Fulton County elections board gets new chair, proposals for improvement

The Fulton County Board of Registration & Elections installed a new chairman Thursday and received recommendations for how to improve elections in Georgia’s most populated county.

Alex Wan — the first Asian American politician to win a seat on the Atlanta City Council — was sworn in by Fulton County Superior Court Clerk Tina Robinson via video conference. The seat was open after former Chairwoman Mary Carole Cooney resigned due to a prolonged illness.

Wan said it was an honor to join the board and knows his fellow members have the same goal of fair, accurate and efficient elections. He also nodded to the board’s recent tumult.

“I recognize that these have been challenging times for the board and the department,” Wan said.

The last time the board met, not only was there another chair, but they voted 3-2 to fire Fulton elections director Richard Barron. That came days after the board made a closed-door vote to fire Barron in an apparent violation of Georgia’s open meetings law. Barron’s job was saved by the Fulton County Commission on March 3.

After creating a plan with county department leaders, Barron on Thursday presented board members — the majority of whom don’t want him there — with six recommendations. They ranged from creating an inventory system to acquiring a central warehouse and operations space.

The board members who voted to fire Barron said after his presentation they wanted to be looped in on future planning.

Wan asked everyone for their continued patience as he transitioned into the role.

“I’m a hard worker and a quick study,” he said.