The elections board in Fulton County, Georgia, voted to fire the county’s election manager in a bipartisan vote Tuesday following the 2020 election cycle.
The county’s board of registration and elections voted 3-2 to remove election director Rick Barron after he oversaw a series of missteps and controversies during the 2020 election. The board voted against the wishes of many on Barron’s staff, who wrote a letter to the board defending Barron prior to the vote.
“The person who is responsible for our success, the County’s success amid all of this, is current Director Richard Barron who has shown his ability to guide, motivate, steer and maintain the course of integrity, honesty, and fairness,” the staff wrote, according to WABE.
Barron has not yet been removed from his position. According to attorneys for the election board, the county board of commissioners must approve the election board’s decision to fire Barron before it is official. When the board of commissioners will consider whether to follow through on firing Barron is unknown.
Fulton County was the center of several nationally scrutinized errors and unfortunate events during the election, leading to allegations of election manipulation. The county has historically had trouble running smooth elections, prompting the state and county to agree that in 2020, Fulton County’s ballot canvassing on election day would be independently monitored by a state-appointed supervisor.
Fulton County earned a reproach from Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger in early December as his office prepared to release the results of a second state-wide recount of ballots.
“The real issue is a Fulton County employee made several compounding errors,” Raffensperger said at the time. “Instead of following the procedures that my office and the vendor laid out, Fulton County once again cut corners.”
“Us and our office, and I think the rest of the state, is getting a little tired of always having to wait on Fulton County and always having to put up with their dysfunction,” he added.
At the time, Fulton County Board of Commissioners Chair Rob Pitts defended Fulton County’s performance throughout the election. It is unclear if Pitts sentiments concerning the election remain the same, or if he will back the election board’s decision to fire Barron. At the time, Pitts allowed that Fulton County had some problems in carrying out its election duties.
“I can tell you that beyond a shadow of a doubt there’s been no instance of any unusual activity within Fulton County,” Pitts added, denying allegations of voter fraud. “Has there been a situation from time to time where there’s an issue with technology? Yes. Has there been a situation from time to time where there may be human error? But as far as an orchestrated effort to manipulate votes in Fulton County, that’s not the case. I have challenged anyone who has made those allegations to come forward.”