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Election day in Atlanta | Few issues reported in Fulton County

Fulton County Elections Director Richard Barron at a mid-day press conference only reported a handful of minor issues that didn't stop voters from casting ballots.

ATLANTA — Usually, an election with short lines and no major technical issues wouldn't lead to a news story.

When it happens in Fulton County though, as it is the focus of a state review panel, it becomes noteworthy.

In August, the Georgia State Election Board appointed a three-person review panel to investigate Fulton County Elections. The review could lead to no action by the state or could lead to the state taking over Fulton County's Registration and Elections Board. 

"The performance review panel is actually here today. I've met with two of them today and they will be monitoring today," Fulton County Elections Director Richard Barron said Tuesday afternoon. 

The review panel is made up of three members appointed by the state. Those members are Rickey Kittle, a Republican and chair of the Catoosa County Elections Board, Stephen Day, a member of the Gwinnett County Elections Board and a Democrat, and Ryan Germany who is general counsel for Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger.

Barron gave an update on the election around 2 p.m. and described a nearly hiccup-free election day with short wait times around the county. 

He described two polling locations where poll pads weren't delivered by 7 a.m. when the polls opened, but voters were able to use paper ballots until the pads arrived.

"Equipment that the poll technicians had, they didn't deliver those pieces of equipment on time, which were the poll pads," Barron said. "We will have to find out why they didn't make those deliveries."

Another polling location had a ballot scanner issue, but an emergency dropbox was used at the polling location to secure ballots until they could be scanned later in the day. 

That was the extent of polling location issues when Barron gave his update.

Barron said coming into election day he told Fulton's election workers to focus on the election in front of them, instead of past elections and the state review panel.

"I've told staff to focus on us and not to worry about all these external things that happen," Barron said. "Because we can get distracted with all the externalities that we've dealt with since June of 2020. We just have to do what we do."

Barron said one item making him a bit anxious though is a new requirement under Georgia's new election law for counties to report the number of ballots cast by 10 p.m. on election day.

"The greatest challenge will be if we have any lines in the Atlanta precincts when they close at 8 p.m.," Barron said. "About half of our precincts are in Atlanta so this could be a significant impact. Only Fulton and DeKalb counties have this issue."

Around the metro, polling locations close at 7 p.m., except in the city of Atlanta where polls are open until 8 p.m. Long lines in Atlanta could lead to Fulton County cutting it close to meet the 10 p.m. deadline. 

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