December 8th, 2009
04:08 PM ET
6 months ago

Tight Atlanta mayoral race headed to a recount

ATLANTA, Georgia (CNN) - The razor thin election for mayor of Atlanta is headed to a recount.

Tuesday city councilwoman Mary Norwood made the official request to the Fulton County, Georgia election department.

The official vote totals from the December 1 runoff place former state senator Kasim Reed ahead of Norwood by 715 votes out of 84,383 votes cast.

The recount is scheduled to be held Wednesday, and take 5 – 6 hours, according to Barry Garner, the director of the Registration and Elections Department for Fulton County, Georgia.

Separately, a complaint has been filed with the Georgia Secretary of State's office which claims people voted in the election from "non-existent addresses."

A group, calling themselves "Citizens for Fair Atlanta Elections" says 1,314 votes were cast in the general election from addresses that no longer exist. They say if "similar patterns" were found in the runoff, and ineligible people voted, it "may have implications to the election results."

Matt Carrothers, spokesman for the Georgia Secretary of State's office, says they are investigating the complaint.

In a press conference, Reed's attorney Robert Highsmith called the allegations "baseless and false" and said "we have found absolutely nothing that could call Mayor-elect Reeds victory into doubt."

Tuesday evening in a press release the Georgia Secretary of State's Office of Inspector General said preliminary findings show only about 40 voters in the runoff had invalid addresses. It says names provided in the complaint were "not a list of voters who actually cast a ballot in the Atlanta mayoral election. Rather, it appears to have been created or pooled from a larger list of registered voters."

Reed claimed victory last week, following the runoff contest, but Norwood, who is trying to become Atlanta's first white mayor in 35 years, refused to concede and asked for a recount.

In last month's election, Norwood captured 46 percent of the vote, 4 points short of the 50 percent needed to secure victory outright. Failing to reach that threshold level, Norwood faced the runoff with Reed, who won 36 percent of the vote on November 3.


Filed under: Georgia
soundoff (6 Responses)
  1. Dutch/BadNewz, VA

    We live in the greatest nation in the world and we have problems having election votes counted. It's time for election reform.

    December 8, 2009 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  2. Randolph Carter, I'm no expert but...

    Many of the 1,314 questionable votes in the general election were from people who are registered as living in public housing. The problem is this housing was demolished a while back. Sounds pretty fishy. Hmmm.... Who would know this fact and use it to cheat in an election? Maybe the candidate backed by the elite which has held power in Atlanta for much too long? Nah, couldn't be. Have a nice day!

    December 8, 2009 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  3. mfelder

    It is the job of the Secretary of State to oversea names and addresses in the system. Knowing that the State of GA and most states are experiencing record number of foreclosures and possible evictions, the secretary should have undergone a thorough review of the state record keeping system and purged names from the system. If Mary Norwood, suspected irregularity, she should have bought those charges during the run up to the recount. What does the Secretary suggest? When the recount is done, will we verify all addresses at that time. Let's recount the votes and move on.

    December 8, 2009 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  4. Casy

    Good for her! I hope she wins!

    December 8, 2009 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  5. mjm

    Where did I see this before?

    Democrats...can you get enough people to cheat the first time so that we don't have to waste money on a re-count?

    December 8, 2009 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  6. victim of democrat hypocrisy

    What's fishy is Norwood originally beat Reed by 10% and now supposedly is losing by 0.8%

    Either a heck of a lot of people changed their vote this time (unlikely), or ACORN is up to its old tricks.

    December 8, 2009 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |