Ballot counting was winding down across metro Atlanta Monday amid the state’s sweeping manual recount of the 5 million ballots cast in the presidential contest.

Floyd County reported finding more than 2,600 additional ballots. Otherwise, no significant tabulation errors emerged during the first several days of the recount, officials said. Two major metro counties — Fulton and DeKalb — completed their efforts on Sunday.

Counting across the state can continue through 11:59 p.m. on Wednesday.

Here’s what you need to know:

  • President Joe Biden the winner of Georgia’s 16 electoral votes on Friday
  • President Donald Trump currently trails Biden by roughly 14,000 votes. Officials don’t expect the recount to change the final tally much
  • Trump and his allies continued spread false claims about the recount process on social media
  • Hand counting of ballots is either finished or winding down across metro Atlanta.

More about the Georgia recount: The timetable and how it is being done

Several Georgia newspapers are collaborating to provide you with a statewide view of this historic undertaking. The Athens Banner-Herald, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, The Augusta Chronicle, The Columbus Ledger-Enquirer, The Macon Telegraph and The Savannah Morning News will share their collective work with you until the recount is complete.

Follow our live updates here:

6:35 p.m.

Chambliss disputes Trump’s Georgia election claims

By Tamar Hallerman

Former Georgia U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss is refuting false claims from the Trump campaign and its allies that large-scale fraud or irregularities may have occurred in Georgia’s elections.

In an interview Monday with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Chambliss backed Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger and his handling of the election.

“I just have not heard that there’s any kind of massive election fraud or scheming going on in Georgia relative to the elections,” said Chambliss, the former chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee. “I thought that the secretary of state has done what he’s charged with doing by law.”

Chambliss was careful not to criticize Trump directly, although he said the president needed to present facts backing up his claims of sweeping fraud.

“I’m glad to see the president has been investigating the election - I’m all for that,” said Chambliss, who stepped down from the Senate in 2014. “But if there are allegations, they’ve simply got to be backed up by facts in order to call into question the election.”

Trump and his allies have provided little evidence so far to back up their allegations in court.

Chambliss, who now consults on cybersecurity issues, including on several national intelligence boards, said he had “every reason to think that this election was done in a very safe and secure manner from the standpoint of interference, particularly from foreign entities.”

“I know that from a federal government standpoint we did everything we could to ensure that there was no interference,” he said. “And I hope that as we delve into it further we’ll find that’s exactly the case.”

6:12 p.m.

Cobb finished for today, will resume counting Tuesday

By Kristal Dixon

Cobb County has finished hand counting most of its ballots and will resume work on Tuesday morning.

Spokesman Ross Cavitt said Cobb has processed 384,000 ballots out of 396,000 cast. It will process more tomorrow.

Cavitt said a review panel must adjudicate 5,000 ballots. That work will start Tuesday and stretch into Wednesday.

“But we will easily make the deadline,” Cavitt said.

4:43 p.m.

Floyd County discovers 2,600 more ballots

A recount in Georgia’s presidential race found more than 2,600 ballots in Floyd County that hadn’t originally been tallied, likely helping President Donald Trump reduce his 14,000-vote deficit to Joe Biden.

Trump could gain about 800 net votes from the newly discovered ballots, said Luke Martin, chairman of the Floyd County Republican Party.

You can learn more details here.

1:26 p.m.

Cobb ballot count winding down

By Kristal Dixon

Spokesman Ross Cavitt said Cobb County has only a few dozen boxes of ballots left to count.

Cavitt said the count could be completed by the end of the day. Tomorrow, the adjudication process will review about 5,000 ballots that are in dispute, he said.

11:35 a.m.

No recount cost estimate in Gwinnett

By Amanda Coyne

Gwinnett County elections director Kristi Royston reiterated that Georgia’s second most populous county hopes to be done counting presidential ballots by Monday night, with recounted vote totals sent to the state on Tuesday.

“There is a really good chance we will be finished this evening," Royston said. "We will definitely be ahead of that 11:59 p.m. Wednesday deadline.”

Royston also said the county did not yet have an estimate for the cost of conducting the labor-intensive audit of the presidential vote. She said she was told the state might be able to assist counties with funding obtained through the Help America Vote Act, but that was not certain.

By way of comparison: neighboring DeKalb County, which had to sift through about 40,000 fewer presidential ballots than Gwinnett, estimated its efforts would cost around $180,000.

ExploreThe Jolt: A Trump-fueled rift in the Georgia GOP takes hold

11:30 a.m.

Fayette county finishes

By Leon Stafford

Fayette County has joined the ranks of metro Atlanta counties that have completed their counting.

Floyd Jones, elections supervisor for the south metro community, said early Monday that the county has finished its recount of the 2020 presidential election totals.

