Secretary of State Handel Announces Consent Order with Fulton County Regarding Dumping of Voter Registration Cards
Atlanta – Secretary of State Karen Handel today announced that the Fulton County Board of Registration and Elections has signed a Consent Order with the Georgia State Election Board, admitting to the unlawful disposal in April 2007 of over 30 boxes of election-related documents, including completed original voter registration applications.
“The reckless behavior of Fulton County elections personnel violated the public’s trust in the integrity of their county’s election procedures, and represents one of the worst cases to ever come before the State Election Board,” Handel said. “We will continue to closely monitor the Fulton County Board of Registration and Elections, to ensure that they have taken the appropriate steps so that something like this never happens again.”
The discarded boxes contained approximately 75,000 voter registration application cards, 24,000 voter registration precinct cards, and other voter documents. Many of the cards and documents contained personal information on active voters, including full names, addresses and Social Security Numbers. Subsequently, upon further investigations, investigators discovered additional violations of state law.
The Secretary of State’s Office of Inspector General, acting on a call from a concerned citizen, recovered the boxes from a construction dumpster located at Atlanta Technical College. The Secretary of State’s Office immediately initiated a joint investigation with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and the Fulton County Solicitor’s Office.
The Consent Order requires the Fulton County Board of Registration and Elections to conduct semi-annual audits to monitor its document retention programs, in cooperation with the Secretary of State’s Office; establish a remedial fund, a portion of which will pay for additional third party audits; continue efforts to contact voters whose registration cards or voter registration applications were destroyed; self-report incidents where election documents that carry a statutory retention period are found to be missing; pay investigative expenses of $19,624 incurred by the Secretary of State’s Office; pay $100,000 into the remedial fund; and pay an additional $20,000 direct civil penalty.
Secretary Handel added, “I want to thank the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, the Fulton County Solicitor General’s Office, the Secretary of State’s Office of Inspector General and my colleagues on the State Election Board for their invaluable assistance in this case.”
Karen Handel was sworn in as Secretary of State in January 2007. The Secretary of State's office offers important services to our citizens and our business community. Among the office’s wide-ranging responsibilities, the Secretary of State is charged with conducting efficient and secure elections, the registration of corporations, and the regulation of securities and professional license holders. The office also oversees the Georgia Archives and the Capitol Museum.