Georgia county election officials reverse course after declaring winner then finding more votes

Election officials in an Atlanta-area city were left with egg dripping from their faces when they were forced to reverse results in a city council race after the results had been certified due to a memory card with additional votes being discovered, not exactly something that bolsters voter confidence with the critical Senate runoff between Herschel Walker and Raphael Warnock only weeks away.

Candidate Madelyn Orochena took to social media to announce her big win in the election for Kennesaw City Council Special Post 1, “Feeling excited and so grateful! It’s a win!” she wrote along with posting information about the time and location of the swearing in ceremony. “Let’s get right to it!”

But Orochena’s happiness soon turned to disbelief when she got a call from the Cobb County Board of Elections informing her that her opponent, Lynette Burnette had come out on top after the memory card had been uploaded.

“Unfortunately, once found we did upload it, and it changed the outcome of the Kennesaw City Council race,” said Cobb County Elections Director Janine Eveler, according to Fox 5 Atlanta.

“We immensely regret this error, and following the upcoming runoff election, we will launch an investigation and review of procedures to ensure this never happens again,” the Cobb County Board of Election office said in a statement.

“It’s really sad actually that we are in this position,” Orochena told a local news outlet. “I’m just doing all that I can do that’s within my rights to regain some confidence that this was a fair election.”

(Video: YouTube/WSB-TV)

“This is shameful. … And our faith in our governing bodies continues to fail,” said Orochena who has filed a complaint with the secretary of state’s office.

“Our office has opened an investigation into the matter, to determine exactly what happened, why it happened, and what election officials need to do to prevent future incidents,” said the secretary of state’s office spokesperson Mike Hassinger who confirmed that Orochena’s complaint has been received.

She described what happened in a social media post, also expressing her observations on Burnette, the winner of the seat after the revised totals.

(Image: Screengrab/Facebook)

“As for Ms. Burnette, I, nor any of the other candidates whom I’ve spoken to, know anything about her. She didn’t attend city council meetings. She listed no contact information in her qualifying papers. To my knowledge, she did not respond to any local media for and candidate questionnaires. She did not participate in the Q&A or the local meet and greet with the rest of the candidates. I am unaware of any campaign website or platform.”

“I am humbled to have the opportunity to serve the people of Kennesaw, it may have been an unconventional election; however, I look forward to keeping Kennesaw the best community,” Burnette said in a statement after her win.

“There’s some learning curve in some of the complex things that we do,” Eveler said to county commissioners. “It’s going to be a struggle to get people really trained and to get those processes in place, and we’re going to do it, because I want to be cognizant of the community’s trust in us.”

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Chris Donaldson


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