Gwinnett to begin recount Friday morning

Gwinnett County is still finalizing the details for its manual recount, but elections officials have set the start time for 9 a.m. Friday.

That’s the time counties are required to have started counting ballots by hand, but they could have begun as early as Thursday afternoon. Gwinnett is starting in the morning in part because they have to set up tables and equipment to accommodate the count, spokesman Joe Sorenson said.

Gwinnett has more than 416,000 votes to count by hand over the course of six days. The process will occur in the county elections warehouse, Sorenson said.

The statewide recount of nearly 5 million ballots was ordered by Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger in order to verify election results reported so far in Georgia. Joe Biden held a 14,000-vote lead over Donald Trump as of Thursday morning. Each county is responsible for counting the ballots cast in their jurisdiction, and they’ll likely have to foot the bill themselves.

The county isn’t yet sure how many people they’ll need to complete the recount by the Wednesday midnight deadline, or how long they’ll have to work each day, Sorenson said. Elections department employees and poll workers are expected to conduct the count, and local political parties can appoint official observers to watch the process.

Teams of two people will go through batches of about 100 ballots at a time, verifying the presidential candidate choice and sorting them into piles. The results will be logged before the ballots are returned to secure containers, which state Elections Director Chris Harvey urged counties to keep under constant watch.

“These ballots are the currency of the election,” Harvey said in a Thursday training webinar. “They need to be protected at all times.”