Fulton County Republican Party Chairman Trey Kelly says there is a definite conflict of interest in the county’s elections office involving a top elections official and his son. “This is an extreme unacceptable conflict of interest from the individual responsible for absentee ballots and voter registration for the largest County in Georgia.” And InsiderAdvantage has learned that this is not the first time these allegations have been made.
Both allegations involve Ralph Jones Sr., who works in the county’s elections office, and his son Ralph Jones Jr., who identifies himself as on his social media accounts as communications director for Democratic U.S. Senatorial candidate Raphael Warnock.
It all began about three years ago in the City of Atlanta elections – specifically in the race for mayor. According to reports, during the 2017 election, current Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms’ campaign paid a consulting firm registered to a senior official in the Fulton County elections department.
Records showed that the campaign paid more than $3,600 to RJ Mays Consulting, whose registered agent is Ralph Jones Sr., registration chief of the county’s election department. Further investigation found Jones’ son, Ralph Jones Jr., was listed as the company’s “incorporator.” Jones Jr. served as social media communications director for the Bottoms campaign and later went to work for Bottoms after she won the election.
Fast-forward to today. Jones Sr. still serves as a top elections official in Fulton County overseeing absentee ballots and registration. And his son, Jones Jr., states on his LinkedIn account that he handles communications for Raphael Warnock. This is also noted on his Facebook page.
In fact, in several national media reports Jones Jr. is identified as the official spokesman for Warnock’s campaign.
Three years ago the reports surfaced as the Secretary of State’s office conducted a forensic review of the Dec. 5 runoff election between Bottoms and opponent Mary Norwood, a contest decided by 821 votes. That probe involved irregularities related to absentee ballots, which fall under Jones Sr. responsibilities.
“It’s a really bad look, let’s at least start with that,” said Caren Morrison, a former federal prosecutor who is a law professor at Georgia State University –in 2018 reports of the investigation. “I mean, it’s about the most obviously stupid thing you could possibly do. It’s almost like saying, having a big arrow going, ‘Hey, look at me, I’m doing something corrupt. Check it out.”