Politician mistakenly declared winner of Cobb council race before all votes counted, officials say

Uncounted ballots found on a memory card have changed the results of the Kennesaw City Council special election.

Madelyn Orochena was originally declared the winner. But the additional ballots allowed Lynette Burnette to become the new council member by 31 votes.

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Channel 2′s Cobb County Bureau Chief Michele Newell was outside of the board of elections office with what went wrong.

Orochena showed up Thursday to get more answers but was told everyone was busy in meetings. She told Newell that she filed a complaint with the secretary of state’s office.

“These are just some of our campaign signs,” Orochena said.

Orochena was scheduled to be sworn in as Kennesaw City Council’s newest member on Monday. She posted all the details on Facebook.

“I planned to celebrate with family and friends and supporters afterwards. We had no reason to expect otherwise,” Orochena said.

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On Nov. 8, Orochena was leading a tight race against Burnette, according to the Cobb County board of elections office.

“I waited until they were certified to make a post just announcing that we had won,” Orochena said.

But that victory was short-lived.

The Cobb County Board of Elections office called Orochena on Wednesday -- one day after they had already certified election results.

“One of the memory cards at one of the precincts in Kennesaw was improperly downloaded,” Orochena said.

Uncounted ballots were found on a memory card.

“After correcting that issue, the results had changed and that I was now in second place to Lynette Burnette,” Orochena said.

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A statement from the county’s Board of Elections and Registration Office reads:

“In preparation for Thursday’s Risk Limiting Audit, Cobb Elections officials discovered a memory card had not been correctly uploaded. This card was then uploaded and included in the results sent to the Secretary of State’s office. The votes on the card came from the Kennesaw area and did result in a change in the winner of the Kennesaw City Council Special Post 1 election. The Board of Elections and Registration will be asked to recertify the results of the November 8thgeneral and special election during a meeting on Friday.

We immensely regret this error, and following the upcoming runoff election, we will launch an investigation and review of procedures to ensure this never happens again”

“It’s really sad actually that we are in this position,” Orochena said. “I’m just doing all that I can do that’s within my rights to regain some confidence that this was a fair election

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