Cobb Elections explains post-recount shredding activities

Cobb Absentee Ballot Envelope
Cobb Elections Director Janine Eveler said white privacy envelopes were among the items shredded Friday, but no ballots of any kind were destroyed.

After wrapping up a hand recount of votes in the presidential race, the Cobb Board of Elections and Registrations on Friday responded to social media postings about shredding activities near its recount location at Jim Miller Park.

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  • UPDATED Tuesday, Nov. 24: Cobb government says the social media posting of another video alleging the shredding of ballots was in fact part of routine shredding activities for materials from the Cobb Tax Commissioner’s Office. A county spokesman said no documents from the Cobb Elections Office were shredded.

In a release issued through Cobb County Government spokesman Ross Cavitt, Cobb Elections said the items that were being shredded were mailing labels, completed and “checked off” reports, sticky notes and other papers and documents.

Voters were mailed two envelopes as part of their absentee ballot package. One was a “white privacy envelope” that contained the actual absentee ballot. The privacy envelope was then placed in a larger mailing envelope that contained the voter’s signature.

The privacy envelopes were among the items that were also shredded—after the election was certified—but not the mailing envelopes with the signatures.

None of the shredded materials were ballots, according to the statement, which quotes Cobb Elections director Janine Eveler:

“None of these items are relevant to the election or the re-tally. Everything of consequence, including the ballots, absentee ballot applications with signatures, and anything else used in the count or re-tally remains on file. After an out-of-context video was shared on social media we contacted state officials to reassure them this was a routine clean-up operation and they could inspect our stored materials if they wish.”

Lin Wood, an Atlanta attorney who’s filed a lawsuit for the Trump campaign contesting the Georgia presidential results, posted several times Friday on his Twitter account with videos shot at the park by others.

In a post published at 3:27 p.m., he wrote:

The Cobb Elections release was issued about 10 minutes later, but Wood did not respond to that denial. His Tweets after that were focused on Kyle Rittenhouse, a Wisconsin teenager accused of killing two protesters in Kenosha and who was released on $2 million bail.

After absentee and other final ballots had been initially counted, Democratic former vice president Joe Biden had a lead of 14,116 votes over Trump.

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger ordered a hand recount—something that hadn’t been done in the state before—and after that was complete, the results indicated that Biden’s lead was 12,670 votes.

On Friday, the Georgia board of elections certified all the election results, including the presidential race, and Gov. Brian Kemp signed off on the certification.

There were several thousand uncounted ballots found during the recounts in four counties (Cobb was not among them), including more than 2,000 in Floyd County, where the elections supervisor was fired.

“The vast majority of local elections officials did their job well,” Kemp said, citing circumstances related to COVID-19 that led to unprecedented absentee balloting.

He urged legislators to make changes, including a voter ID requirement for absentee ballots.

The Trump campaign has until the end of Tuesday to request a computerized recount, which would serve as the official vote tally.

Georgia’s 16 electoral votes are slated to go to Biden, the first Democrat to win the state in the presidential race since Bill Clinton in 1992.

The official tally now stands at Biden with 2,474,507 votes (49.51 percent) to 2,461,837 for Trump (49.25 percent).

Libertarian Jo Jorgensen received 62,138 votes, or 1.24 percent.

Raffensperger has been under fire since Georgia’s presidential vote-counting swung from Trump, who held a 370,000-vote lead on election night, to the slender Biden lead following the absentee counting.

Georgia’s U.S. Senators, Republicans Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue, demanded his resignation, as the Trump campaign alleged voter fraud in Georgia and several other states that were close—and that all eventually went to Biden.

On Friday, Raffensperger said that even though he’s a Republican and Trump supporter, “the numbers don’t lie” and he has the duty to certify the results.

“The numbers reflect the verdict of the people, not a decision by the secretary of state’s office or of courts or of either campaign,” he said.

In Cobb, Biden got 56 percent of the vote.

Cobb Elections officials will be working at Jim Miller Park through the Jan. 5 runoff for both U.S. Senate seats from Georgia as a well as a runoff for the Georgia Public Service Commission.

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9 thoughts on “Cobb Elections explains post-recount shredding activities”

  1. This is irresponsible journalism. You fail to clarify that the absentee bsllots are not marked or signed at all. Only the ballot envelope is signed. Once the ballot is separated from the envelope there is no possible way to match a ballot back to the envelope. So….less than 24 hours after Gov. Kemp suggests a signature audit, Cobb County starts shredding the ballot envelopes thsta actually have the signatures on them?? On top of shredding potential evidence while there is pending election litigation? Does this not seem at all suspicious, or at best careless or incompetent?? Nothing to see here folks, move along. Good grief. Nice work East Cobb News. Way to tell half a story.

    • The story has been updated to clarify that Cobb Elections said that white “privacy” envelopes that were part of absentee ballot packets were among the shredded items. The absentee ballots were placed in those privacy envelopes, which were then placed in a larger envelope with the voter’s signature. That larger envelope was either mailed in or deposited in a drop box.

      I hope that addresses your concerns. Thank you.

  2. My dog had more credibility than a Georgia election representative or politician. We are watching the wholesale destruction of evidence while those in charge insist… nothing to see here.

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