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.”
The Georgia Star News obtained 725 absentee ballot drop box transfer forms used in the November 2020 election in DeKalb County to document the chain of custody of the 61,731 absentee ballots deposited in drop boxes from the DeKalb County law department in response to an open records request.
Those 725 absentee ballot drop box transfer forms can be viewed here.
Of the 61,731 absentee ballots DeKalb County recorded as being deposited into drop boxes during the November 2020 election, 46 percent – or 28,194 of the absentee ballots – were not documented as being received by the elections registrar or the director’s designee until the day after they were collected from the drop box.
The range in which absentee ballots were collected from drop boxes in DeKalb County and documented as received by the registrar the next day was between 13 and 22 hours, or nearly a full day later.
For another 26 percent, representing 15,713 absentee ballots collected from drop boxes during the November 2020 election, there was no receipt time recorded at all by the elections office, as is required by the July 2020 emergency election code rule.
Records for seven full days of the 29-day election period â€“ nearly one quarter â€“ including October 17, 18, 19, 20, 22, 24 and November 1, fall into this category.
All told, 43,907 absentee ballots deposited in drop boxes in DeKalb County (28,194 absentee ballots whose chain of custody was accounted for on ballot transfer forms that were signed as received by the registrar’s designee one day after election workers removed them from drop boxes plus 15,713 absentee ballots whose chain of custody was accounted for on ballot transfer forms for with there was no registrarâ€™s designee signature for time or date of receipt) were counted in the certified results of the November 3, 2020 election despite being delivered to the registrar’s office in clear violation of the chain of custody documentation of the Georgia State Election Board’s July 2020 rule.
Another 24 percent – 14,925 absentee ballots collected from drop boxes – were documented as received by the elections official more than an hour after being collected by a two-person collection team, but on the same calendar day.