After several Fulton County, Georgia., poll monitors testified last year that boxes of mail-in ballots for Joe Biden looked liked they’d been run through a photocopy machine, state investigators quietly broke the seal on one suspicious box and inspected the hundreds of votes it contained for signs of fraud, RealClearInvestigations (RCI) has learned exclusively.
At the same time, a key whistleblower told RCI that state investigators pressured her to recant her story about what she and other poll monitors had observed—what they called unusually “pristine” mail-in ballots while sorting through them during last November’s hand recount.
“I felt I was under investigation,” said Suzi Voyles, a longtime Fulton County poll manager whose sworn affidavits have been used by election watchdogs to sue the county for access to the ballots in question.
Although the ballots are at the center of disputes about the Georgia presidential race, which Joe Biden won by just 12,000 votes, the state never disclosed its probe to the public or to election watchdogs suing to inspect the ballots.
State officials also neglected to inform the judge hearing the lawsuit that they were conducting such an inspection, even though the judge had issued a protective order over the ballots in January. In a nine-page amicus brief recently filed in the case, attorneys for the office of Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger urged Superior Court Judge Brian Amero to deny petitioners’ requests to inspect the ballots, calling them a “fishing expedition.”
Frances Watson, chief investigator for the secretary of state’s office, confirmed in a statement to RCI that she sent investigators to Fulton County earlier this year to inspect the batches of sealed ballots. Poll monitors involved in last November’s hand recount had described the mail-in ballots in sworn affidavits as devoid of creases and folds and featuring identically bubbled-in marks for Biden. But the state said it could not find any ballots matching that description.
“Our investigators looked into it and didn’t find anything,” she said, while adding the investigation is “still ongoing.”
The watchdogs question why state officials did not disclose their activities to the court and fear they may have “tampered” with the sealed ballots, which are at the center of their lawsuit seeking access to all 147,000 absentee ballots cast during the 2020 election in Fulton County, which includes much of Atlanta.