“We’re already done,” he said. “We’re just entering our numbers into the state system now.”

10:40 a.m.

Work rolling along in Cobb County

By Kristal Dixon

Cobb County spokesman Ross Cavitt said Monday that poll workers have recounted about 75% of 396,000 ballots cast in the presidential election.

Today, the crew will manually recount ballots in dozens of boxes that were initially counted using a machine after poll workers sorted votes for each candidate. The county said on its Facebook page that this process is “typical procedure” of the audit, and that the machine, which doesn’t come with software, only counts how many sheets of paper are fed into it.

Cavitt said elections staff are sticking to the eight-hour working shift, and the recount could be done as early as Monday evening or Tuesday morning.

9:20 a.m.

Trump continues assault on Georgia recount

President Donald Trump continued his social media assault on Georgia’s hand recount Monday morning, calling it “fake” because officials “are not allowing signatures to be looked at and verified."

Signatures are checked when county election offices receive absentee ballots from voters. Reverification of signatures isn’t part of the recount process because ballots can’t be matched back to ballot envelopes to protect voter secrecy.

No evidence of new mismatched signatures have been brought forward during the recount. Election officials rejected 1,998 absentee ballots for invalid or missing signatures before the recount.

9 a.m.

Still work to be done in Gwinnett County

By Amanda Coyne

Around 9 a.m. Monday, Gwinnett elections director Kristi Royston said the county’s count of more than 115,000 absentee-by-mail ballots was almost done. From there, workers will move on to about 219,000 early in-person votes, then assess Election Day ballots.

Royston said there was some miscommunication Monday morning and the county ended up with more poll workers than they needed. There was a delay in getting work started.

8:40 a.m.

Georgia elections head responds to false claims about recount integrity

By Mark Niesse

Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger wrote several Facebook posts Sunday night debunking claims about absentee ballot signature verification, recount observation rules and the state’s voting system.

Raffensperger’s posts from his official Facebook page push back on several allegations attaching Georgia’s recount process, including attacks from President Donald Trump.

“Truth matters. Integrity matters,” Raffesperger, a Republican, wrote in one of his posts.

**Lin Wood Lawsuit** My team secured and strengthened absentee ballots for the first time since 2005. As Secretary of...

Posted by GA Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger on Sunday, November 15, 2020

On absentee ballots, Raffensperger wrote that election officials are required to check signatures on absentee ballot envelopes to ensure that they match voters' signatures on file. Election officials receive training from the GBI on how to compare voter signatures.

Raffensperger took aim at U.S. Rep. Doug Collins, who questioned Georgia’s signature matching efforts on behalf of the Trump campaign.

“Failed candidate Doug Collins is a liar – but what’s new?” Raffensperger wrote.

A court settlement earlier this year required closer scrutiny of voter signatures before rejecting their absentee ballots, which Raffensperger said strengthened the ballot verification process. Signatures are checked when county election offices receive absentee ballots from voters.

No evidence of new mismatched signatures have been brought forward during the recount. Election officials rejected 1,998 absentee ballots for invalid or missing signatures before the recount.

Reverification of signatures isn’t part of the recount process because ballots can’t be matched back to ballot envelopes to protect voter secrecy.

ExploreTrump supporter sues Georgia in attempt to stop election results

In response to Trump’s attacks on Georgia’s recount process, Raffensperger noted that political parties are able to appoint monitors who can watch the process up-close. The general public can also watch the process from observation areas. Raffensperger said political parties – not his office – are responsible for recruiting monitors and giving them credentials.

One of Raffensperger’s posts responds to Trump by saying that Dominion Voting Systems, the company that sold Georgia its new voting equipment, is owned in America, not Venezuela as Trump claimed. Dominion is privately owned by a New York-based private equity firm called Staple Street Capital Management.

In addition, Raffensperger makes clear that ballot harvesting is illegal in Georgia under a state law passed last year. Absentee ballots can only be handled by a voter, a close family member or the caregiver of a disabled voter.

8 a.m.

Some key counties finished, others resume work

Two major metro Atlanta counties finished their work on the risk-limiting audit Sunday. Fulton County, Georgia’s most populous, concluded its recount just before 4 p.m.

DeKalb County finished shortly after 10 p.m. and planned to formally submit its results to the Secretary of State’s office Monday morning.

Cobb County, Gwinnett County and other jurisdictions resumed counting Monday morning as well. A potential timeline for Cobb’s completion was unclear; Gwinnett officials said they expected to finish Monday night or Tuesday morning.

“I think we have probably a good day with the paper ballots tomorrow,” Gwinnett spokesman Joe Sorenson said Sunday. “It’s gone very well.”

Results for all of Georgia’s 159 counties will be released all at once after every county finishes.

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