Georgia Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger has opened an investigation into Fulton County for allegedly violating state rules “requiring absentee ballot drop box transfer forms to be filled out,” his office confirmed to CNN on Monday.
A source with knowledge of the investigation cautioned to CNN that the probe “does not have any implications about fraudulent or missing ballots in Fulton any more than it meant that in the other smaller, more conservative counties,” saying: “To be clear, we’re investigating a rule violation” in Fulton County.
In confirming the probe, the Georgia secretary of state’s office noted it had “announced similar investigations in Coffee, Grady, and Taylor counties a few months ago.”
“Restoring confidence in our elections is going to be impossible as long as Fulton County’s elections leadership continues to fail the voters of Fulton County and the voters of Georgia. They need new leadership to step up and take charge,” Raffensperger wrote in a tweet on Monday.
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“New revelations that Fulton County is unable to produce all ballot drop box transfer documents will be investigated thoroughly, as we have with other counties that failed to follow Georgia rules and regulations regarding drop boxes. This cannot continue,” he added in another tweet.
Fulton County spokeswoman Jessica Corbitt-Dominguez told CNN in a statement that the county “followed procedures for the collection of absentee ballots from Fulton County drop boxes.”
“We maintain a large quantity of documents and researching our files from last year to produce the ballot transfer forms,” Corbitt-Dominguez said. “We have been in communication with the Secretary of State’s office to update them of our progress on this matter.”
In a Tuesday email to CNN, Corbitt-Dominguez added, “We are researching just a handful of these forms. The vast majority were already produced.”
Fulton County Commission Chairman Robb Pitts criticized the secretary of state’s probe.
“It appears that Secretary of State Raffensperger is laying the groundwork for a hostile takeover of Fulton County’s Board of Registrations & Elections,” Pitts said in a statement. “His comrades in this fight are conspiracy theorists who promote the same Big Lie that he purportedly doesn’t believe. The votes have been counted three times, including a hand recount, and President Biden came out ahead every time. Given the results in 2020, I would suggest he focus more on the next election than relitigating this last one.”
The new probe into Georgia’s most populous county is just one of a number of investigations state officials have opened in recent months, including a closely watched investigation into former President Donald Trump’s efforts to influence the 2020 election.
This story has been updated with comments from a Fulton County spokeswoman.
CNN’s Devan Cole, Sara Murray and Jason Morris contributed to this report.