ATLANTA — The recount is over in the close Atlanta mayoral election runoff and the result remains the same, with Keisha Lance Bottoms appearing to be headed for the mayor’s office. Her opponent is still not conceding, however, saying Thursday she is still concerned about potential irregularities in the voting.
Mary Norwood requested Thursday’s recount after initial certified vote totals showed her losing the race to Bottoms by 832 votes, a margin of less than one percent.
The bitterly contested Dec. 5 runoff campaign between the two city council members was marked by political grudges and allegations of corruption, and less than 20 percent of the city’s roughly 500,000 residents turned out to vote.
If Bottoms’ lead holds through any further challenges by Norwood, she will be Atlanta’s sixth consecutive black mayor since Maynard Jackson was elected in 1973. An upset by Norwood would give the city its first white mayor in more than 40 years and its first-ever white, female mayor.
The totals after the recount show Bottoms with 46,661 votes, or 50.44 percent, and Norwood with 45,840 votes, or 49.56 percent. The 821-vote margin that separates them is still less than one percent of the 92,501 total votes cast.
Norwood picked up five votes and Bottoms lost six in Fulton County. The discrepancies came in paper absentee ballots that were submitted by mail and county elections director Richard Barron said it’s not unusual to see slight changes in paper ballot totals when they’re scanned again. Barron said election officials plan to certify the recount results Saturday. Results in DeKalb County remained the same and, therefore, do not need to be certified again.
Norwood complained election officials in Fulton County did not re-count paper ballots by hand as she had requested. She said they instead simply re-counted electronically, and rescanned paper absentee and provisional ballots.
“We conducted the recount as prescribed by law,” Barron said. “That’s what we’re required to do and that’s what we did.”