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City discovers error  (TX)

MARTI ALEXANDER   Citizens Journal   19 May 2008

The City of Atlanta has discovered an error in the May 10 city council election for the District 1 city council position.

Candidates running for that position were incumbent John Birmingham, Chris Collins and Porter Hunter. Collins was declared the winner.

According to City Manager Mike Ahrens, the mistake was made by Hart InterCivics who programmed the machine for the election, however, did not program it so that only District 1 voters could vote in that particular election.

As it turns out, although only 41 residents of District 1 were signed in to vote, the number of combined votes received by the District 1 candidates was 198. Some 365 voters cast ballots in the city-wide election.

After learning of the error, Ahrens contacted the secretary of state’s office and was told the only way to “remedy” the matter was for one of the candidates who was not elected to file suit and have a district judge overturn the election.

Ahrens addressed all three candidates after discovering the error and explained what had happened.

“Whether they choose to file suit or not is up to them,” he said. The electronic voting machines are leased by the city from the county and Hart InterCivics provides the programming for a fee. Ahrens said the company has admitted fault.

“It’s unfortunate and we Seabolt met with faculty Wednesday afternoon and said he hopes to form a teacher leadership team or have department chairs so that they can work closely together in improving the education process.

“We need to address the problems, but we are not going to linger on them,” he said. “It’s not going to be the focus of everything we do.” Seabolt also said one of his goals is to insure high quality education, engaging students in instruction throughout their class period and to have a strong curriculum every day, In addition, Seabolt said hate that this happened,” he said. “A mistake like this hurts.”

Ahrens assured that the misprogramming of the machines had no effect whatsoever on the Atlanta ISD school board election.

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