Georgia is on a “good schedule right now” to finish an audit of the presidential election by Wednesday and thus certify its results by Friday, a top state voting official says, and the vast majority of counties are reporting results that are “spot dead on” to the initial tallies or finding only minor discrepancies.
Gabriel Sterling, the state’s voting systems implementation manager, said Tuesday there are only approximately 300,000 ballots left to be hand-counted in Georgia out of the nearly 5 million cast in the presidential election.
Meanwhile, election officials from 29 counties across Georgia told CNN that they had already completed their audits and found no discrepancies with the results – further discrediting President Donald Trump’s lies about widespread fraud in the state.
The state is required by law to certify its results by Friday, which would thwart long-shot efforts by Trump to delay certification and potentially overturn the results of the state’s election through the Electoral College. The President has repeatedly made unfounded allegations of fraud following his election defeat on November 3, and his campaign has launched legal challenges in multiple states seeking to prevent certification of results.
“The whole point of the audit is to prove the (initial) outcome was correct” and to “verify the winners,” Sterling said.
In Floyd County – where 2,600 uncounted ballots were found during the recount because they hadn’t been scanned when the county tallied its early vote, an oversight that has been attributed to human error – the election county board will rescan all early votes along with provisional votes that were found to be mismanaged, Sterling said. The updated results will give Trump a net pickup of 778 votes, slightly narrowing President-elect Joe Biden’s statewide lead, which is more than 13,000 votes.
After the results are certified, the Trump campaign can request an official recount. Sterling said that the state of Georgia has already procured high-speed ballot scanners for all 159 counties to use in the event a recount is requested.
The following Georgia counties told CNN that they had finished their audits without finding any discrepancies: Appling, Atkinson, Bacon, Baker, Baldwin, Barrow, Ben Hill, Berrien, Brantley, Brooks, Butts, Calhoun, Candler, Carroll, Charlton, Chattooga, Clay, Coffee, Cook, Crawford, Crisp, Dade, Dawson, Decatur, Dooly, Early, Meriwether, Murray and Oconee.
There were minor adjustments in a few counties, officials told CNN.
- In Catoosa County, one Biden vote was reclassified as a Trump vote after the audit.
- In Coweta County, a write-in vote for “Biden Harris” was officially added to Biden’s count.
- In Effingham County, Trump lost one vote and Biden lost seven votes after the audit.
- In Oglethorpe County, there was a one-vote discrepancy, but officials wouldn’t give details.
Trump and other Republicans have placed extraordinary pressure on Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, also a Republican, to in effect overturn the results of the election. The state’s sitting US GOP senators, David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler, have both called on him to resign after accusing him without evidence of failing to “deliver honest and transparent elections,” and on Monday night, Raffensperger alleged that Sen. Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican, had hinted that he should try to discard some legally cast ballots.
Graham has denied making that suggestion and has since claimed he was only trying to inquire about how Georgia validates signatures on mailed-in ballots, though Sterling, who participated in the phone call, has corroborated Raffensperger’s version of events.
CNN’s Carly Ryan and Kevin Conlon contributed to this report.