Cleta Mitchell, senior legal fellow counsel for election integrity with the Conservative Partnership Institute, says in all her years working as an election law attorney she’s never witnessed all the abnormalities that happened, particularly in Fulton County, Georgia, last November.
She also gave a report on the ongoing lawsuit to gain access to the county’s absentee ballots.
“The system that we witnessed in 2020 was not right,” Mitchell said in her newly launched podcast, “Who’s Counting With Cleta Mitchell.”
“I have been an election attorney for many, many years. I’ve done a lot of time at county election boards. I will tell you that I’ve spent many wee hours in the morning counting ballots, waiting for ballots to come in,” Mitchell said.
“I’ve never seen what happened in 2020 happen before Nov. 3 of 2020 where the counting stopped before it was finished,” she continued. “I’ve never seen an actual halting of the counting of the ballots.”
Mitchell, who served on former President Donald Trump’s legal team challenging the Georgia election results, said the state was riddled with illegal conduct in last fall’s general election.
She recounted that the first morning after she arrived in Atlanta a “God thing” occurred when she met Alex Kaufman, the general counsel for the Fulton County Republican Party.
Kaufman was able to give her an overview of some of the issues in the county they had been working to identify over the previous year, including an unsuccessful effort to remove a number of illegal voters from the rolls prior to the election.
That feedback focused the Trump legal team’s efforts to look to the data to see how many ineligible voters may have cast ballots.
She noted that President Joe Biden only won the entire state of Georgia by 11,779 votes, with Fulton County being one of his major bastions of support. He carried the county by approximately 244,000 more votes.
Mitchell explained if their team could determine there were enough irregularities, including ineligible voters, in Fulton County to potentially impact the outcome, the remedy, by Georgia law, would be to conduct a new election.
Trump’s lawyers filed their suit on December 4 officially contesting the results.
However, the chief judge for Fulton County never assigned a judge from another county to hear the case, as required by law, Mitchell stated.
“So that’s what happened in Georgia. We never got our day in court,” she said. There was never an adjudication of the actual claims made in the lawsuit.
Instead, the Georgia attorney general, on behalf of Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, threatened Trump’s legal team if they did not dismiss the case. He claimed the state would seek damages “in the multimillions of dollars against President Trump, against David Shafer, who was one of our plaintiffs. He’s the state party chair, and he was a Trump elector. And against the lawyers who brought the lawsuit.”
Mitchell directed some of her sharpest criticism at Raffensperger, calling his handling of the election a “complete disaster.”
He made a series of bad decisions, she contended, that began with his consent decree he entered into with Georgia Democrats, including 2018 gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams, which greatly impacted the signature matching requirements for mail-in ballots.
Additionally, contrary to Georgia law, Raffensperger unilaterally directed that absentee ballot applications be sent to every registered voter in the spring of 2020, Mitchell said.
The law states that voters must ask for the application and then fill it out and mail in in, she stated.
“We all know that the voter registration lists are a mess,” she said, meaning many applications likely went out to people no longer living at the address listed.
Besides requesting a ballot for the 2020 primary, applicants were also able to check a box if they also wanted their general election ballots mailed, in violation of state law, which requires voters to request an absentee ballot no more than 180 days from an election, Mitchell added.
“The point is election laws are determined by the state legislatures. That is one of the things our founding fathers wrote into the Constitution,” she said.
Mitchell highlighted that all the changes that were made by judges and those in the executive branch.
Despite Trump’s lawsuit not going forward, the lawyer noted there is one still ongoing, brought by election integrity advocate and Fulton County resident Garland Favorito with VoterGa — seeking a review of the actual ballots cast in the county for irregularities.
He has cited the incident at State Farm Arena on election night when party observers and the media were told counting had stopped, only for it to resume for nearly two more hours soon thereafter.
Video captured of the incident showed what appeared to be ballots being feed through counting machines multiple times, according to Mitchell.
Fulton County, GA!: A judge has granted @VoterGA conditional approval to inspect Fulton County mail-in ballots and metadata! This includes the ballots seen in the controversial State Farm Arena video being scanned in after hours. Watch @RealAmVoice for updates! pic.twitter.com/psFUexjKle
— Heather Mullins – Real America’s Voice (RAV-TV) (@TalkMullins) March 16, 2021
There are also several affidavits from poll workers saying they witnessed “pristine” mail-in ballots with no folds that may have been filled out by machines.
“Under Georgia law to be a legal ballot, it has to be put into an envelope and returned,” Mitchell said.
Favorito’s team also gained access to the images of the ballots earlier this year and discovered, “There are 153 batches of ballots (of 100) that are listed on the custodian report that they cannot find,” according to Mitchell.
“They have no idea where the ballots are. That’s over 15,000 ballots missing. There are another 3,700 ballots that are clearly duplicates. You can tell that by just looking at the images,” she said.
An independent report contracted by the Georgia State Election Board and released on Jan. 12 determined that there were many abnormalities in Fulton County’s November election.
“There were persistent chain of custody issues throughout the entire absentee ballot processing system,” the report said.
It added that “the fact that ballots were delivered to State Farm Arena in unsecured mail carts is very concerning.”
“Protocol for securing ballots exists not only in securing the ballots themselves but also ensuring no ballot stuffing occurred,” according to the report.
The election review also concluded that “the truth about what happened on the night of November 3rd between 10:30 PM and 11:52 PM [at State Farm Arena] continues to be elusive … but if the poll watchers are correct, then there is a serious problem.”
Dear #VoterGA Supporters,
Thank you for your ongoing support as we pursue two cases in court.
The next hearing in the #FultonCounty case is Monday, Nov. 15th, 2021 at 9amET.
— Garland Favorito (@VoterGa) October 8, 2021
The next hearing regarding access to the physical ballots is slated for Nov. 15.