Gwinnett County has completed its work scrutinizing and counting absentee ballots, bolstering Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden’s slim lead over President Donald Trump in the race for Georgia’s 16 electoral votes.

The latest cache of votes increases Biden’s still-slim margin over Trump in Georgia by about 3,000 votes Friday night.

There will likely be a statewide recount, Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said Friday, because the vote is so close. Candidates are entitled to a recount if the difference between two candidates is less than 0.5%.

With Gwinnett’s latest numbers, Biden’s lead in the county grew to 18.2 percentage points.

Former Vice President Biden pulled ahead of Trump Friday morning, when Clayton County completed the count of its absentee ballots. Gwinnett County began tabulating its final cache of absentee ballots Friday morning. By 5 p.m., 7,083 additional votes had been counted, adding 4,804 more votes for Biden and 2,079 for Trump.

Of the 7,083 ballots, 1,010 were military and overseas ballots, spokesman Joe Sorenson said.

Still to be added to the total are 3 military ballots and 535 absentee ballots that had to be cured with a signature — meaning a signature was either missing or did not match a voter’s signature as it appeared on their government ID. The deadline to cure absentee ballots was Friday at 5 p.m.

The Gwinnett County Board of Voter Registrations and Elections must meet to approve 935 provisional ballots and determine which can be counted. That meeting is likely to take place Saturday, but plans had not yet been finalized by 7 p.m. Friday.

County election offices have until Nov. 13 — next Friday — to certify their results.

The county’s process of adjudicating ballots — determining what voters intended on ballots that were flagged for errors — ended at 10 p.m. Thursday, some 13 hours after it began. County elections officials hope to finish counting all ballots by Saturday.

About 10 partisan observers and 10 volunteer adjudicators returned by 9 a.m. Friday at the Gwinnett Voter Registrations & Elections Beauty P. Baldwin Building to witness the final tabulation, a bit tired but as vigilant as they were a day before.

The ballot adjudication process involved elections staffers and partisan volunteers reviewing mail-in absentee ballots flagged for errors. Those that had been flagged for some kind of error had to be reviewed in order to discern whether the voter clearly marked their choice. As long as the “voter intent” could be determined by a three-person panel of one Democrat, one Republican and one unaffiliated elections worker, the ballot would be counted.

Ballots that were not clear — including those where voters marked two candidates in a race that requires a single choice — can not be counted.

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