Georgia officials call for Spalding election director to resign

Georgia officials have called for the resignation of Spalding County’s election supervisor after Election Day problems in the county.

In a press release Tuesday, Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger cited “serious management issues and poor decision-making” by Election Supervisor Marcia Ridley during the Nov. 3 election. Raffensperger and three state lawmakers called for Ridley’s resignation or termination.

“Georgians statewide waited on average just three minutes on Election Day, but poor decision making in Spalding County denied those voters a quick and reliable voting experience,” Raffensperger said. “The serious management issues we saw in Spalding County on Election Day demonstrate that new leadership is needed to uphold election integrity there.”

Ridley could not immediately be reached for comment.

It’s the second time in recent weeks that Raffensperger’s office has called for the resignation of a local election official. Shortly after the election, Floyd County fired its election director after the secretary of state’s office made similar comments.

Raffensperger said Spalding had difficulty getting its voting system up and running on Election Day. He said the county did not follow proper procedures, which would have allowed voters to cast emergency ballots, which are scanned immediately like other ballots cast in person on Election Day.

Instead, Raffenperger said Ridley “instructed elections workers to use provisional ballots, which are processed differently than regular ballots. This violated established election process and possibly, Georgia law.”

The secretary said Ridley also had claimed that an update to the voting system the night before the election had caused the problems, though no update had taken place.

“By spreading this baseless and thoroughly inaccurate rumor, Ridley greatly harmed election integrity in Georgia and provided talking points for those looking to undermine elections in the Peach State,” Raffensperger said.

The press release said three state lawmakers from Spalding County also called for Ridley’s resignation: Sen. Marty Harbin, R-Tyrone; Rep. David Knight, R-Griffin; and Rep. Karen Mathiak, R-Griffin.