In an under-reported but important revelation, Governor Kemp issued a letter last week acknowledging 2020 general election problems in Georgia. In fact, his office investigated a list of 36 specific problems which were raised by a concerned Georgia voter, Joseph Rossi, and validated every single one. Governor Kemp referred the findings to the Georgia State Election Board (SEB) for investigation. From his letter to the Board:

To determine whether it was appropriate to refer Mr. Rossi’s claims to you, my office tested the veracity of his work by independently repeating the research Mr. Rossi conducted on each of his 36 claims. My office analyzed each of Mr. Rossi’s 36 claims against the RLA Report data. This process was extensive, required a manual review of thousands of ballot images and audit data, and took weeks to complete.

We spoke with Mr. Rossi, who told us of how he found the issues and the arduous process which eventually led the Georgia governor to review his findings.

Mr. Rossi is a recently retired executive who worked for corporate America his entire career, mainly Frito Lay and Pepsi. In January, he began to look into the Georgia election results and soon focused on the Georgia hand-count “audit.” Mr. Rossi soon had questions and sought answers from Gabriel Sterling of the Georgia Secretary of State’s office. Mr. Rossi’s emails to Mr. Sterling went unanswered, as did his questions, but he didn’t just give up. Instead, Mr. Rossi called Gabriel Sterling’s office every day for 21 days. Finally, he sent Sterling a certified email and received confirmation that it was received. In that email, Mr. Rossi wrote, “Now I know you’ve read this…” and something to the effect of “I’m not going away.” Mr. Rossi’s efforts, along with the help of Shaw Blackmon, a Georgia State legislator, were finally able to elicit an email response from Mr. Sterling.

Emil Moffatt/WABE

One of the questions Mr. Rossi posed to Mr. Sterling was about the batch tally sheets for the hand count and asked for access to the records. Batch tally sheets are a form that details the votes counted for each candidate in the corresponding batch (usually 100) of ballots. In other words, those performing the count would take 100 ballots and count the number of votes for Trump and the number of votes for Biden, etc. and mark the count for each on the tally sheet (example below). These tally sheets would then be totaled to produce the results.

In a condescending tone, Mr. Sterling directed Mr. Rossi to the Secretary of State’s website for the publicly available batch tally sheets. With the help of an interested friend and local attorney, Mr. Rossi proceeded to print, evaluate and count the tally sheets for Fulton County. It wasn’t long before they found thousands to be missing, representing approximately 275,000 votes (half of the total).

Mr. Rossi sent Sterling an email describing the problem but was ignored. He restarted his daily campaign to call and email daily for a couple of weeks until finally getting a response. Sterling said his team had failed to scan the missing tally sheets and would have it completed by the end of the week. After they were uploaded, Mr. Rossi found that the original tally sheets had been deleted and replaced. What’s more, he found discrepancies between the batch tally sheets and the spreadsheet results published on the Secretary of State’s website. He emailed Sterling and described the discrepancies in detail, seeking an explanation and, like the many times before, was ignored. Mr. Rossi was undeterred and kept pushing until Sterling was forced to respond.

Sterling excused most of the problems raised as nothing more than expected trivial human error. He went on to discount the others in condescending, intentionally over-complex excuses of Georgia law, claimed Mr. Rossi was not using the correct files and alluded to his failure to understand the process.

As for the clearly inexplicable errors, such as those tally sheets that in no way represented the actual votes, Sterling claimed were the fault of Fulton County and directed Mr. Rossi to ask them for answers.

This revelation alone is telling. The Secretary of State’s office was responsible for the hand-count, the results of which they have proudly used to defend against allegations of election fraud and irregularities, but as soon as indefensible issues are brought to light, it’s suddenly “not their problem.”

If the most populated county in Georgia yields results from a hand-count that are wildly incorrect, then obviously, the results of the state will also be incorrect. By the Secretary of State’s own admission, Fulton County has a long history of election problems, which leaves no excuse for them to blindly accept Fulton’s hand-count results without even as much as the most basic check.

Mr. Rossi concluded that Gabriel Sterling was uninterested and unwilling to resolve the discrepancies in the hand-count he had touted so frequently in defense of Georgia’s election. The bottom line was that the hand-count results were wrong no matter the reason, and the Secretary of State’s office refused to do anything about it.

With the help of Shaw Blackmon, Mr. Rossi was connected to the right people in Governor Kemp’s office, and finally, things started to happen. Governor Kemp sent his deputy chief counsel to meet with Mr. Rossi, who briefed the gentleman on his findings and supporting data. Over several weeks Governor Kemp’s office independently investigated Rossi’s findings and validated every single one. Governor Kemp then issued a report detailing the problems along with a letter to the State Election Board recommending they launch an investigation.

The board has since announced they will follow the Governor’s recommendation and perform an investigation.

Mr. Rossi was only successful in pursuit of having these issues addressed because he didn’t settle for excuses and simply expected results. He explained that if something comparable were to happen in the corporate world, for example, an annual report with similar deficiencies, the CEO and COO would be held to account by the shareholders and forced to resign.

In the end, Mr. Rossi’s findings, which the Georgia Secretary of State’s office ignored, attempted to diminish and then summarily dismissed, were investigated and confirmed by the office of the Governor. This bears repeating. The same exact list of 36 allegations excused and rejected by the Secretary of State, were investigated and confirmed by the Georgia Governor’s office.

The confirmation further discredits the Secretary of State’s office and renders the results of the hand count unreliable. Because the hand-count results have been used as the reason to dismiss all other challenges, those problems are now more relevant and important to resolve than ever before. Such as those raised by VoterGA, which include thousands of duplicate ballot images and the tens of thousands of missing ballot images. VoterGA is an election integrity organization led by Garland Favorito. In fact, some of the now-validated Rossi findings were separately and independently discovered by VoterGA, lending credence to those that have not yet been reviewed by the state.

Many may be understandably inclined to conclude that an investigation by the State Election Board is of little consequence and will yield insignificant results. However, know that Mr. Rossi does not consider the Governor’s validation of his findings, nor the State Election Board’s investigation as an end to his pursuit. Quite the opposite as Mr. Rossi is in communication with the SEB and doing all he can to ensure a credible investigation is undertaken. What’s also reassuring is that Mr. Rossi has never stopped his own investigation and has even formed a team of dedicated individuals with a wide range of specialized skill sets he referred to as the “NSB Team.” What does “NSB” stand for? “No Smoke Blowing.”

More to come soon.