Several poll observers in Georgia said under penalty of perjury that they were effectively told to go home on election night before ballot counting resumed for several hours with no observers present.
Republican poll observers Mitchell Harrison and Michelle Branton said in affidavits that at approximately 10:30 p.m. on Nov. 3 inside an absentee ballot-counting room at State Farm Arena in Atlanta, a woman shouted to everyone to stop working and return the following morning at 8:30 a.m.
Following the instruction, nearly all workers left, except a handful of people. All ballot counting stopped.
A few minutes later, Branton, Harrison, and the crew left. Only four people remained in the room including Waller, when they had departed.
The group later heard that ballot counting had resumed at the arena, despite the public being told that it had ceased for the night. Observers rushed back at around 1 a.m. on Nov. 4 and found that to be the case.
David Shafer, head of Georgia's Republican Party, said in a statement on Dec. 3: "Our Republican observers and members of the news media departed State Farm when they announced they were shutting down for the night and would resume counting at 8:30 a.m. the next day."
The footage was presented by President Donald Trump's campaign during a state legislature hearing this week. It appears to show a few workers pulling out boxes filled with ballots from underneath tables and counting them after the room cleared.
“We have launched an investigation into why the monitors from the political parties left before scanning ended. While it was their right to leave early, we want to make certain they were not misled into thinking scanning had stopped for the night when it had not," Walter Jones, a spokesman for Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, told The Epoch Times via email.
The issue appears to center around semantics. While observers weren't explicitly told to leave, they believed counting was stopping because officials made it seem that way.
"For clarification, I informed ABC News that some workers left but four remained," Waller told The Epoch Times in an email.
Raffensperger and his team "are busily 'investigating' whether or not Fulton County elections officials sent our monitors home on election night, as if that question is actually in dispute," Shafer wrote in a tweet on Dec. 4. Gabriel Sterling, an official in Raffensperger's office, "has accepted Fulton County’s explanation that the Republican monitors and news media are to blame for believing the election officials who told them that they were shutting down, packed up the voting equipment, and started cleaning," Shafer added in another post.
A county spokeswoman told The Epoch Times on the day after the election that Registration & Elections Director Richard Barron told the Board of Commissioners that when he learned that staff was dismissed at 10:30 p.m., he advised that some workers needed to continue.
"Based on that directive, a smaller crew continued to work through the night. It may be possible that observers left at the time the majority of the staff left, but from the information we have, the processing area was never closed to observers," she wrote.
Other people in Georgia said they were inexplicably told to go home.
Poll manager Susan Voyles, who was helping audit ballots at Georgia World Congress Centers, said she was told to go home on Nov. 15 after counting just 60 ballots, even though workers at nearby tables had thousands to process.
"We offered to help on some larger piles that were still evident, and the officials present were adamant that they did not need any help," she said in an affidavit.
That same day, county officials told most of the counters to go home around 9:10 a.m., Maria Diedrich, a monitor for Trump's campaign, said in an affidavit.
Other observers claimed they directly witnessed fraud.
Carlos Silva, a trial lawyer from Florida, said in an affidavit that he saw two vote counters in DeKalb County pull out a pile of ballots that had two distinct characteristics.
"One, I noticed that they all had a perfect black bubble and were all Biden select. I was able to observe the perfect bubble for a few minutes before they made me move away from the table. At no time did I speak to the poll workers or obstruct them in any way. I heard them go through the stack and call out Biden's name over 500 times in a row," he said.
He also said he witnessed something similar in Cobb County.
Nicholas Zeher, another observer, said he never saw vote counters or anyone else verifying signatures as ballots were counted. He also said he saw ballots on a review table with markings only for Biden and no other candidate. And he saw a batch of ballots where the bubble for Biden appeared to be a perfect black mark.
The affidavits were entered in a federal court case, Pearson v. Kemp.