An alarm went off over the weekend in a warehouse in Fulton County, Georgia, holding 147,000 absentee ballots from the 2020 election.
Officials said the ballots, poised to be unsealed and examined as part of a judge-approved election audit, were secure the entire time, and an investigation is underway.
“We can confirm that the security alarm was activated at the warehouse on Saturday. The matter is currently under review by the Fulton County Sheriff’s Office. We are confident that the ballots at the warehouse have been secure at all times,” a Fulton County representative said.
“We can confirm that the security alarm was activated at the warehouse on Saturday. The matter is currently under review by FCSO,” the Fulton County Sheriff’s office said in a statement of its own.
Security guards did not find anyone inside the building, according to the Atlanta-Journal Constitution. Still, Fulton Sheriff Pat Labat said during a press conference he is “3,000% confident and [I] understand that the ballots are secure.”
Last month, a judge allowed a review of the ballots as part of a lawsuit in which voters sued for access to look for evidence of fraud in November’s election. But on Friday, Superior Court Judge Brian Amero canceled a meeting to discuss plans for the audit to give him time to consider and rule on motions filed by attorneys for Fulton County to dismiss the case. A hearing on the motions is expected later this month.
The results in Georgia, which was won by President Joe Biden by roughly 12,000 votes and affirmed in multiple recounts, were certified and cannot be changed. Former President Donald Trump and his allies have touted efforts to review the results of the 2020 election, including the Arizona Senate’s audit in Maricopa County, even though federal and state election officials insist there is no evidence of widespread fraud.
Reacting to the security alarm at the warehouse, Trump issued a statement over the weekend criticizing Fulton County for not doing more to secure its ballots.
“Great work is being done in Georgia revealing the Election Fraud of the 2020 Presidential Election,” Trump said through his Save America PAC. “But, we must not allow ANYONE to compromise these ballots by leaving the building unsecured, which was done late Friday. Republicans and Patriots must protect this site and the Absentee Ballots. The Left talks about election security but they do not practice what they preach because they are afraid of what might be found. Fulton County Leadership—do the right thing and protect these ballots. Our Country is at stake!”
Bob Cheeley, an attorney for Garland Favorito and the plaintiff in the lawsuit in Georgia’s most populous county, said he hired security officers to watch the warehouse and claimed Fulton County sheriff’s deputies left their patrol of the building at the end of their shift before the alarm went off, according to Atlanta-Journal Constitution.
“I’m really concerned about their lackadaisical attitude toward security, particularly leaving the building unlocked,” Cheeley said. “Obviously, Fulton County doesn’t take their job responsibility seriously to protect ballots. … Somebody could have walked in there and set the whole place on fire.”