Cobb chair to SOS: Take responsibility for elections or resign

Cobb Commission Chairman Mike Boyce is defending local election officials and calling on Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to take responsibility for voting problems across the state during the June 9 primary or resign.

Boyce’s comments went out in his weekly newsletter Friday, where he responded to Raffensperger’s office saying that long lines and issues with voting machines were the fault of individual counties.

Boyce wrote that shifting blame to elections staff was “not warranted.”

“During a recent interview with the media, I said Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger should resign over his handling of Tuesday's primary election,” Boyce wrote. “I have since sent the Secretary of State an email stating if he would own up to his office's responsibility for the problems, and work toward a solution to prevent them from happening again, I would reassess my position.”

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has reached out to the county and requested a copy of that email.

Boyce went on to call election officials “true public servants” who spent “many months” preparing.

“The general election in November will draw even more voters and we can expect similar circumstances,” he said. “As much as I believe the current system is broken, I don’t see it being replaced or repaired in a significant way before November. What I can assure you is that the elections team is taking the necessary measures to ensure that your vote is protected and counted.”

Boyce, a Republican, is seeking reelection and ran in the primary himself. As of Friday, he maintained a healthy lead ahead of two challengers for the party’s nomination, with thousands of ballots still pending.

Meanwhile, Cobb elections staff were preparing to continue counting absentee ballots through the weekend.

A spokesperson said Friday the county had so far processed about 73,000 ballots that were mailed in or dropped off, with as many as 36,000 still pending.

In total, about 109,000 absentee ballots were submitted,a record amount for Cobb.

There were also 1,250 provisional ballots, most of which have already been reported.