Fulton County, Georgia Responds to Claim of Poll Observers Being Told to Leave

Fulton County, Georgia Responds to Claim of Poll Observers Being Told to Leave
Election workers count Fulton County ballots at State Farm Arena in Atlanta, Ga., on Nov. 4, 2020. (Jessica McGowan/Getty Images)
Zachary Stieber

A spokesperson for a key county in Georgia said Wednesday that she was not aware of poll observers being told to leave overnight.

“We [are] not aware of direction given to any observers to leave,” Jessica Corbitt, a spokesperson for Fulton County, told The Epoch Times via email.

“This afternoon Registration & Elections Director Richard Barron told the Board of Commissioners that when he learned that staff were dismissed at 10:30 that 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 added.

David Shafer, chairman of the Georgia Republican Party, said earlier Wednesday that county workers told Republican observers to go home late Tuesday “because they were closing up and then continued to count ballots in secret.”

A state GOP spokesman didn’t return a phone call for more details.

Shafer’s statement, posted on Twitter, quickly gained traction.

Georgia officials have struggled to count ballots in a timely manner, running into issues including a burst pipe, software malfunctions, and computerized voting machines going down.

Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, a Republican, said at a news conference on Nov. 4 that there were over 200,000 ballots left to tabulate.

State officials weren’t sure that enough counting could be done to announce a result before midnight.

Georgia’s 16 electoral votes are up for grabs in a tight election that hasn’t been called yet.

President Donald Trump was ahead of Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden by about 75,000 votes as of Wednesday afternoon.