State investigating new claims regarding absentee ballot applications

DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. — Channel 2 Action News has confirmed that Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp's office is investigating claims that a local county elections office lost thousands of absentee ballot applications.

Channel 2 investigative reporter Aaron Diamant has learned that leaders of the Democratic Party of Georgia contacted officials in Kemp's office, claiming the party had evidence that as many as 4,700 DeKalb County voters never received the absentee-by-mail ballots they requested for November's election.

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A representative for the secretary of state’s office told Diamant as soon as the call came in, state elections director Chris Harvey and another investigator headed to DeKalb County and met with the county’s elections director and other county election leaders.

By email, the chair of DeKalb’s elections board told Diamant that the state Democratic party did hand over a list of about 4,700 registered DeKalb voters the party claims requested absentee ballot forms through a mailer sent out by the party. But in that same email the chairman said:

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“After reviewing the list of names, there is only evidence that the county received 50 of those voter absentee ballot request forms. All 50 of those forms have been processed. At this time, there is no evidence that there are any missing or lost absentee ballot request forms. The Elections Department receives request forms daily and processes them within three days of receipt. At this time there are approximately 250 forms pending processing.”

The secretary of state’s office says it has no proof of any missing absentee ballot requests and is still waiting for the party to provide them with any evidence they may have but that it takes complaints seriously and will continue to investigate.

The state Democratic party sent Diamant a statement, saying:

"The Democratic Party of Georgia learned from voters calling our voter protection hotline that 4,700 voters in DeKalb County who requested mail-in ballot applications did not receive ballots from the county board of elections. We have USPS scans that show 4,700 ballot applications were delivered, but the county board has only been able to find 48 of them.”