Vote counting continues after problems in Georgia’s primary

Voters wait in long lines, at times in the rain, at New Beginnings Full Gospel Church on Tuesday, June 9, 2020. The lines were taking more than 3.5 hours. This polling location opened at 7 am with only one machine of the four available working and had two of the four working at 4:30 and were not providing provisional ballots. (Jenni Girtman for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Election workers resumed counting votes Wednesday morning as they scanned hundreds of thousands of last-minute absentee ballots in Georgia's primary, leaving the final result of races unsettled.

The time it takes to count so many paper ballots was expected in an election where a record number of Georgians — over 1.1 million — voted from home during the coronavirus pandemic.

>>RESULTS: Georgia election results

>>PHOTOS: Georgia voters struggle with long lines, new equipment

But the uncertainty left voters and candidates waiting. It’s unclear whether counting would be completed Wednesday, but officials have warned the process could take a few days.

After voters waited in long lines Tuesday, most in-person votes cast on the state's new voting computers were counted late Tuesday night. Those votes, cast on printed-out paper ballots, were stored on optical scanning machines, making them easy to tabulate after polls closed.

But opening, scanning and counting absentee ballots takes longer. Absentee ballots will be counted if they were received by election officials by 7 p.m. Tuesday. Those received late will be rejected.

Voters whose absentee ballots are rejected will be contacted and given an opportunity to correct errors, such as missing information or mismatched signatures. Those votes would then be counted.

None of metro Atlanta’s four core counties — Cobb, DeKalb, Fulton and Gwinnett — reported complete results Wednesday morning.

Candidates won’t officially be declared as winners until election officials certify results. County election officials have 10 days to finalize their results, and then the secretary of state’s office has seven days after that to certify state results.

Races in which no candidate received more than 50% of votes will head to runoffs to be held Aug. 11.