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Election Board Certifies HD 58 Results

Democrat incumbent Simone Bell to face Republican Earl Cooper in November.

The Fulton County Board of Registration and Elections officially certified the results of the July 31 primary on Monday including House Districts 58/59 and Senate Districts 6/56.

House District 58 stretches from Virginia-Highland to Fort McPherson and includes Reynoldstown, Old Fourth Ward and Inman Park.

Following the election, Democrat incumbent was declared the unofficial winner with 55.69 percent of the votes cast vs. fellow State Rep. Ralph Long's 44.31 percent. She will now face Republican Earl Cooper in November.

District realignments caused a voting problem on Election Day for voters in Reynoldstown, which is now split between District 58 and District 59. Some Reynoldstown voters weren't given the right ballots or were told they had to vote using ballots that were based on the old district borders. The issue ultimately affected a total of 345 voters on 10 streets in District 58 and District 59, which is represented by Margaret Kaiser.

The board said it is investigating the voting irregularities to learn the source of the problem and ensure it is corrected. In a statement:

In this instance, the Board of Elections staff has gone beyond what is legally required to certify the tabulation of the results of these elections so to reassure all candidates and voters that no election outcome was adversely affected by the misassignment of voters. The Board directed its legal counsel to determine if there was any possibility that the misassignment of voters in the affected districts could have affected the outcome of any election. The answer was no. Using the most extreme assumptions, i.e., that every misallocated voter voted, and that they all voted for the second place candidate in both of the effected contested primary elections, the winning candidate would have still won with a majority of the vote.

"The simple act of carelessness might have disenfranchised and discounted the votes of over 300 of my friends and neighbors," Jeffrey Landers, president of the Reynoldstown Civic Improvement League wrote in an e-mail to East Atlanta Patch.

"I am shocked that this was not addressed before last Tuesday as Fulton County had the advantage of at least 4 weeks to correct this issue. This was a case of dereliction of duty for those in the registrars office. Simple as that. Shame on them!"

Indeed, Kaiser told Patch said she notified elections officials seven weeks ago that there were potential problems regarding the ballots when some of her constituents called her to express concern that they either hadn't received the proper voting cards or received no cards at all.

The race for Fulton County Sheriff is a different story as incumbent Ted Jackson and challenger Richard Lankford are awaiting a Wednesday recount to see if they’ll face one another in an Aug. 21 runoff.

Lankford has requested the recount after the most recent figures show Jackson, who by law only needed to best 50 percent of the vote to avoid a runoff, with 50.5 percent of the vote.

By law Lankford is entitled to the recount.

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