Carter Jones was hired by the Georgia Secretary of State’s Office to observe Fulton County’s election activities during the November 2020 Election. This was in response to a consent order created due to problems with Fulton County’s primary election.
In August 2020 the Georgia State Election Board (SEB) referred two Fulton County election investigations involving the primaries to the Georgia Attorney General’s office. Assistant Attorney General Charlene McGowan began to negotiate with Fulton to create a “Consent Order”.
One section of the order allowed the SEB to place a monitor inside Fulton elections. McGowan offloaded the responsibility to find the candidates to be monitors to Ryan Germany, the Secretary of State’s General Counsel who answers to Brad Raffensberger. McGowan gave Fulton Election Director Rick Barron the right to decide who was hired as this monitor.
The SEB is made of five members and the Secretary of State was always the Chairman. So Brad Raffensberger held a SEB meeting on Oct. 30th, 2020 to discuss the Attorney General’s new Fulton County “Consent Order” and hiring of the monitor.
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A partial transcript of this meeting is below, and here is an audio of the meeting:
During the meeting, the Attorney General’s Charlene McGowan asked the SEB to approve “Carter Jones” to be the Fulton County monitor. Board member Anh Le was curious. She asked Charlene to explain Carter Jones’ election qualifications. This is when Ryan Germany had to step in.
Germany said Carter Jones has extensive elections experience from his job at the International Republican Institute (IRI) from 2013-17. He said Jones “helped set up” elections in Africa. Carter Jones Linkedin page shows he was a Program Officer/Manager.
Jones managed budgets and grants for the South Africa region while working out of an office in Washington DC. He was expanding Generation Democracy, an IRI initiative to attract and train youth. Jones’s resume was fine but there was no real US election history in it.
Ryan Germany must have known Carter Jones had no experience in the processing and logistics of American elections. So Germany told SEB members that Jones was just unfamiliar with Georgia’s elections. He told SEB members Jones had already completed the Dominion Tech Training. Jones also completed the Fulton County Poll Worker training and was already working at the polls. Raffensberger clearly didn’t want board members’ advice. He hired Jones behind their back and they said nothing during the meeting.
State Election Board (SEB) Meeting
Friday October 30th, 2020 – 9:00AM
Partial Transcript Below – times are in minutes from the start of the meeting onward.
3:14 CHARLENE SWARTZ MCGOWAN (GA Assistant Attorney General)
The Fulton County consent also includes a provision where the State Election Board can appoint a monitor to track and report progress to the Board. We were able to come to an agreement on of the terms rather quickly but the thing that took some time was coming to an agreement an appropriate monitor that was acceptable to both the County and our office. And we were able to agree on Carter Jones who I believe has been working and already working in this capacity. So, we would ask that the Board both approve the consent order and appoint Mr. Jones as a monitor. Um, I’m happy to answer any questions. I believe the details are in the consent order that you have gotten a copy of. Our recommendation is that the board approve the consent order and appoint Mr. Jones and the monitor.
4:18 BRAD RAFFENSBERGER (Chairman): Do any Board members have any questions for the Attorney General’s Office.
4:22 DAVID WORLEY (Board Member): Mr. Chairman should Fulton County not comply, would the $50k penalty be imposed automatically or would have to come to this Board to be approved.
4:48 CHARLENE SWARTZ MCGOWAN (Asst. Attorney General): I believe it would come back to the Board to be shown. I think the County would have the opportunity to be heard in front of the Board as to why the consent order was or was not complied with.
5:03 BRAD RAFFENSBERGER (Chairman): Do we have any other questions from our Board members? I’d like to add a few points here…(interrupted), Ms. Le, yes, go ahead.
5:21 ANH LE (Board Member): Um, I have one question. Could you tell us a little bit about Mr. Jones as to why um..you know..what experience he has with elections, um, why he was chosen? I’m sure he’s very qualified I’m just curious to know because I am not aware of Mr. Jones. Could you elaborate, please?
5:45 BRAD RAFFENSBERGER (Chairman): I was just going to do that but Ryan Germany would possibly be the best person to um, is it, he has a very impressive resume, um, but Ryan would you like to go ahead and expand on that for us.
5:58 RYAN GERMANY (General Counsel): Yes. Carter Jones and as Charlene said, the identity of the monitor. To find someone who is acceptable to both Fulton and the State Election Board was more difficult than the actual substance of the consent order, which was pretty widespread and immediate agreement on what needed to be done. I think Fulton wanted to make sure this was somebody who was going to be more of a resource and not someone who was basically trying to play gotcha. That was our goal as well.
Mr. Jones is uh, his experience in elections, is um, he worked for a group called the International Republican Institute. And in “Republican” referring to the form of government and not the party. Their experience was getting elections set up and running in basically new republics. They have a lot of experience with elections in Africa and not experience with election administration so much in Georgia. But um, his overall experience I think prepared him well. To get him more prepared for election in Georgia we had him go through the Dominion Tech Training to just become more familiar with the equipment in Georgia and he’s done that. He’s attended the Fulton Poll Worker training to do that.
One reason that he would really..I think the final choice was um, I’m trying to find the best way to put it, but he said. I’m gonna quote, seems like he really doesn’t want the job. He wasn’t lobbying for it he’s really trying to just play it down the middle and make sure Fulton is improving. And I think he can really be a resource to the County and that’s how he’s approaching it. And I have been working with him…um..and I believe that’s what he’s doing. Rick Barron and I had a good meeting with him and I know he’s been going around um….and already starting to work.
Ryan Germany explained why Jones was hired: “He was our final choice because it seems like he really DOESN’T WANT THE JOB”.