Fulton County's election board chair submits resignation, community disappointed

The chair of the Board of Registration & Elections in Fulton County has resigned.

Cathy Woolard submitted a letter of resignation on July 3.

In her letter, Woolard said she took the role in an "interim capacity" to ensure the smooth execution of the Georgia primary and primary run-off elections. She says it is now time to let someone who can serve through the fall elections take the reins.

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"The feedback I’m hearing from my community is that this was a pretty irresponsible move on the part of Chair Woolard," Fulton County Commissioner Dana Barrett told FOX 5.  

Woolard was initially appointed to the position in 2021, and her term ended in June 2023.

"Because we’re coming up on a very important presidential election and because Fulton County was so under scrutiny in the last election, we really want to have the best team in place," Barrett explained. 

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Patrise Perkins-Hooker took over until April of this year when she resigned. Woolard was then put back in charge.

"It was disappointing to get that resignation letter on July 5," Barrett recalled. 

Woolard's resignation is effective July 25.

In a letter to board chair Rob Pitts on July 3, she wrote: 

"I took on this role in an interim capacity to ensure smooth execution of the Georgia Primary and Primary run-off elections, but it is time for someone who can serve through the fall elections take the reins. 

"We knew that she wanted to be an interim chair, but my understanding was that she was willing to stay through the general election—if necessary," Barrett said. "The board itself certifies the elections and deals with all those voter challenges…(so being) a strong presence and give leadership and guidance to the board members—that’s the critical importance of that role." 

At this time, it is not known who will take her place. County commissioners had their first regularly scheduled meeting since the announcement on Wednesday, but there were not enough votes to get it on the agenda. 

"We do need to give this all-due consideration…we do need to take our time and interview the right people and get the right people," the district 3 commissioner added. 

Barrett did not share names of possible replacements, but she says there are a few people the board is considering for the role.  

Commissioners will likely appoint a new chair at their next meeting in August. 

In response to a request for comment, Woolard shared the following statement:  

"It’s been a pleasure serving as interim BRE chair at Fulton County while we executed the recent primary and primary election runoff. After a year away and several well-run elections, it’s gratifying to see the progress our team has made with a new director and election hub. Despite all the noise you hear, the Fulton County election department does excellent work in one of the largest election operations in the country. The new board chair will have challenges working through the headwinds of politics, but I have no doubt they will maintain the progress made under the leadership of Director Nadine Williams." 

The Fulton County Board of Elections and Registration will hold its regularly scheduled meeting on Thursday. Discussion of personnel matters is on the agenda. 

Former President Donald Trump and President Joe Biden are expected to compete for the presidency in November's election.

The 2020 election in Georgia was contentious, and Trump, along with several others, are facing charges for attempting to change the results of the election after the votes were counted.

Fulton County overwhelmingly voted for Biden in 2020.