Fulton election director apologizes to commission

Updated:

Loading

ATLANTA - Fulton County’s elections director publicly apologized on Wednesday as voters lined up to share their outrage over a primary plagued with problems.

Channel 2 political reporter Lori Geary first reported more than 700 Fulton County voters were assigned to the wrong district and not able to cast ballots for the candidates of their choice on July 31. Geary also reported improbably turnout percentages, including one precinct at 3,300 percent.

The Fulton County Commission does not oversee the elections division but voters did not care as they voiced their opinions.

“It’s happening on your watch. None of you have stood up to speak out. It is a shame,” one voter said.

Another voter called for the commission to fire Elections Director Sam Westmoreland.

Westmoreland nervously took the podium and vowed to have all problems fixed by the November election.

“I want to apologize to this board. I want to apologize to the Board of Registration and Elections and the voters of this county,” Westmoreland said.

Commissioners peppered Westmoreland with questions after his statement.

“You did not protect us. Saying 'I’m sorry' does not make me feel any better,” said Commissioner Bill Edwards.

"I’m not following some of your answers. I don't understand how your school board lines affected senate races.  Can you tell me how that is connected?," Commissioner Liz Hausmann said.

“That would not be connected," Westmoreland responded.

"It's completely unacceptable. There are roughly 700 voters in question. That's 700 voters too many," Commission Chairman John Eaves said.

Geary asked Hausmann if she had confidence in Westmoreland after the election.

"I would like to see a plan that would ensure that we can have confidence," Hausmann said.

Westmoreland told commissioners he plans to hire an outside consultant but did not disclose the cost. 

"Now you want to get a consultant? Now you want the taxpayers to pay more money," Edwards said.

The harshest criticism came from Commissioner Tom Lowe, who questioned Westmoreland about the precinct with 3,300 percent turnout.

"That's an impossibility without fraud.  I'm telling you some dirty stuff went on," Lowe said.

"I want you to know the truth of what happened.  If there is truly any fraud involved in this election I will pursue it to its final degree, which would include prosecution," Westmoreland said.