Norwood Nominated to Fulton County Elections Board


(APN) ATLANTA — Former Atlanta City Councilwoman Mary Norwood (Post 2-at-large), who narrowly lost the 2009 Mayoral race to Kasim Reed, has been nominated by the Fulton County Republican Party to serve on the Fulton County Board of Registration and Elections.

In a letter to Mark Massey, Clerk for the Board of Commissioners of Fulton County, dated today, Friday, January 18, 2013, the Republican Party nominated Norwood to serve for the remainder of the term of William F. Riley, through June 30, 2013.

“I’d been interested in elections for a long time.  I’ve been involved in elections, some I’ve won and some I’ve lost.  I’m delighted the Republican Party decided to nominate me to be a Member to the Board,” Norwood told Atlanta Progressive News.

“I’m being appointed as an Independent.  I’m not registered as either party… In our country, and our democracy, the premium place you don’t have partisan politics is our elections,” Norwood said.

“I contacted the Republican Party and they contacted me back, we started discussions.  My nomination has to be approved and ratified by the Board of Commissioners,” Norwood said.

“As you know the Secretary of State is conducting a hearing with the Board of Elections on Friday the 31st of January.  We’ve all seen the reports of issues that have plagued the elections department,” Norwood said.

“I’m very interested in using my energy and doing the hard work to ensure that in upcoming elections, we don’t have a gap in procedures and processes that have caused consternation from long lines to provisional ballots,” Norwood said.

“With the resignation of our County Party stalwart and former judge, William Riley, from the Board of Elections and the ongoing investigation by the Secretary of State’s office, we had to act quickly to find someone with the high caliber of intellect and ability to effect change,” Roger Bonds, Chairman of the Fulton GOP, said in a statement.  

“Mary Norwood is just that kind of person.  Her background as a small business owner, community activist, and former elected official gives her the political savvy and professionalism that makes her the ideal person to continue the clean-up work Riley started,” Bonds said.

“We selected Mary because she is an independent thinker and independent voter.  We believe that voter integrity isn’t a Left or Right, Republican or Democrat issue.  All citizens of Fulton County have the right to insist on ballot integrity,” Bonds said.

In 2010, Norwood sought to gain ballot access to run as an Independent candidate for Chairperson of the Fulton County Commission.  Norwood engaged in an ambitious petition drive, collecting some thirty thousand signatures, but failed to get ballot access because she filed her filing fee four hours too late.

When that happened, Norwood sued the Board of Registration and Elections, challenging their ruling; however, the court ruled against her.

But Norwood does not see that lawsuit as an obstacle to her working with other Board Members.

“When I ran as an Independent in Fulton County in 2010, there was a difference of opinion as to whether or not the Board had discretion to put me on the ballot,” Norwood said.

“There was back and forth about that – there was no long, protracted lawsuit,” Norwood said.

“There’s only one Member of the Board who was involved in that decision in 2010.  It’s gonna be a very different Board.  And he and I have always been very cordial and friendly,” Norwood said.

In a recent interview with 11Alive television news, Norwood said she had not ruled out challenging Kasim Reed for Mayor in 2013.

When asked by APN whether serving on the Board would prohibit her from seeking office in this year’s Municipal Elections, Norwood replied, “I haven’t investigated that.”

“I will say that I’m looking forward to spending all of my time doing the hard work to ensure our electoral process works.  I am not looking forward to doing anything else this year but working for our electoral process,” Norwood said.

“I had a full life before I spent twenty years at City Hall.  I went back to that life.  I did not have a public role.  And my belief was, let the elected people who do run the government,” Norwood said.

“I have been involved in many different things as a private citizen.  I look forward to having a public role on the Board, and working hard for all the citizens of Fulton County, and all the cities of Fulton County, so that when they go to the polls, to have that experience be accurate and seamless,” Norwood said.