Fulton County Election Director Resigning, Prompting Boss to Blame Trump and 'His Minions'

The director at one of the most scrutinized county election centers in the country will be stepping down at the end of the year.

Rick Barron, current Fulton County Registration & Elections Director, has submitted his resignation and will end his tenure on Dec. 31. The news was revealed during a press conference with Fulton County Board of Commissioners Chair Robb Pitts.

"Under the intense scrutiny of the last year, I believe our team has performed with grace and professionalism," Barron wrote in his resignation letter. "Even in the midst of threats to our personal safety, we have continued to make the interests of Fulton County voters our highest priority."

Barron's resignation comes after his office was the subject of unproven election fraud claims from former President Donald Trump and his administration, according to the Associated Press. Carter Jones, an independent monitor from the State Election Board that oversaw operations at the office, did not witness "any illegality, fraud, or intentional malfeasance" during his stay.

Pitts supported Barron's leadership during the conference and had some choice words for the Trump administration's handling of the election. "That kind of pressure, that kind of scrutiny for that long would wear on anybody," he said. "You have the former president and his minions, the secretary of state and his minions, daily blasting you."

Fulton County Registration and Elections Board Chair Cathy Woolard said that a national search for Barron's replacement will begin soon.

To read more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.

Fulton County Protest
Fulton County Elections Director Rick Barron will resign at the end of the year. His eight-year run had been the subject of many protests that supported unfounded election fraud claims, such as this one from Nov. 5, 2020. Photo by Tami Chappell / AFP via Getty Images

The announcement came a day after municipal elections that 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 a target of Republicans, who have complained of sloppiness and mismanagement.

Barron said in his resignation letter that he will be on hand for the Nov. 30 runoff election and will support transition for the department. He has been proud of the department's accomplishments during his more than eight years at its helm, he wrote.

"Mr. Barron was not forced to resign," Pitts said. "I want to make that crystal clear. It was voluntary."

Pitts said he and Woolard had breakfast with Barron a few days ago and talked about this 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 it does, Pitts said.

In addition to a torrent of insults from Trump, Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger has repeatedly called for a change in leadership for Fulton County elections. Deputy Secretary of State Jordan Fuchs said Wednesday that the office had no comment on Barron's resignation.

After a problem-plagued primary election in June 2020, when some Fulton County voters never received requested absentee ballots and others waited hours in line to vote, an independent monitor was appointed as part of an agreement with the State Election Board.

Amid a flood of criticism, the county election board voted in February to fire Barron, only to have its decision rejected by the Board of Commissioners.

Republican state lawmakers earlier this year used a provision in the state's new wide-ranging new election law to initiate a process that could ultimately result in the replacement of Fulton County's election board with an appointee chosen by the Republican-controlled State Election Board. A three-person review panel is currently examining the county's election operations and will provide a report of its findings to the state board.

Woolard, who only joined the county election board in September, said interactions with the review panel have been "cordial," and she said she didn't know how Barron's departure would affect the review.

Rick Barron 2020
Rick Barron will be resigning from the Fulton County Registration & Elections Board at the end of the year. He is seen talking to reporters in the Nov. 25, 2020, photo. AP Photo/Ben Gray, File