Fulton County elections results again come in late


The polls in Fulton County closed at 8 p.m., but it was nearly 2 o’clock in the morning before the final results were posted in the closely watched Atlanta mayor’s race and other local contests.

It’s not the first time Fulton’s election tallying has kept voters up late. In April, when people nationally were watching the 6th District race that Karen Handel eventually won, final results came after 2 a.m. It was nearly 3:30 a.m. before city of South Fulton residents knew the results of their first election.

This time, Fulton posted its final update at 1:41 a.m. In Cobb, results were posted at 10:23 p.m. while in DeKalb, counting was finished at 11:23 p.m.

To be fair, polls in Fulton County were open until 8 p.m., when they closed at 7 p.m. everywhere else — except for Atlanta precincts in DeKalb County. Richard Barron, Fulton’s director of registration and elections, said that discrepancy “made it look worse than normal.”

There were also problems getting all the votes tallied.

One group of results cards was dropped in a bin for cards that had already been uploaded, Barron said, and weren’t found until after midnight, when someone questioned why the precincts had not yet been counted.

At another location, a facility manager kicked poll workers out of the precinct before they could finish shutting down the voting machines, and they left without taking the cards. The machines were sealed, Barron said, but a crew had to be sent back to get the cards from the machines.

He also said that election managers had to manually update precinct totals, which do not update on their own in the software system.

Barron called the issues “a little frustrating,” saying that most of the votes were posted by 12:03 a.m.

“It would’ve been 11 o’clock in a regular election,” he said. “It’s better than we normally do.”

Twitter users struggled with the delay, especially after seeing decisions in the Virginia governor’s and New York mayor’s races posted much earlier in the night.

“WHYYYYYY is Fulton county the LAST county to STILL be tallying votes though?” tweeted @CangruuvAtl.

@BCP229 said, “In Atlanta, Tuesday may be Election Day, but Wednesday is always Results Day.”

And as Atlanta’s mayoral candidates’ parties started to clear out before results were known, @JohnRuchAtlanta, with the Reporter newspapers, wrote, “Metro ATL, where ‘Election Night party’ means ‘Sit around grousing about Fulton elections dep’t and go home guessing party.’”

“It’s a school night and Fulton won’t be done counting until next week,” @jsimpsonDC wrote.

Barron said the county had added an additional check-in location for poll workers to send their results from, in the hopes of reducing the amount of travel necessary across the long county. He also said there are steps he will take to try to improve the county’s results time going forward, including asking the legislature not to keep Atlanta polls open later than others’ in future elections.

While absentee ballots can be opened beginning at 7 a.m., Barron said early votes can’t be counted until polls close. He plans to ask the county attorney for permission to treat early votes — which took more than two hours to process — like absentee ballots, to begin counting them faster.

Barron said those who complain about issues of speed in tallying should volunteer themselves to help the process move faster.

“We need poll workers who are computer savvy, who know how to process things efficiently,” Barron said. “We’re going to try a couple new things.”

MYAJC.COM: REAL JOURNALISM. REAL LOCAL IMPACT.

The AJC's Arielle Kass keeps you updated on the latest happenings in Fulton County government and politics. You'll find more on myAJC.com, including these stories:

 

Never miss a minute of what's happening in Fulton politics. Subscribe to myAJC.com.

In other Elections news:



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Local

FBI seeks man accused of robbing Atlanta college student at gunpoint  
FBI seeks man accused of robbing Atlanta college student at gunpoint  

The FBI Atlanta Field Office and Atlanta police are asking for help locating a man charged with felony armed robbery. Cedric Deon Cauley, 22, allegedly robbed a 20-year-old student at gunpoint after she left Atlanta Technical College and stopped at a corner store located at 1407 Metropolitan Pkwy. Cauley took the student’s phone and book...
Roswell set for 36th annual quilt show at Bulloch Hall
Roswell set for 36th annual quilt show at Bulloch Hall

Roswell’s historic Bulloch Hall will play host to a quilt show for 12 days in March. The 36th Annual Great American Cover-Up Quilt Show is set to begin on March 8 at 6 p.m. with an opening reception. Events with the show run through March 19. This year’s theme is National Parks, and all 58 of the United States’ national parks will...
Inside Gwinnett’s quest to find 350 Spanish-speaking poll workers
Inside Gwinnett’s quest to find 350 Spanish-speaking poll workers

Gwinnett County’s elections office is holding its first-ever “hiring events” for poll workers this week and, to be honest, Lynn Ledford isn’t quite sure what to expect. Ledford, Gwinnett’s elections director, knows she needs north of 2,000 poll workers before (and after) May’s primaries — and that, thanks...
McDonald to head PSC, as governor appoints new commissioner
McDonald to head PSC, as governor appoints new commissioner

Georgia’s Public Service Commissioners Wednesday unanimously voted in Lauren “Bubba” McDonald as the new chairman of the regulatory body for the next two years. McDonald who has served on the the commission for three terms will take over the position of Stan Wise, who resigned yesterday. “I am honored that my colleagues have...
North Fulton crimes: Man loses $2,500 in Instagram scam
North Fulton crimes: Man loses $2,500 in Instagram scam

In Sandy Springs, a 29-year-old woman told police her husband tried to get in her car as she was leaving her home on Feb. 14. After failing to enter the car, he fired several shots at the car, police said. The woman was not injured, but the car was damaged. Police have warrants for the Marietta man’s arrest. READ | SEC: N. Fulton man spent...
More Stories