‘Every little thing matters’: Georgia election official addresses vote count concerns

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ATLANTA (WSAV) – Joe Biden was declared the president-elect on Saturday, but in Georgia, the presidential race has not been called.

As of early Monday afternoon, Biden’s lead over President Donald Trump has grown to over 10,000, and the count continues.

“When the margins are this tight, every little thing matters,” Gabriel Sterling, Georgia’s voting implementation manager, said.

He took time to address a few issues the state has faced as counties report their work, including one in Fulton County on Friday.

Sterling said that it boiled down to a matter of bad process. The county uploaded its results on Friday prior to completing the reconciliation, and hours later, found that about 484 votes were off in provisional ballots.

He explained that 126 provisional ballots had been scanned into the absentee module, meaning the absentee total was up 126 and provisionals were down that number.

Then, a box of more than 350 damaged provisional ballots was found, that should’ve been processed on Friday. That requires workers to replicate the damaged ballot so it could be scanned.

Sterling said Republican and Democrat monitors were present for the replication process, in addition to a monitor from the state, but it took a long time to get through.

“The problem we have is when people don’t follow their processes and their procedures, it undermines people’s faith in the overall outcomes,” he said, adding, “Fulton, unfortunately, has had a history of some of this stuff and they’ve done so much to clean up their act from the June election.”

The voting implementation manager addressed some other concerns, including claims that Georgia “suddenly flipped.”

“None of this is sudden,” Sterling said, “none of this is really overly surprising to the pundits who track what’s going on in Georgia, and I don’t think you can say it’s a massive flip.”

He added that the state saw a close governor race in 2018 and more Democrats winning in larger counties like Gwinnett and Cobb in recent years.

Sterling said that overall, Georgia’s election has been an “amazing success,” and voters quickly adopted early voting options. About 2.7 million Georgians voted early, in-person, 1.3 voted absentee, and roughly 975,000 cast their ballot in person on Election Day.

Counties have until Friday, Nov. 13 to certify results, with the state’s deadline on the following Friday, Nov. 20. A recount in the presidential race will likely be requested, state officials have said.

“The pressure is more internal than external to get it right. Our job is to get it right,” Sterling said.

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