2 Georgia Counties Experience Delays in Vote Counting

November 4, 2020 Updated: November 4, 2020

Two large counties in Georgia experienced problems counting ballots on Election Day.

A burst pipe at State Farm Arena affected the room where absentee ballots were being counted, Fulton County authorities said in a statement on Tuesday.

“The State Farm Arena team acted swiftly to remediate the issue. Within two hours, repairs were complete. No ballots were damaged, nor was any equipment affected. There was a brief delay in tabulating absentee ballots while the repairs were being conducted,” the county said.

The county planned on reporting results for approximately 86,000 absentee ballots, as well as Election Day and early voting results, but won’t tabulate the rest of the absentee ballots until Wednesday and Thursday.

“This is a labor-intensive process that takes longer to tabulate than other forms of voting. Fulton County did not anticipate having all absentee ballots processed on Election Day,” the county said.

Walter Jones, a spokesperson for the Georgia Secretary of State’s office, told The Epoch Times that he did not have a clear picture of what was happening in Fulton County.

Jones said he’d heard that election workers in the county had stopped counting ballots for the night but he’d also heard that they may have kept going.

A county spokesman didn’t respond to a request for comment.

A software issue, meanwhile, plagued officials in Gwinnett County.

Epoch Times Photo
Katie LaFleur (L) passes out pizza to people waiting in line to vote at the Gwinnett County Fairgrounds in Lawrenceville, Ga., on Nov. 3, 2020. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Gwinnett County Communications Director Joe Sorenson told The Epoch Times that about half of the batches of absentee ballots had a problem involving a new module that cannot be scanned by the software.

Absentee ballots filled out clearly by hand had no issue but “if there’s a problem with how the ballot was filled out—for example, a voter placed a check mark instead of filling in the circle, didn’t completely fill in the circle, or voted for more candidates than allowed in a race—the scanning software will send the ballot to the adjudication module,” Sorenson said in an email.

“When the scanner won’t read a ballot, the ballot goes through adjudication, a process that involves a three-person panel made up of one representative of each major party and one elections staff member who together determine the voter’s intent.”

That process “takes a little bit of time,” Jones said.

County officials contacted state officials and were told to either hold the remaining ballots until Wednesday, when the software vendor would try to help, or reset them all and include them in Tuesday’s results, even with the knowledge that some would have to go through adjudication again.

The Board of Voter Registrations and Elections opted for the latter.

Most of the results have been reported, Sorenson said in the early Wednesday message.

“There are about 4,400 [absentee by mail] ballots that were received today, some provisional ballots, and one card of ballots from [absentee in person] that will have to be rescanned. The county will tabulate those results starting tomorrow,” he said.

According to Decision Desk, President Donald Trump is ahead in Georgia with an estimated 99 percent of votes counted.

Trump has 2.36 million votes to Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s 2.25 million.

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