UPDATE: Atlanta mayoral runoff retains razor-thin margin

Keisha Lance Bottoms
Atlanta mayoral candidate Keisha Lance Bottoms declares victory during an election-night watch party Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2017, in Atlanta. Atlanta's two-person mayoral runoff election is too close to call. Bottoms leads Mary Norwood by a margin of less than 1 percent, which is the threshold where the second-place finisher can request a recount under state law. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

ATLANTA (AP) – The Latest on the certification of votes in the Atlanta mayoral runoff election (all times local):

5:50 p.m.

The vote tallies for the runoff election in the Atlanta mayoral race are official, but with a razor-thin margin remaining, the trailing candidate says she plans to ask for a recount.

Election officials in Fulton and DeKalb counties, which both include parts of Atlanta, on Monday certified their election results. The official combined tally was 92,502.

Keisha Lance Bottoms remains in the lead with 46,667, or 50.45 percent, and Mary Norwood has 45,835 votes, or 49.55 percent. The 832 votes that separate them amount to less than 1 percent of the total.

Norwood has 48 hours from the Monday certification in each county to request a recount and told reporters she would likely do so Tuesday. Elections officials in both counties have said they could probably have a recount done by the end of the week.


1:40 p.m.

Atlanta is a step closer to having an official record of how close its mayoral election runoff was.

Fulton County election officials on Monday morning certified the county’s vote totals from the Dec. 5 runoff. Election officials in DeKalb County, which also includes part of Atlanta, planned to certify their results later Monday.

The official Fulton County results show Keisha Lance Bottoms with 42,887 votes, or 51.33 percent, and Mary Norwood with 40,668, or 48.67 percent.

That represents a slight bump for Bottoms in Fulton County. She had 42,747 votes, or 51.28 percent, compared with Norwood’s 40,612, or 48.72 percent, in unofficial Fulton tallies released the day after the election.

Norwood told reporters after the Fulton count was certified Monday that she planned to ask for a recount.

“It is absolutely imperative that we take a look at every single ballot,” she said.

Fulton County elections director Richard Barron said his staff could likely complete a recount Thursday if Norwood made her request Monday.

Norwood previously ran for mayor in 2009, when she lost to Mayor Kasim Reed by 714 votes. She requested a recount in that election, and it ultimately produced one additional vote.

The Tuesday runoff between Bottoms, who is black, and Norwood, who is white, split Atlanta just about in half after a campaign marked by political grudges and allegations of corruption, and a turnout of less than 20 percent of the city’s roughly 500,000 residents.

A victory for Bottoms would give Atlanta its sixth consecutive black mayor since Maynard Jackson was elected to the office in 1973. An upset by Norwood would give the city its first-ever white, female mayor.

Several people confronted Fulton election officials at Monday’s meeting, saying members of the public were prevented from observing as votes were counted after the polls closed on Dec. 5. They said officers aggressively obstructed them and threatened them with arrest.

Barron said the tabulation happened in public view and that the people who claimed obstruction were being disruptive.

The secretary of state’s office has opened an investigation into public access to vote tabulation in Fulton County, spokeswoman Candice Broce said. She declined to release any details since the investigation is ongoing.

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