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Georgia Official Mistakenly Declared Election Winner Before All Votes Counted

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OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.


A critical election contest in Cobb County, Georgia has been changed after a winner was declared before all of the votes were counted.

On Nov. 8, Madelyn Orochena was informed that she had achieved victory and was elected to a seat on Kennesaw City Council by 16 votes, Fox 4 Atlanta reported.

But a day later she was informed that a memory card from one of the precincts had not been uploaded and that changed the winner.

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“Unfortunately, once found we did upload it, and it changed the outcome of the Kennesaw City Council race,” Cobb County Elections Director Janine Eveler said.

The new victor in the contest is Lynette Burnette who won by 31 votes.

“I was really shocked. I had a lot of questions,” Orochena said.

As you might expect she demanded a full recount of the “181-thousand or so ballots”.

The recount took place from Sunday to Monday evening and on Tuesday the Board was set to certify the correct winner.

“The recount changed the results by a few votes but did not change the winner of the race,” a board spokesperson said.

The board is set to certify the election on Wednesday.

When Orochena believed she was victorious she posted a message on her Instagram that said “Feeling excited and so grateful! It’s a win!!! See you Monday!”

Cobb County election officials said that the memory card was discovered in the Kennesaw area as election workers were preparing for a risk-limiting audit. After discovery, the results were transmitted to the office of Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, election officials said.

They went on to say that the official election results for the race had been posted to the secretary of state’s website.

In a social media post, Orochena said she planned to file a complaint next week with the office of the Secretary of State.

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“Just trying to gain more information, what is within my rights, so we can be confident whoever wins, wins fairly,” Orochena said.

The election results will be recertified during a special meeting called for next week.

“We immensely regret this error, and following the upcoming runoff election, we will launch an investigation and review of procedures to ensure this never happens again,” Cobb County election leaders noted in a press release.

“I have been tracking city elections since 1972. Fifty years. I have never, never seen anything like this,” Councilman Pat Ferris said of the situation, according to the Courier.

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As the Senate contest in Georgia is set for a runoff, one candidate has a slight edge in the polls.

“An AARP poll released Tuesday surveying Georgia voters found that Warnock has a slight edge over Walker, 51% to 47%. Warnock holds a strong 24-point lead among voters 18 to 49 years of age, while Walker is up 9 percentage points among Georgia voters ages 50 and over,” Fox News reported.

“According to the poll, 51% of respondents have a favorable opinion of Warnock. Only 45% have a favorable opinion of Walker, while more of the voters surveyed, 49%, have an unfavorable opinion of the political newcomer. The survey revealed that Georgia voters are more fond of former President Donald Trump than current President Joe Biden. Only 43% of respondents approve of the job Biden is currently doing as president, while Trump received a 48% job approval rating for his time in the White House,” the report added.

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Below are more of the topline findings of the poll via Fox News:

About 16% of voters 50 and older said that “threats to democracy” was the leading issue when deciding their vote for the Senate runoff, tying in first place with 16% who said inflation and rising prices are the most important issues.

Social Security and Medicare were the issues of top concern to 11% of respondents, while the economy and jobs were most important to 10% when deciding on their Senate vote.

Inflation was the leading issue to 26% of Republican voters, whereas 29% of Democratic voters said that “threats to democracy” was the most pressing issue going into the runoff. Among all respondents, 63% said that they are either very or somewhat worried about their financial situation.

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