Madelyn Orochena was declared the winner of a special election in Cobb County, Georgia. Then, on November 16, Orochena received a phone call from Cobb Elections with some shocking news.
A representative informed Orochena that officials discovered a lost flash drive containing uncounted votes.
“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, once the newly found votes were included, the election was “recertified” and Orochena’s opponent for a seat on the Kennesaw City Council, Lynda Burnette, was declared the winner.
A county report released on Friday disclosed that employees discovered a flash card holding more votes.
The county maintains that these results had not yet been tallied in the final tally.
According to the Cobb County Courier, two memory cards with a total of 789 votes were discovered.
“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.
The Courier stated that with the inclusion of memory card ballots, Orochena lost the race by 31 votes, or 0.32 percent of the overall vote.
According to Georgia election law, every candidate who loses by less than 0.5 percent is entitled to a recount.
Orochena indicated on her campaign’s Facebook page on November 16 that she would be requesting 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.
As far as Orochena is aware, Burnette, the recently recognized winner, did not make many public appearances before 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.”
Due to the “narrow margin of victory,” the Cobb County Board of Elections has agreed to Orochena’s request for a recount, according to a Friday update.
The recount is scheduled to occur on Sunday.