Last Friday morning, a local citizen contacted the Bulloch County Sheriff’s Office because she had obtained information that the custody transfer requirements of the county's public election property had not been met. Election materials from the certified Nov 8 midterm election, including federal and state returns, HAVE NOT BEEN TRANSFERRED for security and long-term retention to the Clerk of the Bulloch Superior Court, Heather Banks-McNeal, in accordance with the requirements of Georgia law (O.C.G.A. § 21-2-500, 496, 497). Copies of consolidated returns with original certificates shall have been IMMEDIATELY transported to the clerk of court following official certification meeting on Nov 15. And, immediately after completing the process of copying and organizing return materials, cartons with transport seals shall have been immediately delivered to the court. Within the cartons are the authentic paper ballots that the state has told the counties they are 'prohibited' from remitting as open records.
To support the lawful property custody procedures following the Bulloch Board of Elections and Registration special certification meeting at 1:30pm on Nov 15, citizens also asked Bulloch Republican Party Officers to provide specific accountability. In the wake of the Bogus Bulloch completely invalid primary election certification, in which political parties and government officials participated, it is no surprise this did not occur.
Following the May 24 primary election, election officials failed to transfer custody of any records until June 15, during which time the Board of Elections and Registration signed a June 13 resolution giving them the false 'ability' to backdate and add other information to the Bulloch election certificates bearing the seal of the state of Georgia. This effectively and legally altered them. These matters have been fully reported to the elected Bulloch County District Attorney, Daphne Totten, and Sheriff Noel Brown, who have failed to open cases.
The Statesboro Herald, which is the legal newspaper for the county, also claims to have received no notice of the special certification meeting on Nov 15 from the Elections Department. This indicates yet another possible violation of the Georgia Open Meetings Act to follow the ones from the primary. Because the county has not yet published the minutes of the meeting, it is not possible to see if the Board of Elections and Registration discussed custody transfer. The clerk of court has confirmed custody of materials from the 2020 general and the 2022 primary elections. Transfer of election materials for long-term storage to the clerk of court, a constitutional officer, is the critical final step for the legal sealing and production of a custody artifact for the public record. None of this has occurred.
Because such incidents involve such constitutionally significant public property and indicates concealment of records, the issue appears to rise to a criminal level under Georgia's election and criminal code.
In the Clarity Elections system, the Elections Division of Secretary of State Raffensperger’s Office declared Bulloch midterm election results official on Nov 15 at 3:16pm.
Additionally, the state is already fully certified, the Secretary having declared state results official on Nov 21 at 3:05pm.
The official press release declares:
Georgia has struck the balance between accessibility and security, and Georgia’s election administrators worked tirelessly to get the job done. We are so thankful for their work.”Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger
It is difficult to describe Bulloch County as having proper access and security. In addition to not having its public election property under seal, an incident occurred on Nov 14 whereby a field grade officer in the Georgia Army National Guard and a constitutional advocate were soundly denied, in person, all rights of access to copy and inspect election records, as lawful under several sections of Georgia law. This incident is also written into sworn affidavit.
To apply accountability, the citizen who filed the criminal incident report with the Bulloch County Sheriff’s Office, sent an explanatory email letter, with evidence and the video, to Lieutenant Walter Deal with the Criminal Investigative Division. Sent Saturday, the letter stated:
I made an incident report to your office yesterday. The Secretary of State is not going to come down to Bulloch County and handle active crime situations involving our county election property, as your deputy seemed to think. The Secretary of State and the State Election Board handle CIVIL actions per O.C.G.A. § 22-2-33.1(c).
He replied brashly to correct the use of the term Sheriff's 'Office' instead of Sheriff's 'Department.' Then, he stated, "Thank You. Furthermore I’ll be out of my office until Thursday of next week. Have nice a weekend!" He made no indication that he would handle any due process on the complaint regarding what appears to be an open matter. He has been fully informed of the law.
Citizens are also interested to see what elected Sheriff Noel Brown chooses to do. He may investigate and enforce the law. Or, he may continue to act on his belief that he is exempt from handling matters regarding certain sections of Georgia law that involve his elected political future. As his office stated on Sep 14, "The Sheriff has no oversight authority over the county elections process other than to ensure the safety and security of our polling places and election offices."
Sheriff Mack of the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association highly disagrees with Bulloch's standpoint in this recent interview. To his professional acumen, Mack has fought for solid constitutional protection of Sheriffs for decades, having even achieved a courageous and historic win in the U.S. Supreme Court.