Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Georgia AG to look into Fulton County's 2012 election troubles

Posted By on Wed, Dec 18, 2013 at 12:40 PM

Remember all the long lines, lost ballots, and mass chaos during the 2012 presidential election? Secretary of State Brian Kemp did. More than one year later, the State Election Board has voted to send his department's report to Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens for further investigation.

According to the Secretary of State's report, officials found numerous problems with Fulton County officials' inadequate planning, training, communication, and decision-making before and during the 2012 election. That led to several violations and thousands of ballots being discounted.

"Perhaps most troubling is the apparent utter disregard for the security and integrity of practically the entirety of the provisional ballot process," the report says. "Almost 10,000 votes were essentially un-documented or under-documented and under-secured."

In addition, an unknown number of voters in the July 2012 primary may have cast ballots in the wrong Georgia General Assembly elections due to recent redistricting.

Some Fulton officials felt the findings overstated the problems and said that the county's election board contains new leadership and upgraded voting equipment. Fulton County experienced fewer issues during the 2013 citywide election - one that had far fewer races and low voter turnout.

The AJC's David Wickert explains what happens next:

Those proceedings will determine whether Fulton committed at least 15 violations of state election laws during its 2012 general and primary elections. It faces the possibility of hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines and perhaps some remedial lessons in how to run elections.

A settlement of the case could involve additional training and reporting requirements. Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp, whose office conducted the investigation, said he hopes it's resolved in time to help Fulton better prepare for elections next year.

Olens has several options moving forward: enter into a consent order with the county, schedule a trial in front of the Office of Administrative Hearings, or look into criminal charges.

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