Veteran election manager Bridget Thorne sharing her concerns via video. (Youtube screenshot)
ATLANTA — An election manager who spoke out about several “concerning” things she witnessed at the polls has been terminated from her nine-year job by the Fulton County Department of Registrations and Elections.
Bridget Thorne — a certified voting technician for Fulton County, GA. — learned of her fate in a letter dated Dec. 16, 2020. The letter said in part:
“As you may be aware, Georgia election code gives authority to the superintendent to appoint poll managers. This authority to appoint is for each primary and election in which the poll manager serves. Therefore, poll managers are not automatically tenured to a position or polling location for elections and must be reappointed by the superintendent as is required by Georgia election code for each election event.
“There are many factors (management skills, performance, actions, behavior, etc.) considered prior to making reappointments for each primary or election. Unfortunately, the decision has been made to not reappoint you in a poll management or other poll positions in Fulton County.
“Should you have any questions or need additional information in this regard, please feel free to contact this office…”
Fulton County Dept of Registrations and Elections
The letter — which was Cc’d to Richard Barron – Elections Director for Fulton County — gives no specific reason for Thorne’s termination.
We reached out to Mr. Brower late Wednesday afternoon by phone, but were told he was in a meeting and there was no one else available who could discuss Ms. Thorne’s dismissal. (NOTE: This story will be updated if/when we hear back from Mr. Brower.)
*** UPDATE ***
Mr. Brower returned our call this morning, but declined to comment on this case, referring us instead to the department’s media representative Regina Waller. This story will be updated again if/when we hear back from Ms Waller.
* * * * *
We also asked Garland Favorito of VoterGA if he knew the reason Ms. Thorne was dismissed. Favorito said he believes it is because Thorne testified that she saw Dominion employees printing uncontrolled test ballots.
Thorne affirmed her concerns about the test ballots in a Nov. 20 post on Youtube. She has also stated in a video on Youtube that she was surprised to learn that Fulton County had hired ACLU clerks to work in every precinct on election day.
Speaking of the test ballots, Thorne said:
“So, the last night I was there (in the warehouse) was a Sunday night before the election. I planned on staying till 10 o’clock, but it was really slow because we had printed all the test ballots that we needed to print, so we were just kind of waiting to see if some got lost or misplaced and needed to be reprinted, or possibly we missed one on our list. I was just sitting there and, after not doing anything for 45 minutes or so, I decided to go see if someone needed help setting up the precinct on the floor.
“So I went on the floor and helped a girl who had a large precinct – the 24 BMT. I tested the scanners for her and helped to seal the seals of equipment.
“When I came back, this consultant (named) Mike was in the warehouse… sitting there with another Dominion employee (Dominic) printing ballots. I naturally just assumed that they were printing test ballots. I felt awful that I wasn’t there and they were having to do it, so I sat down and I’m like, ‘Oh I can help you print test ballots.’ And so, Dominic gave me some cards. I started printing test ballots from the bottom up, and then Dominic had to leave. When I looked over at the consultant Mike, he was just printing random ballots.
“When you print test ballots, there’s a procedure, so I started teaching him how to do it. And then he ended up kind of laughing and like, ‘Do I have to vote for Trump?’ and I’m like, ‘Yeah you’re gonna have to vote for Trump’, and then he chose to do that. You know, he created a few ballots and then he had to leave. So I finished up the whole stack of test ballots, and I took them over to be scanned. But now looking back at it after, you know, it just seemed rather unusual.”
Speaking of the ACLU clerks, Thorne said,
“I got an email from my regional manager — for all her managers — with bullet points of things we needed to do in preparation for the election. The last bullet point notified us that we would have an ACLU clerk in every precinct.
“I thought that was kind of unusual that they would hire ACLU clerks. So I sent a reply all, to just get clarification. Nobody in Fulton County management replied to my email, but several managers did and said ‘They’re just gonna be there to clear up absentee voters for us.’
“It just happened that the head for Fulton County elections — Richard Barron — was sitting 20 feet behind my desk. So I went over to ask him about it. And he asked, ‘Exactly what did (your) regional manager send out?’ I told him that we’re having ACLU clerks at each precinct. His response was that ‘She should have said that we have absentee clerks at every precinct.’ And I just said, ‘Okay, well I’m just trying to figure out what I should do with these ACLU clerks. Do I set up a table, you know, what’s the process?’ But he was very busy – obviously – at that time, and so I ended up just leaving him alone and walking away.
“In the June election, we had just tons of absentee voters who didn’t know that you should really bring your absentee ballots if you wanted to vote on the machines. So the phone lines got jammed, and it was a long process to clear voters to vote on the machines. So, trying to be helpful, they sent these ACLU clerks to process ballots.
“I had a laptop that my ACLU clerk could use, but we weren’t given the password for it and nobody seemed to know it. She was fine and said she’d prefer to use her personal laptop anyway. So she used her personal laptop and was able to clear voters that came in without their absentee ballot and clear them so that they could vote on the machines.
“The problem was – is – that she was not trained to have to sign an affidavit. Without the affidavit, the voter isn’t swearing that they haven’t already turned in an absentee ballot at a Dropbox (and) voted twice.
“My absentee clerk was very nice and very courteous, and she agreed to have them sign an affidavit anyway. I told her, ‘Let’s just be safe and do it this way anyway.’
“It concerns me, because I view the ACLU as a partisan group that supports the Democratic Party primarily. So for me to have a partisan group in my precinct that can talk to voters and has the whole database with who has turned in their absentee votes and who hasn’t just seems concerning. I mean, I just think that you need transparency in the precincts. You need it to be non partisan.”
Early voting for Georgia’s Jan 5, 2021 runoff election began on Monday. Up for grabs are Georgia’s two U.S. Senate seats.
Also on Monday, the state cast its 16 electoral votes for Joe Biden — despite continuing questions surrounding the recent election.
In one case, Coffee County, GA has refused to certify three erroneous Dominion recounts. In another case, CCTV video from election night at the State Farm Arena appears to show poll workers scanning thousands of previously “hidden” ballots after poll watchers were sent home.
Adding to Monday’s news from Atlanta, sixteen Republican electors cast conditional votes for Donald Trump.
The move to cast conditional electoral votes during a disputed election has its roots in the 1960 race between John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon. How this ongoing dispute between Biden and Trump will play out remains to be seen.
© Copyright 2020 Baltimore Post-Examiner. All Rights Reserved
Anthony C. Hayes is an actor, author, raconteur, rapscallion and bon vivant. A one-time newsboy for the Evening Sun and professional presence at the Washington Herald, Tony’s poetry, photography, humor, and prose have also been featured in Smile, Hon, You’re in Baltimore!, Destination Maryland, Magic Octopus Magazine, Los Angeles Post-Examiner, Voice of Baltimore, SmartCEO, Alvarez Fiction, and Tales of Blood and Roses. If you notice that his work has been purloined, please let him know. As the Good Book says, “Thou shalt not steal.”