Chatham County Board of Elections: Counting ‘massive number’ of absentee ballots could take days

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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – Following a day of voting machine problems and long lines in Chatham County, the election board still has a ways to go for counting all results.

Chatham County Board of Elections Chair Tom Mahoney released a statement Wednesday saying that counting the “massive number” of absentee ballots will continue the process over the next few days.

“As anticipated and requested due to the COVID-19 pandemic, record numbers of voters cast their votes by absentee ballot, with a total of almost 31,000,” Mahoney explained in the statement. “Voters continued to hand deliver their absentee ballots up to 7:00 election night.

“The Board of Registrar’s staff hand-processed and approved absentee ballots all night and then delivered multiple boxes of absentee ballots to the Board of Elections to be counted.”

He added that there are dozens of boxes of absentee ballots that haven’t been opened at this point.

“Because this heavy volume of absentee ballots was anticipated, the Board of Elections has four times the normal staff to process and count these ballots,” the chair continued. “Additionally, we started processing the absentee ballots received prior to Election Day without tabulating votes. The last-minute surge of absentee votes could not be processed early, however.”

Some elections results have been published but as Mahoney said, “these are unofficial and incomplete until every vote is counted.”

“We have many thousands of absentee ballots remaining to be counted,” he added. “It could take days.”

Community advocates say some people flooded Georgia’s polls because they requested an absentee ballot and did not receive one.

“Our state leaders started this process and the fact that they didn’t support local agencies as much as they possibly could …is a travesty,” said Amanda Hollowell, a community advocate who spent Tuesday collecting stories and testimonies that will be used in a potential lawsuit.

“[Voting] is one of the glorious things of being a citizen here and you were robbed of that opportunity,” she said of people who were unable to vote in Tuesday’s election.

To view the results so far, visit here.

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