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Uncounted Votes on Memory Card Flips Georgia Election for Candidate Nobody Knows

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Madelyn Orochena was certified as the winner of a Cobb County, Georgia, special election. Then, Orochena received a phone call on Nov. 16 with some startling news from Cobb Elections.

A representative told Orochena that officials found a misplaced flash drive with uncounted votes on it.

“Once the correction was made … your race outcome changed and Ms. Burnette came out ahead,” the official told her, according to Orochena’s campaign.

“[They] plan to re-certify the results Friday.”

Indeed, after the discovered ballots were added, a “recertification” of the election took place, declaring Orochena’s opponent for a seat on the Kennesaw City Council, Lynda Burnette, the winner.

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An update issued by the county on Friday revealed that workers found a memory card containing additional ballots.

These results had not yet been tabulated in the final count, the county claims.

According to the Cobb County Courier, there were actually two memory cards found with a total of 789 votes.

“I have been tracking city elections since 1972. Fifty years. I have never, never seen anything like this,” Councilman Pat Ferris said of the situation, according to the Courier.

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After the addition of the memory card ballots, Orochena lost the election by 31 votes, 0.32 percent of the total vote, the Courier reported.

Any Georgia candidate who loses by less than 0.5 percent is entitled to a recount, according to the state’s election law.

On Nov. 16, Orochena announced on her campaign’s Facebook page that she would be asking for a recount.

“I have formally requested a recount. I will be filing a formal complaint to the Secretary of State, and I am reaching out to legal [counsel],” Orochena wrote in a Facebook post.

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According to Orochena, as far as she knows, the newly certified winner, Burnette, didn’t make many public appearances leading up to the election.

“As for Ms. Burnette, I, nor any of the other candidates whom I’ve spoken to, know anything about her. She didn’t attend city council meetings. She listed no contact information in her qualifying papers,” Orochena wrote.

“To my knowledge, she did not respond to any local media … [or]  candidate questionnaires. She did not participate in the Q&A or the local meet and greet with the rest of the candidates. I am unaware of any campaign website or platform.”

In Cobb County’s Friday update, it was revealed that the Cobb’s Board of Elections has agreed to Orochena’s demands for a recount because of the “narrow margin of victory.”

The recount is set to take place on Sunday.

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Michael wrote for a number of entertainment news outlets before joining The Western Journal in 2020 as a staff reporter. He now manages the writing and reporting teams, overseeing the production of commentary, news and original reporting content.
Michael Austin graduated from Iowa State University in 2019. During his time in college, Michael volunteered as a social media influencer for both PragerU and Live Action. After graduation, he went on to work as a freelance journalist for various entertainment news sites before joining The Western Journal in 2020 as a staff reporter.

Since then, Michael has been promoted to the role of Manager of Writing and Reporting. His responsibilities now include managing and directing the production of commentary, news and original reporting content.
Ames, Iowa
Iowa State University
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