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Georgia Elections Board dismisses “ballot harvesting” claims promoted in new “2000 Mules” documentary – Atlanta Civic Circle

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The State Elections Board on Tuesday voted unanimously to dismiss three ballot-fraud claims introduced by right-wing activists–judging their allegation to be false that fraudulent actors illegally stuffed massive batches of absentee ballots in drop packing containers throughout the 2020 presidential election.

A kind of dismissed allegations is featured in a documentary, “2000 Mules,” directed by conservative pundit Dinesh D’Souza set to be launched Could 20. The movie falsely claims unnamed nonprofits linked to the Democratic Social gathering paid individuals, whom it calls “mules,” to illegally acquire and deposit absentee ballots in drop packing containers in 5 swing states the place Biden gained–Georgia, Arizona, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. 

Poll “harvesting” or assortment, is when somebody aside from the voter delivers their absentee poll to a dropbox. In Georgia, it’s solely authorized for relations or disabled voters’ caregivers to do that for them.

The film options surveillance footage of a person in a white SUV depositing 5 absentee ballots right into a Gwinnett County dropbox. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation decided in an investigation final fall that the person was legally delivering ballots solid by himself, his spouse and kids.

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State Elections Board chair Matt Mashburn stated on the board’s assembly Tuesday that the “2000 Mules” allegation that 92,000 absentee ballots had been illegally collected in Georgia was false. “They had been saying there have been 92,000 illegitimately manufactured votes in Georgia,” stated Mashburn, a Republican. “Possibly I misunderstood the purpose they had been making, however that was the purpose I heard. That isn’t true.”

The opposite two claims that the State Elections Board dismissed had been over comparable surveillance movies. 

“Banana republic”

One Duluth resident on the assembly, David Cross, blasted the board and the Georgia Secretary of State’s workplace for not sufficiently investigating his wide-ranging complaints of poll improprieties. Cross accused the elections board of ignoring his allegations of “poll trafficking,” under-investigated surveillance movies, and unsigned tabular tapes, that are the paper tapes of vote totals that county elections places of work ship to the board. 

Cross began a Twitter account final June known as @GAballots, which says within the bio: “My crew finds errors within the Georgia votes -we’ve spent hundreds of hours on this.” Up to now, it’s amassed 3,686 followers. 

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In one other Twitter account, @5xStock, Cross calls himself an “funding fanatic.” When he began a monetary planning agency, U.S. Asset Administration, in 2016, the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce hosted a grand opening attended by then-U.S. Rep. Rob Woodall and then-Gwinnett County Chairwoman Charlotte Nash, in line with the Gwinnett Each day Publish. 

Cross stated he contacted Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger a dozen occasions over the past 12 months about his considerations, however solely heard from Raffensperger when he known as looking for a marketing campaign donation.

“Nobody has been held accountable. I’m embarrassed to be a Georgian,”  Cross instructed the board. ”Is that this the best way we run elections within the best nation on Earth–like some third-rate banana republic? Our leaders–the governor and the secretary of state–want to satisfy their constitutional duties to the residents.” 

“Put in your massive boy pants,” he added. “Roll up your sleeves and get to work. Everybody right here desires a safe vote. Election integrity is paramount.”

“2000 Mules” relies on data from Reality The Vote, a conservative vote-monitoring group in Houston, which gathered drop-box surveillance video in Georgia and different swing states. In April, the State Elections Board subpoenaed paperwork, recordings, and names of the individuals who allegedly harvested the Georgia ballots from Reality the Vote, however the group has not complied.

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In accordance with the Secretary of State’s normal counsel, Ryan Germany, the group has confidentiality considerations for somebody it claims has details about the so-called poll harvesting. 

Germany instructed the board that his workplace is in discussions with Reality the Vote’s attorneys about acquiring the subpoenaed data “Reality The Vote does have some real considerations in regards to the confidentiality of data. So we’re attempting to work with them to resolve these considerations,” he stated. 

