SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – With Chatham County reporting its remaining ballots Thursday night, President Donald Trump’s lead over Joe Biden has narrowed again in Georgia.
News 3 is told those outstanding ballots were from in-person and absentee voters. Chatham County Board of Elections Chairman Tom Mahoney said processing will still continue on Friday when a few thousand provisional ballots and overseas military ballots will arrive.
At 10:35 p.m., Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger stated there were about 14,000 ballots still outstanding statewide.
Though some staff members would disagree, state officials say the process is slow in Chatham County because the registration office is separate from the elections division.
“They batch them a little differently and that just takes more time,” said Georgia Voting System Implementation Manager Gabriel Sterling. He added that the secretary of state’s office has sent an investigator to Chatham County to “keep an eye on things.”
As for the speed of the count statewide, Sterling said election officials are dealing with paper ballots for the first time in 20 years.
“It’s a close vote,” he added. “There are other states that have more votes to count than we do, but it’s a wide margin, so nobody cares.”
Earlier Thursday, Chatham County Board of Election Supervisor Russell Bridges told News 3 just 2,000 ballots were being processed and scanned. The other 15,000 had been scanned and processed but were going through the adjudication process, meaning they had been flagged by the software for stray marks, unfilled circles, etc.
Mahoney said if there is any question of voter intent, staff members and members of both parties would get involved.
“These people are not involved in voter fraud,” Sterling said of local election officials in Georgia. “These people are not involved in voter suppression. I am telling you, they are doing their jobs every day.”
While election officials hoped for even more clarity on Georgia’s outcomes by the day’s end, as Sterling said, if the count bleeds into Friday for the sake of accuracy, “then so be it.”
“Fast is great, and we appreciate fast, but we more appreciate accuracy,” he said. “Accuracy is going to be the bedrock upon which people will believe the outcomes of this election be it on the winning side or the losing side.”
Mahoney said Chatham County election results could be certified as early as Monday. Counties have until Nov. 13 to certify while the state’s deadline is Nov. 20.