ATLANTA-- In Fulton County, November's election will pose a special challenge. The county, by its own admission, botched the last two presidential elections and wants to avoid a three-peat.
In 2015, Fulton County paid a $180,000 fine and admitted to 30 violations of state law while mismanaging the previous two presidential elections. The man running Fulton County’s election this year predicts 2016 will be different.
Election Day 2012 was chaotic in Fulton County. A state investigation showed 9600 registered voters had to cast provisional ballots because the county couldn’t find their names in the database.
"We’ve moved on since then and we’ve made a lot of improvements," said Richard Barron who, for the last three years, has run Fulton County’s elections office.
Mindful of its failures, Barron says he wants half the votes already cast by election day. To encourage it, Fulton County will open 24 early voting locations for 19 days. It’ll also open another dozen “outreach locations” at colleges and senior centers. Each of them will have two days of early voting.
"We’re probably going to have 450,00 - 500,000 voters go out in this election. I’m hoping to have more than half of that vote early. If we do that, I think we’re going to be successful," Barron said Tuesday.
But the county will still have to process new voters – including tens of thousands of paper registrations of new voters expected over the next month. Monday, Barron's office got notification that voter registration drives had requested 88,000 paper applications. Such late applications backed up in Fulton's database in 2012.
Voter registration will continue through October 11, Barron said.
"If we were to get those applications in, we would be able to handle that," he said, citing temporary staff who have been inputing paper and online applications all year.
I’m confident that we’re going to have a good election," he said.