The board approved the Georgia Lawyer Basic’s workplace to petition a decide to implement the subpoenas and defend witnesses’ confidentiality.



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Georgia

Georgia girl, 12, killed by father after family court grants him custody

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A Tennessee grandmother who fought for custody of her late daughter’s youngster however misplaced out to the woman’s father was left grieving and offended after the person murdered her granddaughter.

Monica Dunning is holding up the taking pictures dying of her 12-year-old granddaughter, Angel Ahearn, as devastating proof that the US household court docket system is damaged, the Tennessee information outlet WBIR reported.

Angel’s mom died in a automobile crash in Monroe county, Tennessee, in 2016. Dunning subsequently pushed to be named her granddaughter’s guardian. However the woman frolicked in a number of foster properties earlier than her father, Leonard Ahearn, gained custody of her.

In line with Dunning, her daughter was divorced from Ahearn on the time of her dying, and there had been allegations of abuse which led to a court docket order that prevented him from seeing Angel.

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The choice to award Ahearn custody regardless of these allegations produced a tragic consequence on the household dwelling in Barrow county, Georgia, greater than a three-hour drive from Monroe county, Tennessee.

On 17 October, authorities say, Ahearn was arguing with a 34-year-old girl when he grabbed a pistol and shot her, his daughter and himself. First responders arrived to seek out Angel useless and the 2 adults badly wounded. Ahearn died after he and the girl had been taken to hospital.

“She watched her father stroll as much as her and put a gun to her head and shoot her,” Dunning informed WBIR in an interview this week. “That’s simply horrifying. No 12-year-old, particularly that 12-year-old, ought to undergo that.

“There was no means that you possibly can be in a room together with her, even two seconds, and never simply completely love her. She was outgoing, she was expressive, she was glad.”

Dunning mentioned she was significantly annoyed as a result of she invested money and time present process a course of geared toward authorizing her to take care of Angel, in a house the place Angel would have been secure. However she mentioned it appeared as if officers in command of her case “would place [Angel] with anyone” however her maternal grandmother.

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The kids’s providers division of Tennessee informed WBIR that courts have the ultimate phrase on the place any youngster is positioned to reside. WBIR reported that the decide who dominated on Angel’s case, Benjy Thomas, declined to remark.

Tennessee state home consultant Gloria Johnson mentioned Angel’s dying illustrated simply one of many issues plaguing an understaffed, underpaid youngsters’s providers division and the courts with which it really works.

Programs throughout the US face related points. Johnson informed WBIR she was calling on Tennessee’s governor, Invoice Lee, to correctly fund state youngsters’s providers earlier than every other youngsters had been damage.

“It’s simply morally fallacious,” Johnson mentioned to WBIR. “I believe it’s time to seek out the cash to deal with the state of affairs now.”



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After 25 years in prison, 2 Georgia men released after podcast uncovers manufactured evidence in murder case

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  (Georgia Innocence Mission )

Two Georgia males might be dwelling for Christmas for the primary time in 1 / 4 of a century after a podcast uncovered their homicide convictions had been based mostly on manufactured proof.

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Pictures shared by the Georgia Innocence Mission present a Floyd County court docket bailiff unlocking {the handcuffs} of Darrell Lee Clark for the final time Thursday, as his father seemed on with tears in his eyes. He and Cain Joshua Storey had been each 17-years-old once they had been arrested for the 1996 capturing loss of life of 15-year-old Brian Bowling.

“You by no means suppose one thing like that’s going to occur to you,” mentioned Lee Clark. “By no means would I’ve thought I’d spend greater than half my life in jail, particularly for one thing I didn’t do. I am simply glad the reality lastly got here to gentle after 25 years. I am so grateful for the Georgia Innocence Mission and Proof Podcast for what they did. With out them, I’d nonetheless be in jail.”

