Fulton County: Election Monitor Details “Massive” Failures

  • by:
  • Source: UncoverDC
  • 09/19/2023

On Monday, November 2, 2020, Carter Jones of Seven Hill Strategies began a six-day assignment in Fulton County as an independent election monitor. Jones was appointed by the Georgia Election Board as part of a Consent Order to resolve complaints about problems during the June 2020 primary election. At a meeting on October 30, 2020, County election officials indicated they recognized issues during the primary, noting they were mainly caused by the "ongoing coronavirus pandemic." After outlining the details of the Consent order and informing the Board of the provision allowing the State Election Board to "appoint a monitor to track and report progress to the Board," Assistant Attorney General Charlene McGowan asked the Board to approve the appointment of Mr. Carter Jones

As reported by Just The News, a 29-page compilation of "Unabridged Notes Detailing Everything Witnessed Nov 2-Nov 7, 2020," written by Carter Jones on November 13, 2020, exposes—minute-by-minute—"the 'massive' election integrity failures and mismanagement that he witnessed in the Atlanta-area's election centers."

From the moment Jones began monitoring the process Monday night at the Fulton County election warehouse, he witnessed massive election integrity concerns. Immediately, Carter noted that Election Director Rick Barron "is already visibly exhausted. He slept three hours last night and this is taking its toll on him." A "constant issue" on election eve, Jones noted that poll pads arrived without paperwork or a clear plan for organizing them for the election. And the issues continued from there. Highlights from his notes follow.


Tuesday, November 3 - Election Day

Carter Jones arrived at the warehouse at 5:07 am. At 5:47 am he reported on poll manager Susan Voyles' refusal to wear a mask, and she "doesn't seem to have any of her equipment yet." His next note is at 4:00 pm when he arrives at State Farm Arena to monitor the pre-scanning and preparation for the evening's influx.

  • Too many ballots coming in for secure black ballot boxes. They are being moved from Pryor St. in rolling bins 2k at a time, a massive chain of custody problem. Jones says the ballots are supposed to be moved in numbered, sealed boxes to protect them.
  • Leak in the "Sanitary Waste" line at State Farm left large pool of water overnight. No hardware lost or ballots but work was delayed from 5:30 am to 9:00 am. Only casualty was an extension cord.
  • ~7:00 pm—Staff working harder after Ralph Jones arrives, before that they were joking around, taking breaks, with no sense of urgency. Registration Chief for Fulton County Ralph (who created the system to count the absentee ballots) gave a pep talk that the rest must be finished by 5 pm tomorrow. He tells them he needs another 15-20k tonight so they can hit 100k
  • 11:17 pm—In response to news that Fulton Co. stopped scanning at 10:30 pm, news reaches warehouse that Sec. Raffensperger "ripped" Fulton Co., saying 'Fulton can't get anything right.' Morale hit palpable in warehouse body language. Chairman Pitts "pissed"
  • 11:26 pm—Confusion about whether they're still scanning at State Farm because of reports that the staff there told the rest of the staff and press to leave, but I am still getting number reports from Shaye.
  • 11:52 pm—I arrive at State Farm Arena and report to Ryan Germany and Deputy Secretary Jordan Fuchs that they staff are still scanning on all five scanners. “The media just packed up when I released all the staff opening and sorting ballots,” Shaye told me. The scanners worked to clear what had been processed that day instead of interrupting the processing flow to secure the ballots before leaving. Their goal is to hit Ralph’s 100k by the end of the night.
  • Ralph informs them that the staff at Pryor St should be finished processing all the ballots from the drop boxes by 10 AM on 11/4

As reported by UncoverDC, election officials pulled suitcases full of ballots from under tables draped with tablecloths immediately after the press and two Republican field organizers, sent as observers, were asked to leave around 10 pm on Election Day.

Wednesday, November 4 - E-Day Plus 1

At 12:08 am Jones sent Germany a photo with a timestamp showing that scanners are still working so he can refute stories to the contrary. He also noted that Ralph had recently re-scanned some ballots that Shaye had already processed, and order was starting to break down.

  • 12:15 am—Inspector James Callaway arrives to investigate the accusations that the Fulton staff had told the press to go home and were scanning without observers.
  • 1:12 am—I arrive back at the warehouse to double-check that materials from Election Day were collected correctly
  • As I arrive, I see Rick and other Fulton leadership going through a mail cart. I am told that 'they are doing a final check to make sure that everything has been recorded," 'moving from one stack to another but Tia, who was doing the intake, is nowhere to be found to give me final numbers. I am (cryptically) told that she is unavailable because she is "dealing with an issue."
  • They're pulling compact flashes (CF)→poll manager put a Mobile 2 CF in Mobile 1 CF slot, which is causing confusion now. People are talking about a "master bus" problem for the backups, which seems to be causing the confusion.
  • 2:00 pm—Return from lunch to learn that the remaining 2,800 ballots from last night's drop boxes have been delivered. I am told that all absentee ballots (aside from UOCAVA) are here now. Again, this shipment came in mail carts instead of black ballot bins—chain of custody issues.
  • 8:10 pm—Matthew Mashburn from the State Election Board tells me that a party poll watcher was on the elevator with two new reinforcements. The first asked the second if they 'were ready for a long night.' The second replied that, "yeah. I'm ready to f*ck sh*t up." I must keep an eye on these two. Perhaps this was a bad joke, but it was very poorly timed in the presence of a poll watcher.
  • Rick's girlfriend is hanging out in the scanning area and keeping him company without credentials to be there. He seems very distracted with his new celebrity status still and is laughing while reading tweets aloud.

