READ | Fulton certifies rocky election results; commissioner contests race
Other counties certainly had trouble with the unprecedented task of implementing a new elections system in the middle of a pandemic, but Fulton was the epicenter of issues. Democrat-led Fulton is an easy foil for the Republican-run state, given the county's history of election mess-ups. Fulton is likely to have problems, considering it is home to a tenth of the state's population.
Jain said he thinks the group has given Fulton’s elections department head Richard Barron a good game plan, but is worried about implementation because it also takes buy-in from the county.
When asked about Barron, Pitts said: “He will have everything he needs at his disposal, so now it will be the execution.”
Barron told officials he is working with the county manager to improve conditions for the August run-off, which has early voting starting July 20. But high-profile November presidential election will be the true test. Barron said he expects 300,000 to 400,000 mail-in ballots for that election. That means basically running an entirely new operation while also managing in-person voting.
He said the county will likely use an outside firm to mail ballots in November.
As for problems at the polls, Barron said technicians will meet with poll workers at 3 a.m. on Election Day to get everything set up and turned on. A technician will also stay at the site all day,which didn’t happen in June. Barron said a “silver lining” of debacle has been civic groups offering help.
READ | Changes to Georgia elections proposed to avoid repeat in November
Between 400 and 500 poll workers dropped out or didn't show up in June, mostly for fear of the coronavirus. Officials at all levels now agree they need more tech-savvy poll staff, especially younger people, to run precincts. Barron said the county will try to entice precincts that backed out due to the coronavirus by offering to pay for decontamination.
“I’m not hearing that anything’s really different,” said Commissioner Bob Ellis after Barron presented the plan.
Commissioner Joe Carn laid out the stakes, noting unsuccessful attempts by state legislators to reconstitute the elections board and take some power away from the county.
“The mistakes we make here can eliminate this department,” Carn said.
Elections board member Aaron Johnson said there were already some mistakes repeating, such as people applying to become poll workers for August but not hearing back. Barron said all the interest is creating a delay.
Pitts said he hopes all problems can be worked out ahead of November.
“We cannot afford another screw-up,” he said.
The Fulton County Elections Board approved State Farm Arena as a new voting location Monday. Channel 2?s Sophia Choi was there when the announcement was made.