Georgia county officials mistakenly declared winner of council race before all votes counted


Uncounted votes on a memory card has modified an election in Cobb County, Georgia, officials say.

Madelyn Orochena announced her win on social media for the Kennesaw City Council Special Post 1 seat after she said the outcomes were in. 

“Feeling excited and so grateful! It’s a win! See you Monday,” Orochena wrote within the social media post.

Nonetheless, Orochena’s victory was short-lived, after a memory card was discovered Wednesday. The outcomes modified with the projected winner to be Lynette Burnette.

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

The memory card contained 789 uncounted ballots from the county. Burnette defeated Orochena by just 31 votes.

Following the announcement, Orochena released an announcement on social media sharing her disappointment and frustration.  

“That is shameful. … And our faith in our governing bodies continues to fail.” Orochena wrote.

Cobb Election officials said the memory card was present in the Kennesaw area while election employees were preparing for a risk-limiting audit. The outcomes attributed to the cardboard have since been sent to Georgia’s Secretary of State’s office, election leaders said. 

Cobb County election officials said the outcomes listed on the Secretary of State’s election page now reflect the accurate results.

Orochena said in a social media post that she can be filing a grievance with the Secretary of State’s Office.

“Just trying to achieve more information, what’s inside my rights, so we may be confident whoever wins, wins fairly,” Orochena said.

The election results might be re-certified in a special meeting called meeting Friday.

“We immensely regret this error, and following the upcoming runoff election, we are going to launch an investigation and review of procedures to make sure this never happens again,” election leaders said in a press release.

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