SPALDING COUNTY, Ga. - The Spalding County Sheriff's Office is putting to rest rumors surrounding a so-called "angry mob" and paperwork found in a dumpster at the county Election's Office.
According to Spalding County Sheriff's Darrell Dix, a Sheriff’s Office supervisor responded to the Election’s Office last night to a call about observers being denied access to the Election’s Office. He heard the complaint and documented it in an incident report. The complainants were told to contact the Secretary of State’s Office and the report documenting the complaint would be available to them. According to the supervisor, everyone he spoke to was very peaceful and understanding.
A short time later, the Spalding County supervisor and a City of Griffin Officer returned to the Election’s Office at the request of Election’s Office employees, to escort them to their vehicles.
"There was at no time an 'angry mob' as has been described on social media," the sheriff stated in a news release sent to FOX 5.
"We received a third call to respond to the Election’s Office regarding paperwork that had been located in a dumpster behind the building. The same supervisor responded to the scene. He contacted me and advised me that there was paperwork in the dumpster as had been described to him," the sheriff stated. "At that point I told him to clear the people from around the area of the dumpster, block off the area with crime scene tape, notify our on-call investigator and crime scene investigator and have them respond to the scene."
Dix said investigators photographed and documented the dumpster, its contents, and the area around it. They then bagged the entire contents of the dumpster, loaded it into a truck, and transported the contents to the Spalding County Sheriff’s Office where it was "secured under lock and key."
According to Sheriff Darrell Dix, no ballots were found in the dumpster by anyone Thursday night and that no ballots were found in any of the contents of the dumpster that were searched Friday morning by the Secretary of State's Office and investigators.
"We allowed anyone on scene that wanted to follow the truck transporting the materials to the Sheriff’s Office to do so, and some did. I also had deputies go to all 18 polling places in Spalding County and check dumpsters and trash for any election related documents. No documents or elections materials were found at any of those polling places."
According to the sheriff's office, an investigator from the Secretary of State’s Office along with crime scene investigators and criminal investigators went through each bag, documenting and photographing what was found.
"There were no ballots found in the dumpster by anyone last night. There were no ballots found in any of the contents of the dumpster that were searched this morning by the Secretary of State’s Office and my investigators," Sheriff Dix stated. "What was found were empty envelopes that were used to mail ballots to the election’s office. Those envelopes are marked 'Ballot'. Each had been opened and they were all empty."
The contents of those bags. which the sheriff says were documents, not ballots and improperly disposed off, will be secured at the Spalding County Sheriff’s Office until further orders from the Secretary of State’s Office.
The investigation has been turned over to the Secretary of State’s Office.