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

Officials say uncounted votes on a memory card may have changed an election in Cobb County, Georgia.

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

Madeline Orochena is no longer the winner of the special election in Cobb County, Georgia, after a memory card was found on Wednesday.

Madeline Orochena is no longer the winner of the special election in Cobb County, Georgia, after a memory card was found on Wednesday.
(Fox 5)

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

However, Orochena’s victory was short-lived after Wednesday’s memory card was discovered. The results turned up, with the predicted winner being Lynette Burnett.

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

Lynette Burnett is now the winner of the special election to the Kennesaw City Council in Georgia.

Lynette Burnett is now the winner of the special election to the Kennesaw City Council in Georgia.
(Lynette Burnett)

The memory card contained the county’s 789 unnumbered ballots. Burnett defeated Orochena by just 31 votes.

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

“It’s a shame. … And our trust in our governing bodies continues to fail.” Orochena wrote.

Cobb election officials said the memory card was found in the Kennesaw area while election workers were preparing for a risk-limiting audit. Election leaders said the results attributed to the cards have since been forwarded to the Georgia Secretary of State’s office.

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

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Cobb County Elections Director Janine Aveler announced the investigation into the missing ballots during a press conference Thursday.

Cobb County Elections Director Janine Aveler announced the investigation into the missing ballots during a press conference Thursday.
(Fox 5)

Orochena said in a social media post that she would file a complaint with the foreign minister’s office.

Orochena said, “Just trying to get as much information that I have in my possession, so we can be confident that whoever wins, wins fairly.”

The election results will be reconfirmed on Friday at a special meeting called the meeting.

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Election leaders said in a press release, “We are extremely sorry for this error, and after the upcoming runoff election, we will begin an investigation and review of procedures to ensure this does not happen again.”

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