Fulton Co. sorts ballots, certifies results
by Ray Henry
Associated Press Writer
November 11, 2012 12:13 AM | 500 views | 0 0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend | print
ATLANTA — Fulton County finished sorting through roughly 11,000 provisional ballots Saturday, certifying the results of Tuesday’s election amid criticism from state officials that it handled the vote poorly.

Members of the Board of Registrations and Elections voted unanimously to certify the official outcomes of the races during a weekend meeting in Atlanta. County officials did not immediately release the new vote counts, saying they planned to post the final results online sometime later Saturday.

Officials said new votes accepted from provisional ballots did not affect a closely watched state Senate race that will help decide whether the GOP wins a two-thirds majority in both wings of the General Assembly, allowing Republican lawmakers to overturn vetoes from the governor and propose constitutional amendments without support from Democrats.

One race crucial to that majority was a Senate contest where unofficial returns showed Republican Hunter Hill of Atlanta beating Democratic incumbent Doug Stoner of Smyrna by just over 4,000 votes. Stoner has conceded. Assuming the GOP wins that seat and picks up another in a special election in January, it will hold a two-thirds majority in the Senate.

Republicans ended just one seat shy of a supermajority in the state House of Representatives after Tuesday’s election. But one independent lawmaker, state Rep. E. Culver “Rusty” Kidd of Milledgeville, said last week that he was considering becoming a Republican.

Secretary of State Brian Kemp said this week that his office has started several investigations into the Fulton County vote. His office has received complaints that voters on a statewide list did not appear on Fulton County’s electronic voter registration lists and were forced by local poll workers to cast provisional ballots.

In other cases, Kemp’s office received complaints from residents that polling officials refused to accept their required photo IDs because the address on the identity card did not match the address on their voter registration.

The Fulton voting board went into a closed-door session immediately after certifying the vote. The interim election director, Sharon Mitchell, declined through a spokeswoman to comment.

Board member Mary Long, a Democrat on the panel, said in a brief interview that she did not want to focus on “the negative.” Most board members departed without speaking to reporters assembled in a hallway.

“I’m sure that people know that there will be changes, obviously, when things don’t go the way you want them to go, there will be changes,” she said.

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