in Fulton County, given that election officials did not report their tallies as quickly as others in the election’s aftermath.