Despite hiccups, elections director ready for November

by: Mike Petchenik Updated:

As Fulton County voters continue to cast ballots for the upcoming election, the county’s interim election director tells Channel 2 Action News her workers are prepared, despite a few reported hiccups along the way.

NORTH FULTON COUNTY, Ga. - As Fulton County voters continue to cast ballots for the upcoming election, the county’s interim election director tells Channel 2 Action News her workers are prepared, despite a few reported hiccups along the way.

“We believe we’ve taken corrective action, have taken a number of steps in terms of verification of data that we’ve received from voter’s information and have cleaned up our data file,” Sharon Mitchell told Channel 2’s Mike Petchenik.

Mitchell said she’s mandated extra training for poll managers since the July primary election, in which hundreds of voters were mistakenly given ballots for the wrong house and senate races because of a redistricting error. 

Mitchell said her office is working with the county to ensure voter addresses are in the correct districts.

“That team has a robust engine that allows us to check every voter record as it relates to the address and as it relates to the street number,” she said.

Mitchell said her office is predicting a 70 percent turnout next Tuesday.  She said early voting has been busy with more than 84,000 people taking advantage of the opportunity.

Petchenik talked to one voter who expressed concern about the system in place.  Adriane McClain said she cast a ballot last week at the North Fulton Services Center in Sandy Springs, but was told records showed she had already voted the day before.

"This is a critical election year, and something’s wrong within your system,” McClain told Petchenik.  “I don’t feel confident as a U.S. citizen voting that my vote is going to count.”

Mitchell said the error was an isolated one that likely occurred when a poll worker put McClain’s name into the computer system.

“As the person pulled the record, there could have been a person with a similar name,” she told Petchenik.  “(It) could have been off by a letter, or an initial.  Instead of going back and canceling it because they had the wrong record, they didn’t do that (in a) timely (fashion).”

Mitchell said the system’s auditing software caught the error and allowed McClain to cast her ballot.

“It’s a testament to our auditing process to help us see what’s going on, allows us to view the process,” she said.

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