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IPFS News Link • Georgia

Georgia reprimands Fulton County for scanning ballots twice in 2020 recount

•, By Misty Severi

The Georgia State Election Board is requiring Fulton County to implement an independent election monitor in the 2024 election, after an independent investigation found that the county likely scanned thousands of ballots twice in a recount of the 2020 election.

The state board voted to implement the independent monitor in a 2-1 vote on Tuesday, which ended one of the last probes into the results of the 2020 election, which Trump claimed was stolen from him. The board also voted to dismiss several other complaints against the county, including allegations that it added 16,000 votes to its count before certifying the election, according to the Atlanta Journal Constitution.

The results of the investigation determined that President Joe Biden still won the county over former President Donald Trump, because the vote margin was substantial enough in three independent vote counts. But the county still violated regulations and statues in its counting process.

Biden won the state by 11,779 votes in the first count, but 939 more votes for Trump were counted in a recount. If there were ballots that were scanned twice, it only amounted to 3,000 votes. State officials confirmed that the election results were legitimate.

"As long as we have the paper ballot, we have the paper trail that accurately reports the voter's choice," Charlene McGowan, general counsel for the secretary of state's office, told the outlet. "Fulton County used improper procedures during the recount of the presidential contest of 2020. The investigation shows there are some duplicative ballot images in the ballot images that Fulton County provided, but what cannot be confirmed conclusively is if those ballots were included in the count."

State officials said it is not clear whether the votes were actually counted twice, or if they were just scanned twice. The county has long faced scrutiny over issues with election integrity.

Board member Ed Lindsey said he voted for the reprimand instead of a more serious punishment because he was focused on making sure future elections were secure rather than focusing on previous elections. He also threatened to open an investigation into the county in July if they do not hire a monitor for the November election.