Provisional ballots added to LaVista Hills vote total, increases lead for opponentsLavista Hills supporters sport I'm a Georgia Voter stickers. File Photo: Jonathan Phillips
DeKalb County elections officials have added 19 votes to the total cast in the LaVista Hills referendum.
Investigators are continuing to probe whether there were any irregularities in the Nov. 3 vote that rose to the level of criminal conduct.
Of those 19 additional votes, 11 voted “No” increasing the separation between “Yes” and “No” votes to 139 votes from 136. Total votes cast in the election increased from 13,714 to 13,733.
The votes came from provisional ballots that were cast but not initially counted. Baoky Vu, vice chairman of the Board of Registration and Elections, contacted Decaturish to discuss the elections results. He said the inclusion of provisional ballots in a final election total is not unusual.
“Is it unusual, no? It’s certainly untimely when it comes to everything that’s going on with DeKalb County,” he said. “DeKalb County prides ourselves being low drama when it comes to elections and the goal for us is to have safe, secure elections.”
The county certified the election results after the Georgia Bureau of Investigation visited the DeKalb Voter Registration and Elections Office and confiscated equipment as part of an investigation into the vote. The investigation was ordered by the Georgia Secretary of State’s Office. Under state law, if there’s evidence of tampering that could’ve changed the outcome, the election would be invalidated. County Commissioner Nancy Jester is already calling for a new election.
Leonard Piazza, the second-highest ranking official at DeKalb Voter Registration and Elections Office, has been placed on administrative leave. He alleges it’s because he raised questions about the integrity of the Nov. 3 LaVista Hills referendum. His boss, Maxine Daniels, said he was placed on leave due to an unrelated personnel issue.
Vu said the Elections Board welcomes the Secretary of State’s and GBI’s involvement because it will bring the dispute to a conclusion.
“Frankly, we’re extremely happy that the SOS office and the GBI took it up on themselves to move on this,” he said.