GEORGIA United States (New York Times) – On Thursday, Georgia’s 159 counties finalized a hand recount, technically an audit, of the five million ballots cast in the election, reaffirming Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s victory but reducing his lead by more than 1,200 votes.
Georgia’s secretary of state, Brad Raffensperger, a Republican, had ordered the manual audit as part of a new state law to ensure the accuracy of voting machines by comparing paper ballot counts with machine tallies. This was not an official recount, though the Trump campaign can choose to request one after the state’s results are certified this week, as the vote margin between Biden and Trump is below 0.5 percentage points.
In many counties, officials conducting the audit found zero or single-digit differences in their counts, and they will not change their original results for the state certification process. Yet, at least four counties — Douglas, Fayette, Floyd, and Walton — discovered missed ballots and will add these to their original counts.
In Douglas, Fayette, and Walton Counties, the counting of paper ballots revealed that election workers had undercounted votes after missing memory cards, which held machine-cast votes. New voting machines adopted by the state in 2019 allow voters to use touchscreens to print ballots. The voters then verify the ballots and formally cast them by scanning, resulting in a paper record and a machine tally.
Floyd County officials discovered about 2,400 ballots that election workers neglected to rescan after a scanner failed and results could not be retrieved from memory cards. Officials attributed the error to “gross incompetence” on the part of the county’s elections director.
Despite the errors in these four counties, election officials have said that there are no signs of voter fraud and that the new system is working as intended.
“These people are operating in it under the highest level of stress, in the most contentious election in their work life in the United States and in Georgia. So, for the most part, they are doing a really good job on this,” said Gabriel Sterling, Georgia’s statewide voting system implementation manager.