Republican member of Fulton elections board won’t certify primary results

Her lawsuit seeks detailed voting data and a ruling that her duties are discretionary
Julie Adams (center) is sworn in as a member of the Fulton County Board of Registration & Elections on Feb. 8, 2024. Clerk of Courts Che' Alexander (left) administers the oath while Mike Heekin, Adams' fellow Republican board member, holds a Bible. Jim Gaines / AJC file

Credit: Jim Gaines

Credit: Jim Gaines

Julie Adams (center) is sworn in as a member of the Fulton County Board of Registration & Elections on Feb. 8, 2024. Clerk of Courts Che' Alexander (left) administers the oath while Mike Heekin, Adams' fellow Republican board member, holds a Bible. Jim Gaines / AJC file

A Republican member of the Fulton County elections board refuses to certify primary election results unless given access to detailed voting data, a move that Democrats worry could jeopardize certification of November’s general election results.

Julie Adams, who joined the Fulton County Board of Registration & Elections in February, sued the board and the county’s elections director after the May 21 primary, claiming she’s prevented from performing her board duties. Adams wants access to “essential election materials and processes” and a ruling that her duties – including certification of election results – are discretionary, not mandatory.

In her May 22 complaint, Adams said she voted against the certification of results in the March 12 presidential preference primary because her requests for data were stymied by the board chair and county elections director. Adams said they continue to refuse to give her access to key information from the more recent primary, and so she is “unable to fulfill her oath of office.”

The legal action does not impact primary results.

The board certified the May 21 election results during a special meeting on Tuesday; Adams abstained. Before the vote, Adams said the county “must correct the way we do our elections.”

“The important decisions are made by the (county) staff and behind closed doors,” Adams said during the meeting. “The board has not and clearly should be monitoring our elections. It’s time to fix the problems in our elections.”

Aaron Johnson, a Democratic member of the board, said he’s sick of the county’s elections department and its staff being dragged through the mud when they do “an exceptional job.”

“The State (Election) Board still has to certify,” Johnson said. “It’s a continual process, it’s not something that ends today. The problem that we have in Fulton County is the continuous misrepresentation of what actually is going on.”

The State Election Board doesn’t certify elections. The Secretary of State’s office certifies elections, and the governor then formalizes the certification.

The county did not comment on Adams’ case, which is assigned to Fulton County Superior Court Chief Judge Ural Glanville.

On Friday, the Democratic Party of Georgia and Democratic National Committee sought to intervene in the case, saying it threatens to impair their interests. Party chair and U.S. Rep. Nikema Williams said presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and his supporters have made it clear that they will try to block certification of November’s election if defeated.

“This is a transparent attempt to set the stage for that fight,” Williams said of Adams’ lawsuit. “The Democratic Party of Georgia will continue to combat Trump’s efforts to undermine our democracy and ensure local elections are certified, which is required by law.”

Trump and 14 codefendants are charged in an alleged scheme to overturn President Joe Biden’s 2020 victory in Georgia.

Adams has been a director for the Tea Party Patriots, which supports Trump’s presidential bid. She is one of two board members nominated by the Fulton County Republican Party. The five-member board includes two nominees from the county’s Democratic Party and a chairperson nominated by the county’s commissioners.

Adams’ attorneys say her lawsuit is meant to ensure that she can perform her legal duties.

“I’m shocked the Democrats are not supporting Ms. Adams,” said Mike Berry of the America First Policy Institute, which is helping Adams with her case. “Ensuring election boards and their members comply with the law seems like it should be a bipartisan issue.”

Adams wants lists of all qualified county electors showing those who signed in at polling locations as well as those who returned absentee ballots, the numbers of votes cast on particular machines and during advance voting, information on provisional and “drop box” ballots, digital images of ballots as they were cast, and all absentee ballot applications and envelopes, among other data.

She said that without the information, she must trust the “bare representations” of the county elections director, who oversees validation of election results. She cited concerns over the county’s past elections, which led to intervention by the State Election Board.

Adams said a ruling in her favor “is consistent with Georgia’s policy of building public trust and confidence in Georgia’s elections.”

She is also challenging the power of the county elections director, claiming it’s not logical for the board to delegate to a director the power to conduct an election “with no oversight or access” by the board and for the director to deny board members access to the election materials and processes under their control.

“The election materials and processes are first, last, and always the (board’s) responsibility,” Adams said in her complaint.

In a March 7 email attached to the lawsuit, the county elections director told Adams that board members are welcome to observe the “reconciliation” of election results before certification. The director said that most of the information Adams sought was not immediately available for review before the certification deadline.

Adams said she was told by the board chair that she would need to formally seek the board’s approval for access to the information. She said she was also warned after voting not to certify the presidential primary results that she could face a misdemeanor charge for refusing to perform her board duties.

Aaron Johnson, member of the Fulton County Board of Registration and Elections, attends a board meeting in Atlanta on Monday, June 27, 2022. The board met to certify the June general primary run-off election. (Arvin Temkar /


icon to expand image