FULTON COUNTY, Ga. (CBS46) — Monday kicked off day one of early voting in Fulton County.

A steady flow of enthusiastic voters trickled in and out of the East Point Public Library to vote in the municipal races including city councils and mayoral races, school boards and local judges.

"I always come out on the first day. It’s no lines and it’s no wait," said Chantelle Jones.

The smaller races that have the deep impact are important to the early voters who spoke to CBS46.

"This is the base. This is where my community is and it’s very important to have those local officials accounted for," said Josephine Frazier.

The day comes in the midst of controversy in Fulton County. Friday two Fulton County elections employees were fired after allegedly shredding 300 voter registration applications earlier that morning. 

Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger’s office is investigating as well as Fulton County DA Fani Willis.

"Whether it was intentional or what it was, that is something that our investigation will determine," Raffensperger told CBS46.

Raffensperger says the employees violated state law which prohibits elections offices from destroying documents for two years after an election.

"You never shred documents," Raffensperger said. "You don’t dispose of any prior election documents until they’ve been there for 24 months, and only then in your policy and procedures you’d be talking to your supervisor to see if now it’s okay to shred documents. None of that was followed, so it’s a serious infraction," he continued.

Raffensperger says his office will investigation will need to determine if the applications were actually registered and then shredded or if the potential voters were never registered and their applications were shredded before processing.

"It's pitiful and sad," said early voter John Goodlet, learning about the allegations from CBS46. "We have the greatest democracy in the world and it’s pitiful that we have to stand over people who are handing out ballots to make sure our votes are cast. We have to rely on the integrity of people, honest people to make sure our democracy works," Goodlet added.

The results of the investigation will be sent before the state elections board which will take up the issue in a future meeting to determine a possible penalty. Raffensperger says his office will be looking to possibly penalize Fulton County's election office under Georgia's new voting law to possibly lead to takeover by the state.

Copyright 2021 WGCL-TV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.


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