Alex Wan to lead Fulton’s troubled elections board

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Alex Wan – a longtime non-profit leader and the first gay man elected to the Atlanta City Council – now leads the board that oversees Fulton County’s beleaguered elections agency. 

The Fulton County Commission named Wan as chair of the Registration & Elections Board on Wednesday. Commission Chair Robb Pitts nominated Wan earlier this week. 

Wan now helms a board that sets policy for the county elections department, which is run day-to-day by an elections director. Fulton received national attention during elections in November and January. It oversees elections this year for Atlanta’s mayor and City Council.

Wan steps into the middle of an ongoing controversy involving county elections director Richard Barron. The board fired Barron on Feb. 16 only to be overruled by the county commission on Wednesday. There is a simmering dispute over who has the authority to fire the director, according to the AJC.

Wan follows Mary Carole Cooney, who stepped aside as chair for health reasons. His term expires on June 30. Pitts called Wan “the ideal candidate.”

“He is a true professional,” Pitts said in a press release. “He understands the electoral process. He has political experience. He is level-headed and most importantly has the temperament to lead the BRE.”

Wan presides over his first elections board meeting on Monday. 

Last June, Wan lost an effort to return to elected office when he placed second in a Democratic primary for House District 57. He became the first Asian American and first openly gay man elected to the Atlanta City Council when he took office in 2010. He served two terms before losing a race for council president in 2017.

The Stone Mountain native who’s lived in Morningside for over 25 years is executive director of Horizons Atlanta. We reached out to him and will update the post if he responds.

Pitts also turned to LGBTQ advocates and elected officials in the past to help address Fulton’s election problems. In June, he named state Rep. Park Cannon and Imara Canady, National Director of Communications & Community Engagement for the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, to his Election Task Force. 

The 19-member panel was charged with reviewing problems during the June primary elections and proposing remedies ahead of the general election in November.

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