Gwinnett has about 1,500 provisional ballots from the 7th District

Gwinnett County election officials were working through thousands of paper ballots.

Gwinnett County election officials were working through thousands of paper ballots.

Gwinnett County has around 1,500 provisional ballots that it believes were cast in the election for Georgia's 7th Congressional District — a tightly contested race that remains in limbo.

Gwinnett spokesman Joe Sorenson said a total of about 2,500 provisional ballots were issued across the county, which has drawn scrutiny over several voter access issues this election season. Sorenson also confirmed the estimated number of provisional ballots believed to be tied to the 7th district, where Democrat Carolyn Bourdeaux is narrowly trailing incumbent Republican Rob Woodall.

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Provisional ballots allow voters with eligibility questions — like a lack of ID or signature mismatches — to cast their ballots at the polls, but they require those issues to be resolved before the ballot is actually counted. Gwinnett announced Thursday that it was extending its elections office hours to allow provisional voters more time to produce the extra documentation to have their ballots verified.

The office, located at 455 Grayson Highway in Lawrenceville, was scheduled to remain open until 8 p.m. on both Thursday and Friday.

The 7th district also includes a significant chunk of neighboring Forsyth County and, even if a significant number of the provisional ballots were verified and counted, it would likely be a tall task to push Bourdeaux past Woodall.

But the Bourdeaux camp which has signaled that its best potential path to victory may be through a recount, which they can request if the candidates are divided by less than 1 percent of the vote.

Bourdeaux is currently within that margin. The campaign issued new calls Thursday for provisional voters to get their ballots verified.

“This race is as close as it’s ever been,” Bourdeaux spokesman Jake Best said. “Everyone in the 7th district deserves to have their voice heard. We are committed to ensuring that every vote cast in this election is counted, and we will be working hard over the next few days to make that happen.”

Woodall has admitted that the close nature of the race is disappointing but said Wednesday he was confident in the ultimate outcome.

“We’re going to make sure that every vote gets counted, that every issue is going to be resolved,” he said in an interview with the AJC. “And at the end of the day we’re going to have a count and I’m going to be prepared to live with that count.”