“In elections, we want to make sure that government works for the people," Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said during a Friday press conference. "And that’s what people are looking for. They’re tired of the issues. That’s what everyone wants. We want a smooth election process.”
Every county was challenged by staff and polling sites pulling out at the last minute due to COVID-19, along withtraining poll workers on new elections equipment selected by the state. But, with a tenth of the state’s population, those problems were magnified in Fulton.
The county had prepared for 1,000 absentee-by-mail ballots before the pandemic — but concerns over spread of the virus caused144,000 people to request mail-in ballots in June.
“In some ways, Fulton County achieve remarkable success. In some ways it did not,” according to the consent order.
The order laid out several of the failures: 12 polling sites didn’t open on time; one precinct each in Hapeville and Fairburn didn’t have correct voting equipment, causing “substantial delay” on Election Day; two Fulton polling sites didn’t have proper equipment for voters with disabilities; and the county didn’t provide the required forms to ensure a proper count of the votes.
To avoid the fine, Fulton must maintain verifiable levels of operational competenceby properly processing absentee ballots; keeping a force of 2,200 properly trained poll workers; providing at least 24 early voting sites; striving to process 100 voters per hour at any site; having a technical support staff member at every site; and creating a post-election audit.
The consent order also requires Fulton to regularly update the Board on its pool of poll workers.
Ben Brasch is the reporter tasked with keeping Fulton County government accountable. The Florida native moved to Atlanta for a job with The AJC. If there's something important to you going on in Fulton, he wants to know about it. Help him better metro Atlanta by dropping a line, anonymously or otherwise.