The Atlanta Mayoral election is the election that never ends. Former Councilwoman Mary Norwood still has not received the outcome she desires. Although votes in Fulton and DeKalb counties have been certified and recounts completed, Norwood refused to concede. She claims the recount was insufficient as it was only a recanvass of votes.
As previously reported by R. Robin McDonald, Norwood by way of her attorneys issued a letter laying out areas of further investigation as well as the necessity for a more thorough recount of the runoff vote. Norwood only has a short window within which she can legally challenge the election. Among those allegations, Norwood contends that votes from a small South Atlanta area community were invalid.
Loch Lomond was annexed into the City of Atlanta last year around the same time that the City of South Fulton was established. There is an ongoing dispute on whether the annexation of five areas was valid, raising concern about the validity of votes from the Loch Lomond area. Litigation concerning this issue was recently remanded back to the Georgia Court of Appeals.
Ahead of the November 2016 general election, there were 325 registered voters in Loch Lomond. It is unclear how many voters are currently registered in this area and voted in the 2017 Atlanta general election or runoff. From the Fulton County precinct map, the area is a part of precinct 11B went 86% for Bottoms. Considering the year-long battle over whether this area is a part of Atlanta, it is interesting that Team Norwood never made this connection before her loss. They seem to be following a kitchen sink approach, hoping something finally sticks to undo the Bottoms’ win.
Court challenges over this annexation along with other areas in Southwest Fulton County have been going up and down the judicial system over the past year. Collectively members of City Council, several of whom ran of Mayor including Norwood, should have known or had reason to know of the annexation issue.
It will be interesting to see the response from the Fulton County Board of Registration and Elections in regards to verifying boundaries and eligible voters. The Board had no problem purging properly registered voters this summer ahead of the Atlanta general election. Where was this concern for people’s lawful right to vote from Team Norwood then?
Also, Team Norwood has not raised concern about possible inappropriate votes in the DeKalb County portion of recently annexed areas. While that annexation did not raise the same concerns, there could still be issues with mistakes regarding boundaries and people allowed to vote who should not have otherwise. This latest turn in the post-runoff challenge reeks of desperation and is bad optics all around.
As Team Norwood scrambles to find a way to undo the election or at least erode the margin, Mayor-elect Bottoms is moving forward with her transition plan. At some point, one has to say enough is enough and move on.