Under the penalty of perjury, Georgia poll observers said they were told to go home around 10 p.m. Election Day, which coincides with State Farm Arena video showing the vote counting continuing for hours.
GOP poll monitors Mitchell Harrison and Michelle Branton signed affidavits that a woman told everyone Nov. 3 to stop counting ballots and to return 8:30 a.m. ET on Nov. 4, per the report, according to The Epoch Times.
"This lady had appeared through the night, and Mitchell and I believed her to be the supervisor," Branton's affidavit read, per the Times.
Harrison said he sought answers about the shutdown from Fulton County Public Affairs Manager Regina Waller, but she refused to answer questions, his affidavit read.
The two Republican poll observers and the Fox News crews left, leaving just Waller and three others at the State Farm Arena's absentee ballot counting location.
When hearing the counting was ongoing, the observers said they returned at 1 a.m. Nov. 4 to see that the counting did continue, per the report.
"Our Republican observers and members of the news media departed State Farm when they announced they were shutting down for the night and would resume counting at 8:30 a.m. the next day," Georgia Republican Party Chairman David Shafer said in a statement Thursday, adding those remaining behind "continued counting ballots in secret until 1 a.m."
Video presented by President Donald Trump's campaign Thursday during a state legislature hearing this week purported to show the ballot counters remaining were pulling suitcases and boxes of ballots out from under a table covered with a black cloth after the room was cleared.
The claim counting continued was not disputed by Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger spokesman Walter Jones, per the report.
"We have launched an investigation into why the monitors from the political parties left before scanning ended," Jones wrote in an email to the Times. "While it was their right to leave early, we want to make certain they were not misled into thinking scanning had stopped for the night when it had not.
"For clarification, I informed ABC News that some workers left, but four remained."
Shafer tweeted Friday night:
"Our @GaSecofState and his crack team are busily 'investigating' whether or not Fulton County elections officials sent our monitors home on election night, as if that question is actually in dispute."
Shafer added in an ensuing tweet, pointing criticism at Voting System Implementation Manager Gabriel Sterling:
"With a sweet smile, @GabrielSterling has accepted Fulton County's explanation that the Republican monitors and news media are to blame for believing the election officials who told them that they were shutting down, packed up the voting equipment and started cleaning."
Sterling refuted allegations of wrongdoing in his own tweet:
"The 90 second video of election workers at State Farm arena, purporting to show fraud was watched in its entirety (hours) by @GaSecofState investigators. Shows normal ballot processing."
But the dismissal of Republican monitors remains the point of contention. The affidavits were entered in a federal court case, Pearson v. Kemp, the Times reported.
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