November 3, 2020, 11:30 p.m. – Despite what appears on the Chatham County Board of Elections website tonight, which shows that 100% of the vote is counted, it is not.
While all of the polling locations have reported for the votes cast today at the county's polling locations, we estimate that there are still as many as 25,000 more absentee paper ballots yet to be counted. We understand that counting has ended for the evening, and they will be back at it in the a.m.
Late this evening, we received the official numbers on the absentee ballots counted today. 15,078 were scanned and completed. That's a small portion of the over 40,000 absentee ballots that we reported on Monday HAVE been received.
Of the 15,078 counted today, Biden received 10,580 votes to 4,297 votes for Trump. As seen in other trends, the absentee ballots and early, in-person vote is running 2 to 1 for Democratic candidates.
That could be good news for Democratic candidates such as Chester Elllis, running for Chairman of the Chatham County Commission against Tybee Maor Jason Beulterman, and good news for Shalena Cook Jones looking to unseat Meg Heap in the District Attorney's race. It would appear that it's not 'too early to call' those races.
It means the Marcus Thompson race against State Rep. Ron Stephens may end up as a nail-biter, for the GA House Seat District 164. Stephens is still ahead by about 1,900 ... but that heavy of a Democratic vote could change the current results. It will be close.
The numbers reported so far on the County website include election day votes; early, in-person votes; and a portion of the paper absentee ballots. Military mailed in ballots can still be accepted until Friday, and the Board of Elections staff will be back at it tomorrow, scanning the paper absentee ballots.
The total turnout in Chatham, as a percentage of registered voters, appears to be running behind 2016, though there are many more voters overall. In 2016, there were 155,339 registered voters in Chatham County, and 113,555 people voted - a 73.10% turn out.
The Chatham County Board of Elections website now states that there are 202,388 registered voters, up from the 197,000 that was on the site earlier in the day. Not sure how THAT works.
Of course there is still the question as to why the Georgia Secretary of State says there are actually 202,999 registered voters in Chatham County. And, in fact, the SBJ was contacted by a voter today - a 40 year resident of Tybee - who has always voted, and has always voted out there. She got to the polls this morning and she was told that the scan of her drivers license indicated she was registered to vote in Atlanta - not on the Chatham County rolls. However, she WAS listed on the Secretary of State’s website as a registered voter in Chatham. Let’s agree we still have “issues.”
The first mailing of absentee ballots requested began back on Sept. 18, according to Sabrina German, Director of the Chatham County Board of Registrars. Absentee ballots began to be mailed out on Sept. 18, and started to be returned within days of that mail date. The Board of Registrars' team's work actually began back on Sept. 24. Georgia allows local Boards of Registrars to start processing paper ballots as soon as they arrive, versus waiting until election day.
As of last Friday night, 54,815 people voted early, in-person. Of the absentee ballots requested, 39,710 had been received back at the office of the Board if Registrars through the mail or dropped off, with many more received Monday and today.
Of the 39,710 paper ballots received as of last Friday, the signatures had been verified on 38,710, according to German, as of 3:30 p.m Monday afternoon. The team will continue to process the mail, including dropped off ballots, and will approve any military ballots received in the mail as of Friday night.
Based on numbers reported, we estimate that there are thousands yet to be counted. So … don’t jump to any conclusions yet on the winners and the losers.