Thursday, May 29, 2014

Fulton to conduct recount in chairman's race today (Update)

Posted By on Thu, May 29, 2014 at 10:49 AM

TURF WAR: Fulton County Chairman John Eaves is battling Commissioner Robb Pitts to lead the troubled government.
  • Joeff Davis/CL File
  • TURF WAR: Fulton County Chairman John Eaves is battling Commissioner Robb Pitts to lead the troubled government.

Fulton will take a second look at the narrow election results in a race that could determine the leader of the county's beleaguered government for the next four years.

Last week, incumbent Fulton Chairman John Eaves squeaked past Commissioner Robb Pitts by just 315 votes in one of the closest metro Atlanta primary races.

Fulton law allows for a recount to be requested if the margin of victory is less than 1 percent of the total ballots cast. Because of that, Pitts has asked for the county's election board to reexamine the results.

The AJC's David Wickert has the details on the recount, which is scheduled to take place today:

Fulton Elections Director Richard Barron said the recount will begin at 10 a.m. Thursday and likely will take four to five hours. The county will recount most votes - which were cast on touch-screen voting machines - electronically. The county also must re-scan and electronically recount about 2,000 paper ballots - mostly provisional or absentee ballots.

"The law provides for a recount in a situation where the margin of victory is less than one percent," Pitts said Wednesday. "That's where we are."

In addition to the recount, Pitts has said he might file a lawsuit to challenge the election results. He has hired consultant Gary Smith, who has reviewed Fulton elections in the past, to study last week's primary. One issue they're looking into: Long lines at an Atlanta precinct.

Pitts called the recount "a first step in this process, and we'll see where we go, depending on the outcome."

The winner between Eaves and Pitts will go on to face Republican nominee Earl Cooper in November's 2014 general election.

UPDATE, 5:14 p.m.: After recounting more than 45,000 votes, Fulton's election board has declared Eaves the winner yet again, this time by a margin of 303 votes. A few votes changed in the process of recounting paper ballots earlier today.

"During the recount, John Eaves lost 5 votes for a total of 22,929; Robb Pitts gained 7 votes for a total of 22,626," Fulton spokeswoman Jessica A. Corbitt-Dominguez tells CL.

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