Georgia Elections Board dismisses “ballot harvesting” cases

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The State Elections Board on Tuesday voted unanimously to dismiss three ballot-fraud claims brought by right-wing activists–judging their allegation to be false that fraudulent actors illegally stuffed large batches of absentee ballots in drop boxes during the 2020 presidential election.

One of those dismissed allegations is featured in a documentary, “2000 Mules,” directed by conservative pundit Dinesh D’Souza set to be released May 20. The film falsely claims unnamed nonprofits linked to the Democratic Party paid people, whom it calls “mules,” to illegally collect and deposit absentee ballots in drop boxes in five swing states where Biden won–Georgia, Arizona, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. 

Ballot “harvesting” or collection, is when someone other than the voter delivers their absentee ballot to a dropbox. In Georgia, it’s only legal for family members or disabled voters’ caregivers to do this for them.

The movie features surveillance footage of a man in a white SUV depositing five absentee ballots into a Gwinnett County dropbox. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation determined in an investigation last fall that the man was legally delivering ballots cast by himself, his wife and children.

State Elections Board chair Matt Mashburn, a Republican, said, “Maybe I misunderstood the point they were making, but that was the point I heard. That is not true.”

The other two claims that the State Elections Board dismissed were over similar surveillance videos. 

One Duluth resident at the meeting, David Cross, blasted the board and the Georgia Secretary of State’s office for not sufficiently investigating his wide-ranging complaints of ballot improprieties. Cross accused the elections board of ignoring his allegations of “ballot trafficking,” under-investigated surveillance videos, and unsigned tabular tapes, which are the paper tapes of vote totals that county elections offices deliver to the board. 

Learn more about the hearing and reaction from Cross.

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