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Carter Center says it will deploy election observers in Fulton County for midterms

The Carter Center said it would be observing several key elements of the election process in Fulton County.

FULTON COUNTY, Ga. — The Carter Center said Thursday it would be deploying election observers in Fulton County for the November midterm elections.

The center has historically worked in countries in Africa, Latin America and Asia to ensure fair elections - but increasingly has turned its focus domestically in the U.S. The Carter Center previously sent observers around the country in 2020.

The center, which was founded by former President Jimmy Carter and runs his presidential library in Atlanta, said it was invited by the Fulton County Board of Elections and Registration and Georgia's state election Performance Review Board to observe the midterms. 

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The county was the epicenter of Georgia's tumultuous 2020 election and the campaign to assert fraud and overturn the election by former President Trump's allies. It has also frequently drawn the ire of Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger over what the state has characterized as frequent election administration issues.

The Carter Center said it would be observing several key elements of the election process in Fulton County:

  • Absentee ballot issuance and processing
  • Early voting and election day polling places
  • Election day operations in the elections office
  • Post-election procedures

The center said in a release: "The Carter Center’s involvement in Fulton County falls under the performance review provisions of Georgia state law. Its observers will follow a strict, nonpartisan code of conduct to ensure their work does not complicate the election process. While the Center does not conduct this work on behalf of the Performance Review or the Elections and Registration boards, it will share its findings with them in support of concluding the performance review process this calendar year."

Georgia's voting law overhaul following the 2020 election created a new review process which can lead to state officials taking control from county election boards if, for two elections in a two-year period, they are found to have "demonstrated nonfeasance, malfeasance, or gross negligence in the administration of the elections." That provision of the law has been scrutinized by opponents who believe it could be abused by partisan actors.

Paige Alexander, the Carter Center CEO, said in a statement that "providing objective information about election processes is critical to strengthening election administration and building public confidence in elections" and that "we are glad to be able to conduct independent, nonpartisan observation of key aspects of the election process in our home county.” 

Ryan Germany, a top legal official in the Georgia Secretary of State's Office, said the Carter Center's involvement would "help lead to an efficient resolution of the performance review process."

Cathy Woolard, the chair of the Fulton elections board, said: "We are fortunate that the Carter Center is here in Fulton County, knowing that their work observing elections is respected around the globe. We are committed to continuous improvement of Fulton County Elections and are glad for this opportunity to ensure confidence in our elections process."

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