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'We are under a magnifying glass' | Fulton commissioner weighs in after employees fired amid voter application shredding claims

One Fulton County commissioner says the incident shows there are failsafes in place that are working.

FULTON COUNTY, Ga. — As early voting commences, some Fulton County voters may show up to the polls to find confusion over their registration status. 

Two election workers have been fired after claims they shredded up to 300 voter application forms. Fulton County elections director Richard Barron said the claims came from their coworkers.

Barron said it looks like those two employees may have taken batches of the voter application forms that were supposed to be processed, but instead of processing them, the two allegedly put them in the shredder.

RELATED: Fulton elections employees fired during investigation into voter applications being destroyed

Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger released a blistering statement regarding the incident, calling the actions "incompetent" and a "malfeasance." Fulton County Commissioner Khadijah Abdur-Rahman said she believes it shows the opposite.

"It looks bad because we are under a magnifying glass," she said.

While Abdur-Rahman said she's angry and that the incident should not have happened, to her it shows that there are failsafes in place that are working.

"Having been in business myself, having worked for large corporations myself, things do happen with employees and employees do things that are stupid and they shouldn’t do it. But the good thing is we have an environment in Fulton County that individuals immediately went to the supervisor and the supervisor immediately took action. It was turned over to the DA," she said.

The commissioner said she doesn't believe there was any malicious intent on the part of those two employees.

RELATED: Early voting around Atlanta for 2021 local elections starts today | What you need to know

"We can’t identify whether they were Republican or Democrat. We can’t identify that this was something that was a plot or anything like that. Personally, I feel like it was some employees that just didn’t do the right thing and now they’re fired they’re going to have to pay the piper for it. So I believe we will get over this and whatever we learn from it, we do have processes in place that will identify what needs to be identified," she said.

The Fulton County district attorney's office is now investigating and the secretary of state has now called for a federal investigation. 

"Understand that those employees that heard what they heard that said, 'Okay something's wrong', They immediately went into action and they're really the heroes," Abdur-Rahman said.

Political Scientist and former state representative Doug Teper said this is "the last thing that Fulton County needed."

"It's a really difficult situation that they're in. It's a really large, as far as population goes, county, and to run an election, just a couple times a year with volunteers or paid for two or three days a year," Teper said.

He says incidents like this happen across the nation and that in a large county like Fulton, incidents may happen.

"I am not making excuses for them, but you have to be that much more careful," Teper said.

Teper told 11Alive it is a good thing that other election workers reported the claims as soon as they saw something wrong.

"I don't think you can take the politics out of politics. They've run head on in to this narrative where people want to make elections look illegitimate and now you have people shredding documents," Teper said.