11/6/18 - Atlanta - The wait time to vote at the Pittman Park precinct in Atlanta was reported to be three hours. Pizza and snacks were donated for the people waiting in line. BOB ANDRES / BANDRES@AJC.COM
Photo: Bob Andres/bandres@ajc.com
Photo: Bob Andres/bandres@ajc.com

Georgia election officials required to add more absentee votes

Election officials across Georgia must revise their election results to include absentee ballots that were rejected solely because of an missing or incorrect date of birth, according to a memo Thursday from Secretary of State Robyn Crittenden.

Crittenden told the state’s 159 county election offices said they’ll have to re-certify election results by 5 p.m. Friday if their vote totals change from the numbers they reported Tuesday.

Her instructions are based on a federal judge’s order late Wednesday that absentee ballots shouldn’t have been rejected solely because of omitted or erroneous birthdate information. U.S. District Judge Steve Jones ruled that votes should count if their legitimacy can be verified without birthdate information.

It’s unclear how many votes could be added to the totals as a result of the judge’s ruling. As of Nov. 8, there were 703 ballots rejected statewide because of birthdate issues, but there could be more that election officials categorized differently.

Democrat Stacey Abrams would need to gain more than 17,500 votes to force a runoff against Republican Brian Kemp for governor. In the 7th Congressional District, Democrat Carolyn Bourdeaux trails Republican U.S. Rep Rob Woodall by 533 votes.

Once the revised vote counts are submitted to the state, Crittenden can certify the election results. A different federal judge previously prevented her from certifying the election before 5 p.m. Friday.

Crittenden previously instructed counties to count ballots with incorrect birthdate information. Fulton, Cobb, Henry and DeKalb counties reported that their vote counts already include absentee ballots with birthdate discrepancies.

In Gwinnett, which had the most rejected absentee ballots in the state, election workers were tabulating almost 500 ballots, including 364 that had been rejected for year of birth issues.

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