Fulton County elections board accepts director's resignation



ALPHARETTA, Ga. — Embattled Fulton County elections director resigned from his post following his Sept. 14 arrest.

At its Sept. 24 special call meeting, the Fulton County Board of Registration & Elections voted to accept the unconditional resignation of Director Samuel Westmoreland.

The Board’s action stated that if Westmoreland were to withdraw his resignation, he would be terminated immediately.

The Board named the Department of Registration & Election’s Registration Chief Sharon Mitchell as Acting Interim Director while a search is conducted for a permanent replacement.

The Board indicated that the position is to be posted for recruitment as soon as possible.

In comments following the meeting, Board Chair Dr. Roderick Edmond stressed that the Board’s primary focus is on ensuring a smooth and successful November 6 election for the citizens of Fulton County, and that staff have been working continuously to achieve that goal.

Westmoreland, 43, of Alpharetta, was on probation following a DUI charge in Alpharetta in September of 2009.

Court records show he failed to complete his probation requirements of DUI school or community service.

Alpharetta Public Safety Spokesman George Gordon confirmed Westmoreland was arrested and is scheduled for release Sept. 24. He was initially taken to the Fulton County jail before he was transferred to Alpharetta.

Alpharetta is where the initial charges originated.

Westmoreland's troubles stem from his arrest Sept. 23, 2009 for driving under the influence of drugs. According to the police report taken at the time, police found Westmoreland driving erratically on Ga. 400 between Old Milton Parkway and Westside Parkway. When he was pulled over, he showed no signs of alcohol, but appeared "slow and deliberate." He admitted at the time to taking prescription medication days earlier. He was arrested and charged with DUI, failure to maintain lane and driving with an expired tag.

Some members of the Fulton County Board of Commissioners have already called for Westmoreland to be fired in this latest upset for the embattled elections head.

In June and July, Westmoreland's department garnered criticism after several bungles in the election. In violation of federal law, thousands of letters were sent out telling registered voters they would be taken off the official registration rolls unless their homes actually existed.

While Westmoreland claimed he was trying to clean up the rolls of people who lived in public housing that had since been demolished, law prohibits such purging within 90 days of an election.

In July, his department erroneously assigned some Sandy Springs voters to the wrong voting district and also missed the filing deadline to certify the election results.

Sharon Mitchell, the chief of registration in the elections department, will step in as Westmoreland's temporary replacement.

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