Screenshot / Unabridged Notes / Carter Jones

Thursday, November 5 – E-Day Plus 2

  • ~12:45 am—Malcolm (poll tech) brings me an iPad showing that 157 polls are still "open" in Fulton's backend software. He shows me that he can personally close one himself.
  • 3:52 am—Rick getting double feeds on the OPEX and I'm not sure he's matching ballots with the Oath envelopes correctly. He's also on the phone.
  • 11:37 am—A panicked staff member tells me that Fulton "found" four boxes or trays at the warehouse and that they're on the way here now. I alert SOS contacts. I ask Ralph and am told that these are cured ballots that cleared the second phase of rejections→cured ballots all collected before the poll close.
  • 12:40 pm—I inform the SOS office that Ralph has told me that there are +/-1,200 cured ballots
  • ~1:10 pm—I learn that Fulton hasn't pulled down files since 9:30 am and won't be releasing them until we finish scanning the cured ballots today. Ralph says it's a hardware issue and that we don't have enough flash drives. How long has he known this? Why did no one go and buy more? They are not hard to come by.

Friday, November 6 – E-Day Plus 3 ("Provisional Ballot Day")

Jones noted that materials were put away hastily and it was a slow start to the morning to sort it out. He was told that all provisional scans from Thursday night needed to be reorganized, noting that the Fulton staff blamed reinforcement staff from Happy Faces. Jones commented, "Sloppy shutdown yesterday has caused lots of problems this morning."

  • 10:45 am—Ralph arrives and informs me that 700 more provisional ballots that have been verified and were included in the released 3,940 figure are coming today. He says "late bags" are to blame. He cites email to him with numbers at 10:03 on 11/5. Not sure how he can remember that.
  • 3:37 pm—Ask Ralph about the last ballot box of provisionals sitting under a table. “Oh, there’s another box down there?” he says as he goes and pulls them out for sorting. Can assume they would’ve been forgotten even though he put them there.
  • Learn that 35 compact flashes (CF), some still in the scanners, were not used on Election Day because of the low turnout.
  • I overhear someone say on the phone, “Seal everything and then verify numbers later."
  • 9:35 pm—I find a stack of ballots requiring duplication sitting on table where another staffer had been working. I bring to Ralph’s attention. He hadn’t noticed it. 
  • Need clarity in poll managers handbook about how to deal with provisionals. Shaye currently accepted in mixed batch of small and large ballots. Polling precincts printed out the 8.5x11 and put it in a provisional envelope instead of giving the voter an absentee ballot.

Saturday, November 7 – E-Day Plu 4

  • 3:15 pm—State Farm security guard hasn’t verified which GOP observers can come in. She literally just told them that “Democratic observers are allowed in and not Republican” because she didn’t have their names. After unsuccessfully attempting to persuade her that this process must be open to the public, I give the GOP poll watchers my number to call her supervisor and go up to the processing room so that staff are not left alone with ballots.
    • 7:35 pm—After talking to Ralph, Rick tells me that they are now counting the number of salmon provisional envelopes to make sure that all are accounted for because Ralph never counted them on the way in—unaccounted-for ballots are a huge problem! My problem is that, therefore there is a possibility that; 1), not all provisional ballots made it to State Farm or, 2) some are missing because they never did an intake count. Both are bad.
    • 11:04 pm—Staff leaving. Did not log off computers like they did last night. I am told that the Dominion people will handle that; yesterday, I was told the opposite by a Dominion tech.

Prior to the unveiling of his "Unabridged Notes," Jones presented a 14-page report for the Georgia Election Board elaborating on the nearly 270 hours he spent from October to January observing "every aspect" of Fulton County's elections. Yet, in a stark contradiction to his notes, Jones stated in his official report that although he did observe "sloppy data entry" and several procedural problems, "at no time did I ever observe any conduct by Fulton County election officials that involved dishonesty, fraud, or intentional malfeasance." Additionally, Jones wrote that he did not witness any "ballot stuffing" or "double counting," which would "undermine the validity, fairness, and accuracy of the results published and certified by Fulton County."

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