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Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Reed campaign rejects Norwood allegations

click to enlarge "I'd like to report a stolen election."
  • "I'd like to report a stolen election."

I haven't seen Mary Norwood herself quoted anywhere in the kerfuffle over alleged election fraud in the mayor's race, but the Kasim Reed's legal counsel today addressed the charges as if they'd come directly from the Councilwoman's own lips.

"I think it would be a wonderful gesture if Mary Norwood said, 'Enough is enough; let's move forward,'" said Robert Highsmith, a law partner of Reed's at Holland & Knight and former lead counsel to Gov. Sonny Perdue.

In a chilly press conference outside the Fulton County Government Center, Highsmith explained that Norwood supporters had recently given to Fulton County election officials a list of more than 1,300 people they believe had cast illegal votes in the Nov. 3 general election.

"A cursory investigation revealed that number to be false," said Highsmith, adding that only 33 of the people on the list had actually voted. "It was nowhere near the number that would call the election into question."

He similarly dismissed rumors that the Reed campaign had bused people in from nearby counties to vote in the Atlanta election.

Highsmith wouldn't speculate on how the Norwood folks came up with 1,300 suspected illegal voters if it wasn't true — but I've got a guess.

The simplest explanation would be that someone confused voters still registered at non-existent addresses — in this case, bulldozed housing projects — with folks who actually cast votes in the election. If a resident moves out of the county, his name wouldn't disappear from voter rolls unless he registers at a new address or the rolls undergo a periodic updating.

Although Norwood hasn't publicly joined in the rumor-mongering, people down at City Hall tell me they've heard her discussing these conspiracy theories privately. And just this afternoon, she formally requested a vote recount. We'll see how that works out for her.

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