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Attorney general’s office to take over Fulton elections investigation
by Nicole Dow
December 19, 2013 04:18 PM | 2918 views | 0 0 comments | 29 29 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Georgia Attorney General’s Office will be taking over the State Election Board’s investigation into Fulton County’s handling of the 2012 elections.

Lauren Kane, a spokeswoman for the attorney general’s office, said in an email Wednesday the board’s investigation file had been referred to the office but not yet received.

“Once we receive the investigative file, we will review the evidence supporting each of the alleged violations,” Kane said. “We will also negotiate with Fulton County to determine whether a consent agreement is appropriate. And if a settlement cannot be reached, the case will be sent in for a hearing before an administrative law judge.”

According to the board’s investigation report released Tuesday, the county violated several state election rules. In the November 2012 general election, the county failed to mail out or accept various absentee ballots, did not secure 9,585 voted provisional ballots and did not property equip or instruct poll workers, among other violations, the board alleges.

Transgressions the board alleges the county made in the July 2012 primary election include but are not limited to multiple counts of failing to put voters in their proper districts and illegally opening, separating and tabulating about 6,000 absentee ballots a day ahead of time.

“Fulton County welcomes the referral of the secretary of state’s election complaint to the attorney general’s office where we will have the opportunity to respond to the allegations made and all the relevant facts and evidence can be heard,” David Walbert, attorney for the county’s board of registration and elections, said in an email. “The department replaced its executive director in June of this year after a nationwide search, and four out of five election board members, including its chairperson, have been replaced.

“This new leadership reviewed previous deficiencies and modified gaps in training prior to the 2013 elections. We are confident that we can show the attorney general that any past inadequacies have been addressed and that best practices have been put in place for future elections.”

Richard Barron, the county’s new elections director, said the department now makes in-person training the primary mode of training poll workers rather than online training.

“Each election in 2014 is going to provide us with the opportunity to experiment with new procedures and implement more changes as we prepare for the challenge of the 2016 presidential election,” Barron said in an email.

What’s next?
The Georgia Attorney General’s Office will review the evidence of the alleged violations and then decide how to move forward with the case.

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