Fulton County Registrar and Election Officer Rick barron tendered his resignation, effective Dec. 31, Fulton County Commissioners Council Chairman Robb Pitts said at a press conference.
The announcement came a day after the municipal elections which saw short lines and few problems.
But the county, a Democratic stronghold that includes most of the city of Atlanta, has a history of electoral problems and has long been the target of Republicans, who have complained of neglect and mismanagement.
It became a favorite target of Donald Trump, who blamed unproven fraud allegations in the county for its narrow loss to Georgia last year.
Barron said in his resignation letter: âUnder the scrutiny of the past year, I believe our team has operated with grace and professionalism. Even amid threats to our personal safety, we continued to make the interests of Fulton County voters our top priority. “
Pitts and Fulton County Registration and Election Board Chair Cathy Woolard praised Barron as he announced his departure.
âSir. Barron was not forced to resign,â Pitts said. âI want this to be crystal clear. It was voluntary.â
Pitts said he and Woolard had breakfast with Barron a few days ago and talked about it with “mutual consent and agreement.” Barron’s continued presence would be “a distraction,” not because of any wrongdoing on his part, but because of “naysayers” who continue to criticize the county no matter what, Pitts said.
âThat kind of pressure, that kind of scrutiny for so long would be on anyone,â Pitts said. âYou have the former president and his underlings, the secretary of state and his underlings, blowing you up on a daily basis. “
In addition to a torrent of insults from Trump, Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger has repeatedly called for a change in leadership for the Fulton County election.
After a troubled primary election in June 2020, when some voters in Fulton County never received requested mail-in ballots and others lined up for hours to vote, an independent observer was appointed under an agreement with the State Election Board. Observer Carter Jones observed the county’s election operations from October 2020 to January.
He said he saw “botched processes” and “systemic disorganization” but witnessed “no illegality, fraud or intentional embezzlement”.
Amid a flood of criticism, the county electoral council voted in February to fire Barron, but its decision was rejected by the council of commissioners.