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Officials praise Newton elections director for efficiency, leadership
Angela Mantle oversaw new machine rollout, virus-related surge in absentee voting, elections and recounts in 2020
Newton County election board
From left, elections director Angela Mantle meets with the Newton County Board of Elections and Registrations Nov. 9 before the board voted to certify the results of the Nov. 3 General and Special Election. - photo by Tom Spigolon

COVINGTON, Ga. — Newton County’s elections director drew praises from county leaders after she announced her resignation to move to a different part of the county government.

Angela Mantle, who is director of the Newton County Board of Elections and Registration, is leaving Friday, Dec. 4, after leading the office through one of the more turbulent election cycles in the state’s recent history.

The Newton County Board of Elections already has named assistant director Angela White-Davis as Mantle’s successor, said board chairman Phil Johnson. She will oversee the upcoming U.S. Senate runoff election.

Johnson said the board reluctantly accepted Mantle’s resignation letter.

“She certainly has the support of the board,” Johnson said. “We were sad to see her leave.”

Johnson said Mantle is leaving the job voluntarily to pursue a job opportunity that allows her to remain with the county government.

County Manager Lloyd Kerr said Mantle is moving to a position in the Newton County Department of Human Resources.

“We just want to thank her for all of her service and, particularly, these last couple of elections that we’ve had that have required quite a bit of extra effort and a lot of overtime at night and weekends,” Kerr told county commissioners Tuesday.

Johnson praised her organizational skills and her ability to lead her staff and keep it focused on doing an accurate and complete vote count despite the “intensity” of the work involved.

He said Mantle’s leadership led to Newton County having far fewer problems than many area counties in fully completing its vote count this year.

Some neighboring counties had uncounted ballots and workers not properly trained, according to the Georgia Secretary of State’s office.

Mantle “has laid the foundation for Newton County’s election operation,” Johnson said.

“Her experience, commitment and leadership have been responsible for the success we have achieved in holding efficient elections,” he said.

“I hate to see her leave but I understand she is ready for new opportunities and to be able to spend more time with her family.

“Fortunately for us she leaves behind a legacy of an organization to carry on the tradition of excellence she built,” Johnson said.

Mantle declined an interview for this story.

However, in her resignation letter Mantle cited a desire for new challenges and experiences, said county spokesman Bryan Fazio.

Kerr said she was seeking to devote more time to her family.

Mantle has worked in the elections department in Newton County for 17 years. She was promoted to succeed a retiring Donna Morrison as elections director in 2015.

The department saw a 35% increase in the number of registered voters in Newton County during Mantle’s tenure.

This year, she oversaw the implementation of the state’s new Dominion Voting Machines system that was first used in the June primary elections.

She and her staff also processed 10 times more absentee ballots than in previous election years amid safety fears from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The heavy use of the ballots and the processing procedure led to delays in counting votes after the June election.

It also led to some long lines that officials attributed in part to delays in processing in-person voters because of confusion among some about the absentee ballots’ use.

However, Mantle and her staff led the realignment of the process early in the three-week advance voting period in October that cut the wait time significantly for voters, Johnson said.

After the Nov. 3 General Election produced a razor-thin margin between the presidential candidates in Georgia, Mantle oversaw both a hand recount of 54,000 ballots ordered by the Georgia Secretary of State and a machine recount of the same ballots requested by President Donald Trump’s campaign.