“I have been ready on today for an extended, very long time, and I am unable to start to thank everybody who has supported us. With out y’all, we would not have made it,” mentioned Darrell’s father, Glen. “Whereas right now is a day of celebration for us, I additionally wish to let the Bowling household understand how heavy our hearts are for them, and for what occurred. There aren’t any onerous emotions; we love them.”

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A sport of Russian roulette or a revenge homicide?

For Brian Bowling, Oct. 18, 1996 was simply one other typical Friday evening for a young person in Rome. He was sitting on his mattress in his father or mother’s trailer dwelling, hanging out along with his greatest pal, Cain Storey, whereas speaking on the cellphone to his girlfriend. He didn’t know the harmful sport he instructed his girlfriend he was enjoying could be his final.

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Round 9:30 p.m., Bowling would pull the set off of a gun he and Storey purchased collectively, sending a bullet by his cranium.

Freaked out by simply witnessing his greatest pal kill himself, Storey would make a number of statements of remorse over the sport of Russian roulette to these arriving on the scene. He would later make clear to investigators he was expressing regret for his pal’s loss of life and survivor’s guilt, however for investigators, the seed of suspicion was planted in that first hour.

Cain Joshua Storey (Georgia Division of Corrections)

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Whereas investigators initially believed Storey’s account, he was nonetheless charged with manslaughter.

Seven months after his arrest, investigators had been again out on the trailer park canvassing the neighborhood for extra witnesses. They got here throughout resident Angela Bruce, who investigators mentioned painted a a lot completely different image of occasions.

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Bruce instructed investigators Storey and Clark got here to a celebration she had hosted a couple of months after the capturing. Investigators say she claimed the pair instructed her that they had plotted to homicide Bowling utilizing his girlfriend as a distraction. Investigators say she then mentioned the pair put a pillow over Bowling’s head and shot him. The motive, in keeping with police, was that Bowling knew an excessive amount of a few prior theft the pair had dedicated. She reportedly instructed investigators Clark admitted to her that he was there that evening, however didn’t shoot Bowling.

Darrell Lee Clark

Darrell Lee Clark (Georgia Division of Corrections)

Inside two weeks, Storey’s prices had been upgraded to homicide and Clark could be arrested as his co-conspirator.

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Investigators would additionally converse to a listening to and speech-impaired man who was dwelling on the Bowling dwelling. Investigators declare Charlie Childers recognized Clark from a photograph lineup after reporting that he noticed somebody working by the yard that evening. Nobody else on the dwelling noticed it.

Prosecutors paint a conspiracy principle throughout the homicide trial

The gang referred to as the “Free Birds” have a rule, prosecutors instructed jurors, that anybody who snitches to police have to be executed. That’s the premise the state gave for why Storey and Clark killed Bowling.

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Through the trial, prosecutors relied closely on Bruce’s testimony to color that tableaux of conspiracy and homicide. Bowling had supposedly instructed police in regards to the theft of a protected containing greater than $3,000. One drawback with the image was Storey had beforehand spoken to police implementing himself and Clark in crime.

Charlie Childers, who claimed to have seen Clark that evening, had hassle speaking in court docket. He didn’t use American Signal Language or some other acknowledged signing techniques. He frequently mentioned Storey’s identify when describing occasions. He did point out a “Darrell” throughout his testimony that the interpreter concluded was Clark.

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On cross-examination, Childers described a “Black boy” with “black hair” who had a spouse. Clark, who goes by his center identify Lee, is white, single, with brown hair. Childers additionally gave police details about Storey and that he “don’t find out about Darrell.”

No post-mortem was carried out on Bowling’s physique, so the state relied on the county coroner, who had no former medical coaching. He instructed jurors the gun needed to be a foot to a foot-and-a-half from the physique when fired as a result of there have been no powder burns. He mentioned he had a “intestine feeling” it was not a self-inflicted wound.

Nevertheless, upon cross-examination, the protection famous numerous the coroner’s testimony discussing blood spatter and markings on the physique had been in line with a self-inflicted capturing, which is what Storey had initially instructed police.

