Cobb corrects ballot errors during early voting

Early voters fill out paperwork at Tim D. Lee Senior Center in Marietta on Monday, May 2, 2022. (Natrice Miller /

Credit: Natrice Miller /

Credit: Natrice Miller /

Early voters fill out paperwork at Tim D. Lee Senior Center in Marietta on Monday, May 2, 2022. (Natrice Miller /

Some Cobb County voters received the wrong ballots during the first week of advanced voting, affecting the school board Post 4 race and the Mableton cityhood ballot question.

During the May primary for the Cobb school board election, some voters cast ballots for the Post 4 race when they were supposed to be in the Post 5 district due to a redistricting error. About 1,100 voters were drawn in the wrong district, said Cobb Elections Director Janine Eveler.

“During redistricting, there are always issues like this,” she said. “We caught quite a few of them prior to and during the primary, but for some reason, this one never came to light.”

The issue went undetected until last week after 111 ballots had been already cast in the wrong district during early voting. The department fixed the errors for future voters, but the county has no mechanism to address the ballots already cast. Once the ballot is submitted, it is anonymous.

“There’s nothing that can be done about those,” Eveler said.

Eveler said that while it is unusual to go through a primary election without catching an error like that, “it’s a huge project to redistrict the entire county.”

The Post 4 race between Republican incumbent David Chastain and Democratic challenger Catherine Pozniak has been contentious, particularly after the majority-Republican school board drew two of the Democratic members into the same district. Voting rights groups filed a lawsuit earlier this year alleging the school board map intentionally discriminates against voters of color by consolidating them into a small number of districts. The lawsuit is still pending.

In the proposed city of Mableton, six or seven households on one street did not have the cityhood question on the ballot. Elections officials fixed the problem after being contacted by a voter, Eveler said.

During the May primary, some metro voters in Cobb, Dekalb and Fulton counties received the wrong ballots after being assigned to the wrong areas after redistricting. In Cobb, voter information was not updated in the voting equipment, so the county had to replace it.

After the U.S. Census every ten years, districts at the local, state and federal level are redrawn to account for population changes and provide equal levels of representation. Eveler said mistakes like this are “not uncommon” during redistricting.

“It’s a pretty massive undertaking, and it’s a once-every-ten-year problem,” she added.

Voters are encouraged to review their ballots and ask poll workers if they believe anything may be missing or incorrect. Three weeks of early voting started Oct. 17, and Election Day is Nov. 8.