November 5, 2020 - Gabriel Sterling, Statewide Voting Implementation Manager in the Georgia Secretary of State's office, held a press conference Thursday afternoon to address the state and national media seeking information on the status of the ongoing process of counting absentee paper ballots in Georgia.
He explained that there are still 47,277 ballots not counted as of 4:00 p.m. today, and as many as an additional 8,899 military ballots which could arrive as late as Friday night that will have to be counted. Under Georgia law, a military absentee ballot, postmarked by election day on Nov. 3, must be counted if it arrives by Friday, Nov. 6 at 5 p.m. There are also provisional ballots in many counties that are still being worked on.
Sterling outlined the makeup of the 47,277 ballots, by county, leading off with Chatham County which had the largest number of uncounted ballots in the state - with 17,157 as of 4 p.m. today. These are ballots received by election day on Nov. 3.
The Secretary of State’s Office “has an investigator down there because we knew you people (the media) would be asking what’s going on down there,” he stated.
There were over 62,000 uncounted ballots this morning, he added, as they started the day. The updated results have been uploaded to the Secretary of States’ website.
As of 4 p.m. today, President Trump had 2,438,206 votes in Georgia versus 2,425,441 for Joe Biden, a difference of only 12,765. In most of the counties, the absentee ballots are skewing heavily Democratic – by margins as high as 75% - meaning that there is a strong likelihood that Biden could carry Georgia and the state's 16 votes in the Electoral College.
The changing results have also pushed Sen. David Perdue below 50% - to 49.98% of all votes cast in the U.S. Senate race - forcing him into a January runoff with Democratic challenger Jon Ossoff. If this holds, Georgia will have the highly unusual situation of two races for the U.S. Senate which will result in which party controls the Senate.
“We will have an audit so that we all know the outcome is correct,” Sterling explained, and added that because of the closeness of several races, there would be an automatic recount. This would assure people of the accuracy of the voting machines and the processes, he added.
Fulton County, with the city of Atlanta, is down to 7,305 absentee ballots to count and “continues to draw down their number,” he explained. Other counties, such as Gwinnett, Lawrence, Taylor, Floyd and Cobb have varying amounts.
The absentee ballots in Chatham, Fulton and Gwinnett are particularly skewing heavily in favor of Biden.
Absentee ballots must be received legally by Tuesday at 5 p.m., by mail or dropped off.
“We anticipate having the vote done by 10 days from the election day … We have to … to get ready for a special election in December. We hope to have clarity about these elections before that, but we have to take time to get the votes done accurately - to make sure that everybody’s legal vote is counted accurately.
Black Leaders Bring in Legal Team to Chatham County
According to Atty. Randle Manugm of Atlanta, who works with the People's Agenda project, and the Georgia Assn. of African American Attorney's, "we have been concerned about intimidation of the counting process by the Trump campaign, and have asked Atty. Chad Mance and Atty. Francis Johnson of Savannah to be on the ground to insure that every vote is counted."