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Hand count completed, no results available in disputed District 2 County Commission race

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Hand count completed, no results available in disputed District 2 County Commission race

Georgia voter Tanja Mills. Photo by Dean Hesse.

DeKalb County, GA — The DeKalb County Voter Registration and Elections Department on Tuesday morning, May 31, announced the conclusion of hand counting ballots in the DeKalb County Commission District 2 race.

VRE staff finished counting by 12:30 a.m. and no results were available as of about 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday.

The DeKalb County Voter Registration and Elections Department oversaw the second day of hand count in the disputed County Commission District 2 race, which appeared on the May 24 primary ballot. On Election Night, it appeared candidates Marshall Orson and Lauren Alexander were headed toward a runoff on June 21. Michelle Long Spears, who finished third, said that during the primary some precincts were reporting she received zero votes – including her own precinct.

Spears’ objections and subsequent media attention led to calls for an official count of the ballots. It has not been called a “recount” by county officials.

Before testing and counting began on May 28, DeKalb Elections Board Chair Dele Lowman Smith explained that there was a technical glitch that did not completely remove a candidate from the reporting system, so votes were misaligned to the candidates when they were reported.

In the report, it appeared that DeKalb County Commissioner District 2 candidate Michelle Long Spears had received zero votes.

Four candidates initially qualified for the District 2 seat. Marshall Orson, Lauren Alexander and Spears are still in the race.

Don Broussard dropped out of the race for DeKalb Commission District 2. That withdrawal caused a mistake in the programming of the precinct scanner and led to inaccurate vote counts for two candidates.

Initially, the county planned to do a machine count, but decided to begin a hand count on Sunday after experiencing a problem with the testing of those machines. The hand count was suspended Sunday evening and resumed in a larger adjacent warehouse on May 30, Memorial Day.

DeKalb VRE staff began the process of recounting ballots from all 40 precincts in county commission District 2 on Saturday, May 28.

The county tried – and failed – to do a machine count of the election to settle the matter on Saturday, and announced on Sunday, May 29, a plan to do a hand count of the District 2 commission race.

The decision to move a head with a hand count on Sunday indicated a problem arose with the logic and accuracy testing that occurred on Saturday.  DeKalb County attorney Shelley Momo on Saturday implied that something was not right with the logic and accuracy tests, but she nor the VRE staff elaborated on what the issue was.

The DeKalb Elections Board will hold two meetings on May 31: the board’s regular meeting at noon and a special called meeting at 4:30 p.m. to certify the results.

This is a developing story. Check Decaturish.com for updates.

Reporter Zoe Seiler contributed to this story. 

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