Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (R) is demanding that two Fulton County election officials be fired.
“Fulton County’s continued failures have gone on long enough with no accountability. [Fulton County election director] 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,” Raffensperger said in a tweet Thursday.
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.
— GA Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (@GaSecofState) July 15, 2021
Raffensperger made the call after nearly 200 ballots were revealed to have been double-counted in the November election before a recount. There is no indication that the double-counted ballots impacted the final vote totals of either former President Donald Trump or President Joe Biden after three statewide recounts, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
The discovery of double-counted ballots is another example in a string of election controversies that have sprung from Fulton County dating back years. In an effort to rein in Fulton County’s ongoing election issues, the state and county agreed to have an independent observer watch over the county’s election procedures in 2020. The observer’s report, made public last month, detailed a series of issues from miscommunication to workers failing to handle ballots properly.
Raffensperger has been increasingly critical of Fulton County’s handling of the 2020 election. Fulton County Board of Commissioners Chair Rob Pitts, a Democrat, has accused Raffensperger of targeting Fulton to play up Trump’s allegations of widespread voter fraud, despite Raffensperger’s own defense of the integrity of Georgia’s election.
“His ultimate goal is based on the provisions of Senate Bill 202, he would like to take over the elections in Fulton County, That is not going to happen, period,” Pitts said after Raffensperger called for Barron and Jones’ firings. “I think all of this is an effort to cast doubt for the 2022 and 2024 elections. That’s the only thing this could be over because the past elections are over, votes have been counted, elections have been certified.”
Fulton County’s election board attempted to remove Barron from his position in February. The election board’s vote was overruled by the county Board of Commissioners, leaving Barron in place.
In December, amid recounts, Raffensperger put the blame for questions about Georgia’s election results squarely on Fulton County, accusing it of mishandling the election and violating procedures laid out by the Secretary of State’s office.
“The real issue is a Fulton County employee made several compounding errors,” Raffensperger said at the time. “Instead of following the procedures that my office and the vendor laid out, Fulton County once again cut corners.”
“Us and our office, and I think the rest of the state, is getting a little tired of always having to wait on Fulton County and always having to put up with their dysfunction,” he added.
Pitts at the time continued to defend Fulton’s handling of the 2020 election.
“It is outrageous that Fulton County continues to be a target of those who cannot accept the results from last year’s election,” Pitts said. “The votes have been counted multiple times, including a hand recount, and no evidence of fraud has been found.”
“The fact remains that Fulton County safely and securely carried out an election in the midst of a public health crisis,” he added.