Politics

Recount Doesn’t Change Outcome Of Atlanta Mayoral Race

A recount Thursday of Atlanta's mayoral race didn't change the results of the election.
A recount Thursday of Atlanta's mayoral race didn't change the results of the election.
Credit Martha Dalton / WABE

A recount Thursday in the Atlanta mayoral runoff ended with the same result: Democrat Keisha Lance Bottoms won.

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Independent candidate Mary Norwood asked for a recount of votes cast on machines, and she requested a hand recount of paper ballots, like absentee forms.

Fulton and DeKalb counties complied with the first request but didn’t recount paper ballots by hand.

“We aren’t prescribed by law to do that,” Fulton County Elections Director Rick Barron said.

Mary Norwood, left, has until Monday to decide whether to contest the results of Thursday’s recount in the Atlanta mayoral runoff. The recount in Fulton and DeKalb counties showed Keisha Lance Bottoms earned 832 more votes than Norwood. (David Goldman/Associated Press)

The law doesn’t prevent counties from hand-counting ballots, but both Fulton and DeKalb denied that part of Norwood’s request.

“We are only going to do what the law says,” Barron said.

DeKalb officials said they followed Fulton’s lead, since Fulton had the majority of votes in the race.

“Our attorneys advised us that it was best to reach out to Fulton,” said DeKalb Elections Director Erica Hamilton. “We reached out to Fulton and saw how they were going to handle it. We handled it in that same manner.”

Norwood has until Monday to decide whether to contest the results of Thursday’s recount.

In Fulton County, Norwood gained five votes. Bottoms lost six. Still, Bottoms had 2,219 more votes than Norwood. DeKalb County officials said their recount showed the same result as the Dec. 5 election: Norwood earned 1,387 more votes than Bottoms. According to those counts, Bottoms earned 832 votes more than Norwood.

In a letter to county elections officials, Norwood said she heard of cases where voters who don’t live in the city of Atlanta were allowed to vote in the mayoral election.

Norwood’s campaign says she has filed an open records request with the city of Atlanta to make sure everyone who voted in the mayor’s race is a city resident.