By Lou Phelps, SBJ

June 16, 2020 – 10:00 a.m. - The combination of both the Board of Election employees and election workers who have been tackling the mountain of absentee ballots cast in the Georgia Presidential Primary on June 9 in Chatham County are on track to be able to validate the election by this Friday, June 18, according to election officials. That’s the date set by the Georgia Secretary of State to conclude all counting, and validate the election. 

There are approx. 10,000 absentee ballots left to be processed and counted as of this morning. The County’s election results website, however, is not accurately recording the numbers of votes counted.

The results for approx. 33,000 votes are recorded, but election workers have counted almost 49,000 votes cast, in all. 

The early voting and election day results that appear on the county’s website only include the absentees from the first several days’ work, from June 10 through June 12, as well as all early voting and election day results.

Over the weekend, uploading of additional votes processed and counted failed to work due to technical issues with the website that they are trying to resolve today. Therefore, the Board has released an “Election Summary” manual report to update candidates and the public on the results of the voting until the website’s technical issues can be resoled.

Election workers processed 15,710 over the weekend, according to Thomas J. Mahoney III, chairman of the Board of Elections, raising their day processing average.  

According to Election officials, approx. 59,000 people voted in the election, with 67% of all votes cast done by absentee ballot, or approx. 31,000 paper ballots that had to be processed.   Chatham County had 197,000 registered and eligible to vote in the June 9 primary, for an approx. 30% turnout.  That’s almost identical to the turnout in the 2016 Georgia Presidential Primary.  Local media does not yet have exact figures on turnout. 

The percentage of ‘Precincts Reporting’ that appears on the county’s election website is not a valid figure, election officials state, and should not be used as a point of reference.

At least one race has shifted, based on the latest numbers, with Tabitha Odell moving into second place in the District 5 County Commissioner race behind Tanya Milton, according to the Election Summary, though the numbers are too close to draw any final conclusions.  

In the three-person Democratic Primary in District 5, Tony Reilly and Michael J. Hamilton, Sr. are neck-and-neck for the second-place spot in that runoff behind Clinton Edminster who continues to hold a slim lead, garnering 37% of the votes reported to date. 

Candidates that will face runoffs are in the District 2 and District 5 County Commission races, the Democratic Primary for County Coroner, and one State Rep Democratic contest.  Candidates have already lost a week of campaigning time for the August run-off election. 

Chester Ellis is widening his lead over Jay Jones in the Democratic Primary race for County Commission Chairman.  If it holds, he will face Republican Jason Beulterman in November.

Sonya Jackson has widened her lead in the three-person Democratic Primary for Tax Collector, avoiding a runoff, as she has continued to receive more than 50% of the votes cast.  She will face Republican Charles M. Pugh, if her percentage holds.

In the State House District 163 race, there will also be a runoff.  The last available information had Anne Allen Westbrook facing Derek J. Mallow in the Democratic Primary runoff.  There is no Republican on the ballot for November, so far.

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