Politics/Elections

Published on December 18th, 2017 |

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Fulton elections board re-certifies Bottoms’ win in mayoral election, but…

The Fulton County election board Saturday re-certified Kiesha Lance Bottoms as Atlanta mayor-elect, but its vice chairman abstained from voting to re-certify the election results, arguing that the board hadn’t adequately addressed the validity of votes from recently annexed areas of the city, further questioning a contentious election on the brink of a court battle.

“We have public comments that there have been irregularities,” said David J. Burge, one of two Republicans on the board. “I think it behooves this board to very clearly demonstrate that this was done right. We are meeting at an odd time, without our lawyers,” the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported on the meeting.

“But the votes from the annexed areas aren’t the only concern,” the AJC reported. “The competence, or lack thereof, of the local post office may also play a role in any challenge from Mary Norwood, the candidate whom Bottoms defeated.” Norwood is a Buckhead resident.

The board’s executive director, Rick Barron, told the AJC the board received a number of absentee ballots that were not counted because they arrived after the Dec. 1 deadline. Barron did not know how many. Barron blamed chronic problems with Atlanta’s post office and noted that last week Atlanta’s postmaster was replaced.

Norwood’s attorney, Vincent Russo, first learned of the issue from a reporter, according to the AJC.

An official recount on Thursday requested by Norwood gave her an additional five votes and subtracted six from Bottoms. But Bottoms was still more than 800 votes ahead of Norwood in the race.

Norwood’s campaign has announced it is investigating reports of irregularities at the polls.

A recent Georgia Supreme Court decision, along with a state Supreme Court transfer order issued days before the election, invalidated the annexation ordinances for five areas which reportedly should have disallowed votes cast from those areas. The areas are all located in southwest Atlanta, a part of town that Bottoms won.

State law allows a candidate to contest the result of a race in the event of irregularities, fraud and counting errors, along with other instances. A court can only order a new election if the irregularities were so significant “as to place in doubt the result of the entire primary, election or runoff.”

Norwood has five days to contest the election results. She hasn’t said if she will sue.

To read the complete AJC story, click here.

–John Schaffner

 

 

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