Up to date at 7:03 p.m. Wednesday
The Fulton County Board of Commissioners has rejected the firing of embattled Elections Director Richard Barron.
The 2020 election cycle was a tumultuous one for Barron and the Fulton County elections division.
The COVID-19 pandemic turned the June primaries into a multitude.
By November, the county had rebounded, slicing down traces and eliminating many technical glitches and wait instances for absentee ballots. However even then, the county needed to take care of an onslaught of unfounded conspiracy theories.
It was all an excessive amount of for 3 members of the county’s Board of Registration and Elections who voted in February to alleviate Barron of his duties. Democrat Vernetta Nuriddin joined the board’s two Republican members in showing to oust Barron.
Nevertheless it was the county legal professional’s opinion that the firing needed to be ratified the Board of Commissioners.
Commissioner Natalie Corridor, who declined to vote on the measure the primary time it got here earlier than the board final month, voted Wednesday to maintain Barron.
“Let the document present that it’s not primarily based on opinion, it’s primarily based on information,” mentioned Corridor. “It’s primarily based on the efficiency evaluations 2019-2020 and 2021 efficiency analysis, the place Mr. Barron acquired excessive efficiency scores.”
Commissioner Khadijah Abdur-Rahman linked the election board’s determination to terminate Barron to the meritless fraud allegations cited some Georgia Republicans as a cause to overtake the way in which elections are run within the state.
“Voter suppression is not going to occur on my watch,” mentioned Abdur-Rahman. “If Richard Barron must be fired, I might be on board, however I’m not going to go alongside to get alongside.”
Abdur-Rahman, Marvin Arrington Jr. and chairman Robb Pitts joined Corridor in voting to reject Barron’s firing the election board.
“They make selections in regards to the elections, nonetheless, about Fulton County workers, they’ll solely make suggestions,” mentioned Arrington. “I’m glad that we’ve got this oversight potential, and I hope that we do every thing we will to keep up it.”
However Commissioner Bob Ellis says the rejection units a harmful precedent of permitting elected officers to resolve whether or not an elections director stays or goes.
“I’m not asking us all to agree with the BRE [Board of Registration and Elections] determination, however as a substitute to acknowledge that the facility of that termination rests with it,” mentioned Ellis.
Commissioners Lee Morris and Liz Hausmann agreed with Ellis and voted to uphold Barron’s firing.
“I remorse terribly that an individual who I like – I truly do like Rick Barron – is put on this place. He doesn’t deserve that,” mentioned Hausmann. “However we must be respecting and affirming the onerous determination that the Board of Registration and Election made.”
The present Fulton County Board of Elections will serve June 30, excluding Mary Carole Cooney who resigned final week as chair. She’ll get replaced former Atlanta Metropolis Council member Alex Wan, who was nominated Fee Chair Robb Pitts and permitted the board Wednesday.
The county’s Republican and Democratic events can identify two members every to the Board of Elections. Their nominations are due the top of Might.