Wednesday afternoon, the DeKalb Voter Registration and Elections Board announced the preliminary results for the Commission District 2 race.
Michelle Long Spears has 6,651 votes (43% of the vote). Lauren Alexander has 4,737 votes (30% of the vote). Marshall Orson had 3,928 votes (25% of the vote) and Donald Broussard had 133 votes before he dropped out of the race. As it stands, Spears and Alexander will head to a June 21st runoff to decide the winner of this county seat.
However, the results are not certified and official.
“The goal of the hand count was to obtain accurate results of the County Commission District 2 race and I am confident we have achieved that objective thanks largely in part to the diligence of our staff who worked extended hours across the holiday weekend, DeKalb VRE Executive Director Keisha Smith said. We are committed to getting these tabulations right, but wanted to ensure that preliminary and unofficial results were posted as soon as practicable.
Brookhaven, Chamblee, Decatur, Tucker and portions of East Atlanta make up the district.
The DeKalb County Voter Registration and Election office did not certify their election results ahead of Tuesday’s 5:00 PM deadline. Workers are currently hand-counting votes in the DeKalb County Commission 2 race due to a programming error that caused an entire precinct to not have their votes counted.
Smith explained that there was a technical glitch that did not completely remove a candidate, Don Broussard, from the system, so votes were incorrectly assigned to the candidates when they were reported.
Secondly, a Republican Party question did not properly appear during early voting, which would have forced election workers to test the machines for accuracy.
During a Tuesday afternoon call among board members, concerned citizens and campaign staffers voiced their opinions regarding the slow count.
One week after Georgia’s Primary Election Day, there were no public results for the race. Ramifications mean DeKalb County could be late in submitting election results, which could be reprimanded with a fine from the Georgia State Board of Elections.
DeKalb Voter Registration and Election Office staffers quickly pointed out the lively discussions about ensuring that everyone’s vote counts. Secondly, the fact that the poll workers are employed on a volunteer basis.
The DeKalb Republican Party Chairwoman, Marci McCarthy, applauded the Board’s ability to present the information in a forthright manner.
“I do agree that we have to ensure fitness, faith, integrity and trust in our elections introduced so we have to get all the clarity and the answers or answers to our questions,” McCarthy said. “Because quite frankly, you’ve seen this team working together in a bipartisan manner. There’s a lot of unanswered questions and we absolutely have to ensure that this does not happen in November. But more importantly we’ve got to make sure that the candidates that are supposed to be in a runoff are in correctly in a runoff.”
According to a source, Orson will ask for a recount. During Tuesday’s call, Orson warned of a series of cascading problems that need solutions and effective communication. Moreover, The DeKalb Democratic Party is currently consulting with the Democratic Party of Georgia on whether to ask for a recount themselves, according to a source.
“The more information we provide to the public, the better the public will feel about the ultimate outcome, Orson said during Tuesday’s call.
Michelle Long Spears, Democratic Candidate in the District 2 DeKalb County Commissioners race, said her team has been fighting for election integrity not just for this race, but for statewide races in November. Spears said she collected over a dozen photos of precincts where she had zero votes after May 24th’s primary election.
“I hope that the county gets to the bottom of this issue very soon for sure that this does not happen to another candidate, and another race ever again,” Spears said. “So we can all feel confident and trust our voting system and to give candidates enough time to prepare for a runoff coming up quickly three weeks from today on June 21st.”
The board members admitted they can do a better job of communicating with the public and will strive to do that, understanding the potentially harmful precedent they could set.
The Secretary of State is scheduled to certify primary election results by June 10.