New elections director says county is ready for November

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ATLANTA - Tuesday is the final day for Georgians to register to vote in the upcoming November elections.

The Coalition for the People's Agenda said it registered hundreds of new voters Monday alone.

Critics now fear all the recent turmoil in the Fulton County Elections Office will mean the county won't be ready for an influx of new voters.

New Interim Elections Director Sharon Mitchell has been on the job for less than a month as the county's election director, but she insists her team will pull off a clean and successful November election.

"We in Fulton County will get this job done and we will get the job done right," Mitchell said.

Given the county's recent history, that is a bold prediction.

Channel 2's Tony Thomas asked Mitchell if she could assure voters the election system will be different this time.

"It will be different. Four years ago there was some challenges and we in the election business like to refer to those as 'lessons learned,'" she replied.

Mitchell just took over county elections after past director Sam Westmoreland resigned amid legal troubles and marred elections.

Four years ago, long lines at the polls and days of ballot counting created an uproar.

Then in July, there were more major problems. State certification deadlines were missed and there were odd results like a 3,300 percent voter turnout in one precinct.

State officials are investigating.

"We will be ready if they're not ready," said Coalition for the Peoples Agenda's Helen Butler.
The coalition is watching Fulton County closely and is already noting concerns.

"I've had allot of people today talk about they are not in and they registered a month ago," Butler said.

Mitchell said her department is doing well on turning around absentee ballots.

She said as of Monday, her department had received 15,533 forms for absentee voting and 13,384 had been processed and mailed to the voter.

She said those numbers are about half of the 2008 totals with 28 days to go before Election Day.

"We are a department that will get the job done," Mitchell said.

Mitchell said more machines and more workers will be added on Election Day to speed the process.