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A neurosurgeon referred to as by the State mentioned that bullet’s path was uncommon, however {that a} self-inflicted wound couldn’t be dominated out. It was additionally disclosed there was no powder residue on Storey’s arms following the lethal capturing.

Clark instructed jurors he had an alibi for that evening, along with his legal professional calling two witnesses to the stand to assist his declare.

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Regardless of the proof, the 2 had been convicted of homicide and conspiracy to commit homicide after the week-long trial. They had been each sentenced to life in jail.

Podcasters uncover new proof in loss of life of Brian Bowling

Regardless of a number of failed enchantment makes an attempt, the case would start to be seen in new gentle in 2021, when Susan Simpson and Jacinda Davis started digging into the main points of the case of their Proof podcast.

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The pair started by making contact with Charlie Childers. Using a former instructor of Childers on the Georgia College for the Deaf, the pair discovered that Childers by no means communicated to police that he noticed Clark that evening and most of his testimony throughout the trial was a few crime he witnessed a decade earlier.

Childers would go on to clarify that he didn’t know what Clark or Storey did or why that they had gone to jail. When proven an image of Storey, he instructed the podcasters that he had by no means seen him within the trailer park. He additionally mentioned he by no means picked Clark out of picture lineup as an investigator testified.

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When Simpson and Davis approached Angela Bruce, she instantly recanted her testimony. She instructed the podcasters she had testified as she did as a result of she was attempting to guard her household. She described how the identical investigator who Childers mentioned faked the lineup had additionally threatened her. She mentioned the investigators had approached her for sexual favors and had threatened to name DFCS to come back take her youngsters away.

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The podcasters additionally had been capable of finding a witness who corroborated Bruce’s worry of retaliation by police.

Floyd County males freed after podcast reveals new proof

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Thursday’s listening to for Clark was the fruits of the efforts Simpson and Davis in addition to the Georgia Innocence Mission during the last two years.

Senior Legal professional Christina Cribbs and Accountability Counsel Meagan Hurley had been capable of persuade the district legal professional and a superior court docket choose that the proof wanted to be re-examined. In the long run, Clark was exonerated of all prices.

“We’re elated to see Lee and his household lastly get hold of the justice that’s so lengthy overdue. This might not have been potential with out the Bowling household’s assist and a district legal professional’s workplace that was keen to take an goal, new have a look at an previous case,” mentioned Cribbs. “The Bowling household suffered an awesome loss when Brian died. Their energy, open minds, willingness to query data that has been offered as ‘truth,’ and quest for the reality is inspiring.”

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“Official misconduct was actually a contributing consider Lee’s case, simply because it has been in over 50% of wrongful conviction circumstances. What we should always take away from that is that unfettered energy, with out correct checks and balances, leaves ripe the chance for errors and misconduct. Correct oversight, coupled with instructional initiatives designed to stop and proper wrongful convictions, is vital,” mentioned Hurley. “Prosecutors have an obligation to see that justice is completed of their circumstances, and that should embrace a dedication to ideas of integrity, fairness, and accountability. It’s crucial that they’re keen to take corrective motion once they see injustice, together with when the injustice is perpetrated by police.”

Georgia is one in all 12 states that doesn’t have a statutory compensation regulation to offer monetary assist for these wrongly convicted. An internet fundraiser has been arrange for him to attempt to assist him start his life once more.

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As for Storey, his prices had been lowered again to the unique manslaughter cost and was given 10 years with credit score for time served. The choose commenting “clearly, that’s been served in full.” His conviction might be formally wiped from his report underneath Georgia’s First Offender Act.

Each males will spend Christmas as free males for the primary time in 25 years. 



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Georgia on the nation’s mind: 5 essential reads

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Shortly after his reelection on Dec. 6, 2022, Rev. Raphael Warnock talked about his political journey in a state higher identified for its racist historical past of suppressing the Black vote.

“I’m Georgia,” Warnock stated. “A dwelling instance and embodiment of its historical past and its hope, of its ache and promise, the brutality and risk.”

