Fulton election board votes to fire its election director but unclear if it has authority to do so

After a year of national attention and controversy surrounding elections, the Fulton County election director was fired on Tuesday. Or maybe not.

The Fulton County Registration and Elections Board voted 3-2 to fire election director Richard Barron during a public session meeting Tuesday.

Barron has led Fulton’s elections since 2013 and the board originally voted to fire him during a closed-door meeting last week. It was later decided the vote was not binding because it didn’t happen in a public setting.

Fulton County Chairman Robb Pitts told Channel 2 investigator reporter Justin Gray that it’s unclear if the election board has the power to fire Barron. without the approval of the county commission.

“Actually it’s sort of the beginning rather than the end. I guess I’m sort of classifying or characterizing it as uncharted territory,” Pitts said.

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Fulton County received national attention during the 2020 election from the long lines to vote in June to former President Donald Trump’s unfounded fraud allegations in November.

Fulton County faced criticism for how it handled absentee ballots and for problems with hours long waits in the primary.

But the county also earned praise for turning State Farm Arena and later Mercedes-Benz Stadium into massive early voting sites.

Election department employees sent a letter in support of Barron.

In a statement released Tuesday, Fulton County commissioner Khadijah Abdur-Rahman said she “wholeheartedly disagrees” with the election board’s recommendation.

“If the recommendation reaches the Board of Commissioners (BOC), I will not vote to uphold their request that BOC terminate Mr. Barron. It appears Republicans are not happy that so many Fulton County residents legally voted in November and January—electing Democrats,” she said.

The Fulton County Commission is expected to take the matter up themselves and vote on whether they accept or reject the firing at a meeting Wednesday morning.

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