Nov 3, 2021 - News

Fulton County elections director to resign

Fulton County elections director Richard Barron

Photo: Tami Chappell for AFP via Getty Images

Richard Barron, Fulton County's embattled elections director, will resign from his post at the end of the year.

Driving the news: Barron tendered his resignation Wednesday in a letter to Commission Chair Robb Pitts and Cathy Woolard, chair of the Fulton County Board of Registration & Elections.

  • His last day on the job will be Dec. 31, meaning he'll stick around for the county's management of the Nov. 30 runoff elections.

What he's saying: Barron said it was an honor to serve for more than eight years as director of Department of Registration and Elections.

  • He also said he was proud of the department's efforts to increase access to voting, improve voter education and expand early voting opportunities.
  • "Under the intense scrutiny of the last year, I believe our team has performed with grace and professionalism," he said. "Even in the midst of threats to our personal safety, we have continued to make the interests of Fulton County voters our highest priority."

Context: Barron's announcement comes nearly 18 months after a disastrous June 2020 primary where the nation saw the fallout of staff struggling to operate new voting equipment during the pandemic, among other issues, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Fulton County's election issues became a flashpoint among Republican legislators who, over the summer, began pushing for the state to take over the division, the AJC adds.

  • They even drew the attention of former President Donald Trump, whose lies about the 2020 election led to Fulton election workers facing threats, NPR reported in February.
  • In August, the State Board of Elections appointed a panel to review the county’s elections process, the AJC reports.

Last month, Fulton was back in the news when Barron fired two election workers after they were accused of shredding hundreds of voter registration applications, Axios' Kristal Dixon previously reported.

Details about finding Barron's replacement have not been made public.

Pitts said despite the challenges of the pandemic, Barron “nimbly adjusted and implemented a sweeping absentee ballot drop box program larger than any other county in the state."

  • “Rick stood firm and remained committed to doing his job carrying out the most fundamental aspect of our democracy," he said.

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