Fulton County meets deadline to review paper ballots - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Fulton County meets deadline to review paper ballots

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FULTON COUNTY, GA (CBS46) -

Fulton County election officials announced late Friday that workers successfully reviewed 11,000 paper ballots cast in Tuesday's election.

The county had until 5 p.m. Friday to review and decide which of the ballots were valid. 

Election officials had no information on the number that were, in fact, legitimate votes but estimated it was likely about half.

Most of the provisional ballots were cast by voters who were legitimately registered, but the county had no record of them.  At some precincts, voters waited hours to cast their paper ballot only to find out the county had run out of them.

"We want to get it right," said Roderick Edmond, the chairman of the Fulton County Board of Registration and Elections. "This is something that's going to get fixed.  If it takes a full clean sweep of the department in order to do it, that's what's going to happen." 

The board met Friday morning to discuss the provisional ballot count and agreed to allow Sharon Mitchell, the interim elections director, to have the final say over which ones were valid.

"We think the process is going well," Mitchell said as she left the public safety building where ballots were being opened.

Workers at the Public Safety building in downtown Atlanta began the daunting process of opening the paper ballots and reviewing them. Those that were valid were then sent to the Elections Preparation Center on English Street in northwest Atlanta.

Throughout the day Friday, workers at the EPC scanned and registered the valid votes. While the county had no specific numbers, it estimated about half of the 11,000 were legitimate.

Edmond said that retraining of poll workers is essential.

"During these periods when there are not elections, the downtime, people should not be just cooling their heels, they need to be actually doing the training and working to make sure that come game time, the next election, that they're ready," said Edmond.

Workers were scanning and inputting the valid votes into the system Friday night. The county said it would certify election results Saturday at noon.

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