DeKalb County continues hand count of ballots

Credit: Jason Getz /

Credit: Jason Getz /

DeKalb County continued a hand recount of ballots on Memorial Day Monday to determine the winner of a county commission race in the Democratic primary.

Programming errors made the initial election results of that District 2 commission race inaccurate and also caused problems with a recount that started Saturday.

Officials then announced they would begin a hand count of votes in 40 precincts. The process started Sunday afternoon.

It continued Monday, with DeKalb elections director Keisha Smith saying, “We are going to work as long as we can today, in hopes to finish tallying the votes.”

By early afternoon, workers had finished hand counting all of the election day ballots and started working through boxes of advance ballots.

Smith said the count could continue into the evening, depending on how much progress had been made.

Just after 5 p.m. she said the count of advance votes was almost complete, and the count would continue with absentee by mail ballots.

”I’m optimistic that we will finish up tonight,” Smith said.

Credit: Jason Getz /

Credit: Jason Getz /

Nineteen teams of three people each reported to a DeKalb County government warehouse to count ballots Monday, which Smith said was roughly triple the number of teams working on Sunday. She said that would make the process faster. A few teams had left by the end of the day.

”We are committed to this process and ensuring accuracy,” Smith said.

Candidate Michelle Long Spears had asked for a hand count last week, citing apparent problems in the results. Many polling places reported she received no votes on election day, even the precinct where she voted for herself.

The initial tally showed no candidate had enough votes to avoid a runoff, with Marshall Orson in first place, followed by Lauren Alexander and Spears. But the results could change with the recount.

The Secretary of State’s office attributed the problem to programming changes to voting equipment when a fourth candidate withdrew from the race and was removed from the ballot.

The DeKalb County Board of Elections is scheduled to certify the results Tuesday.