Warnock’s senate marketing campaign in opposition to his Republican challenger, Herschel Walker, occurred at a time when Georgia voters confronted a slew of recent election legislation reforms that the state’s lawmakers stated had been essential to guard election integrity. However civil rights advocates characterised the reforms as the newest model of suppression efforts concentrating on Black voters.

Throughout his speech, Warnock was clear on his place.

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“The truth that hundreds of thousands of Georgians endured hours in traces … that wrapped round buildings and went on for blocks, traces within the chilly, traces within the rain, is most actually not an indication voter suppression doesn’t exist,” Warnock stated. “As an alternative, it’s proof that you simply, the individuals, is not going to permit your voices to be silenced.”

Because the marketing campaign unfolded, The Dialog printed a number of articles wanting on the historical past of voting in Georgia and the way race has performed a big function in shaping the state’s election legal guidelines.

1. New election reforms

Georgia’s GOP lawmakers overhauled the state’s election legal guidelines in 2021 – and critics argued that the goal was Black voter turnout, not election fraud as claimed by Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp and different white conservative politicians.

Emory College Political Science Professor Richard Doner particulars the shameful historical past and breaks down the important thing adjustments within the state’s new voting legislation, SB 202, that emerged at a time of rising Black political energy and GOP unproven conspiracy theories on election fraud.




Learn extra:
Georgia’s GOP overhauled the state’s election legal guidelines in 2021 – and critics argue the goal was Black voter turnout, not election fraud

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2. Runoff elections often produce higher insurance policies

Regardless of its racist historical past, Georgia’s runoff voting course of will not be inherently racist – because the 2022 marketing campaign demonstrated with two Black males operating in opposition to one another.

The truth is, argues Westminster School Assistant Political Science Professor Joshua Holzer, runoff voting tends to provide higher insurance policies.

“It’s because,” Holzer writes, “runoff elections typically favor candidates who lean to the middle, and center-leaning candidates appear to be extra prone to respect human rights and supply higher illustration of a bigger portion of the citizens.”




Learn extra:
A short historical past of Georgia’s runoff voting – and the way this 12 months’s contest between two Black males is an indication of progress


3. Georgia’s nationwide significance

With Warnock’s victory, the Democrats management the Senate with 51 of the 100 seats and not want a deciding vote from Vice President Kamala Harris to interrupt ties in an effort to cross payments that help their legislative agenda.

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However as political science scholar Richard Hargy explains, the marketing campaign stood as one other check of the affect former president Donald Trump holds throughout the Republican Social gathering and as “a possibility to enhance their Senate seat tally forward of a troublesome election cycle in 2024.”




Learn extra:
Georgia’s runoff election: why the result’s so necessary to Biden and Trump


4. Runoffs elections have a price

In Georgia, if no candidate receives 50% of the overall election vote, there’s a runoff between the highest two vote-getters.

And people races are costly, writes political science professor John A. Tures.

Although the ultimate tally for the 2022 runoff will not be accomplished, in 2020, the campaigns value not less than $75 million statewide.

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Regardless of the expense, runoff elections have an effect on voter turnout – and never for the higher.

“The one constant pattern is that the runoff elections drew fewer voters than the overall elections that preceded them,” Tures writes.




Learn extra:
Georgia runoff elections are thrilling, however pricey for voters and democracy


5. Weak celeb political candidates

Along with race, one other issue performed a component within the Georgia marketing campaign – Walker’s celeb standing.

Political science scholar Richard T. Longoria explains that whereas celeb candidates have benefits in title recognition and media consideration, they typically lose their bids for public workplace.

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“They lose for a similar causes different candidates lose,” Longoria writes. “In the event that they take unpopular coverage positions, they lose. If they’re by no means thought of to be critical candidates, they lose.”




Learn extra:
Celebrities in politics have a leg up, however their benefits cannot prime fundraising failures


Editor’s be aware: This story is a roundup of articles from The Dialog’s archives.



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