- Multiple news outlets declared former Vice 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
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.
Here is a recap of updates from Sunday
10:45 p.m. Sunday
DeKalb County finishes counting, will transmit results Monday
DeKalb County finished counting ballots shortly after 10 p.m. Sunday, a county spokesperson said. The county will transmit the results to the Secretary of State’s Office on Monday morning.
DeKalb election workers counted some 373,000 ballots by hand over two days.
Elections director Erica Hamilton said the counters “worked tirelessly, while under a spotlight, and we’re proud of our collaborative efforts across the county and with the City of Stonecrest to make this happen. You can count on DeKalb.”
Gwinnett County expects to finish recount Monday night or Tuesday morning
Gwinnett County has finished retallying all of its absentee ballots, said Joe Sorenson, a county spokesperson. But he expects it will take a full day — or longer — to finish counting the rest of the in-person, machine votes.
“I think we have probably a good day with the paper ballots tomorrow,” Sorenson said. “It’s gone very well.”
Sorenson the county was behind on data entry, and would redirect some people Monday toward inputting the tally sheets from the teams who are auditing batches of ballots. He said there was more than a day’s worth of data entry to catch up on and he expected the county to finish its efforts Monday night or Tuesday morning.
On Sunday, Sorenson said, teams were told at 5 p.m. to finish out their batches and go home. Until then, he said, workers were going “full steam ahead.”
“We let the steam off a little bit today to give people a chance to rest,” he said.
Cobb County finishes counting for the night
After Cobb County stopped counting Sunday around 6 p.m., Elections Director Janine Eveler said workers had input 270,000 votes in the ARLO system.
She added, “There are many more ballots that have been audited and not entered yet.”
More than 390,000 people cast votes in the presidential race in Cobb.
Eveler said she was not calculating the cost of the manual recount, which will resume Monday at 8 a.m.
Chatham County nearing finish line as ballot counting continues
By Will Peebles, Savannah Morning News
Sunday, Chatham County — As day three of Georgia’s hand recount began on Sunday, Chatham County Board of Elections had counted all but a few absentee ballots, all but one precinct of Election Day ballots, and had started counting early voting ballots.
In the BOE annex on Mall Terrace, Recount Manager Billy Wooten gave directions to the volunteers counting the ballots around 12:30 p.m. Inside the plexiglass viewing area, reporters and members of the public craned their necks to hear Wooten.
Wooten said the absentee ballots that remained were only a few batches that needed to go through the ballot review process — “not many at all,” Wooten said.
The in-person Election Day votes of only one of Chatham’s 91 precincts remained uncounted, and the rest of the tables had already moved on to tallying the 92,000 early votes cast in the county.
“We may, and I’m not promising, we may get through those crates today,” Wooten said.
Poll workers from both parties hovered around the counting space inside the bustling annex warehouse, stopping at tables here and there to take a closer look.
The poll workers counting ballots worked from noon to 6 p.m. on Sunday. Wooten said the goal is not speed, but accuracy. And because of the progress they’ve made ahead of the Wednesday deadline, they have the chance to take their time and make sure the count is accurate.
Fulton finishes counting votes for presidential recount
One recount team of two people were counting the final Fulton County ballots just before 4 p.m. Sunday.
Spokeswoman Jessica Corbitt said the recount finished sooner than expected because of the number of volunteers who showed up to count.
The plan was to have 130 teams of two counting but 172 teams started the recount Saturday morning she said, and worked up to 10 hours.
Corbitt said officials worked to set up an efficient process for the recount. More than 10 runners were dispersed around the room to pick up ballots or answer questions when counters raised a paper that displayed a checkmark, which meant they had finished a batch of ballots, or a question mark indicating they needed something.
Fulton brought in six people to enter the tally numbers into the computer for the Secretary of State’s office. Saturday there was only one person entering the data.
“We’re happy that it’s gone well,” Corbitt said. “It’s gone smoothly.”
Corbitt said she was unclear on how the Secretary of State’s office will inform the county on the results.
Some final steps are planned Monday for the data or reviews, but the counting itself for the recount is complete.
DeKalb expects to wrap up today
DeKalb County should finish its ballot counting by 6 p.m. today, election director Erica Hamilton said Sunday.
By early afternoon, most workers had already left, though counting continued at a handful of tables. As things wound down, there appeared to be more Democratic and Republican monitors than workers actually doing the counting.
Shortly after 3 p.m., Hamilton said about 9,000 ballots still needed to be counted. A small number also must be carefully examined to determine a voter’s intent. That adjudication was scheduled to begin about 3:30 p.m. and will also be finished by 6 p.m., she said.
DeKalb had about 373,000 ballots to count, which began early Saturday.
“It was as seamless process,” Hamilton said. “It took a very aggressive approach to get that done.”
Gwinnett details remaining steps in recount
Kristi Royston, Gwinnett County’s elections supervisor, said Sunday afternoon that she has been pleased with how smoothly the process has gone.
She reiterated that she believes the hand counting will finish Monday and hopes that the data entry teams will be able to finish inputting all the results by Tuesday.
Royston said the workers are under deadlines with every election, but the intensity during this recount has been kicked up a few notches.
She noted that 58% of the votes cast in 2020 came in before election day. Gwinnett had 416,458 votes cast. That is 71% of eligible voters.
End of recount getting close for some
Biden’s legal team praises recount in Georgia
Lawyers for the Biden campaign said Sunday afternoon that the first days of Georgia’s recount have proven that the state’s voting system “accurately counted the votes.”
“After two-and-a-half days of this audit, we continue to agree with the secretary of state that there is no reason to believe that any widespread irregularities have been found,” Patrick Moore, president of Biden’s legal team, told reporters during a conference call. “A number of ballots have been recounted at this point. We’ve not seen any evidence of irregularities whatsoever.”
Moore and Marc Elias, chair of Perkins Coie’s Political Law Group, said initial recount results have proven that the retallies will not dramatically change the vote totals Biden and Trump received in each of Georgia’s 159 counties. And they were dismissive of the lawsuits filed by the Trump campaign and its supporters challenging vote counting procedures.
“We are confident that the (recount) is going to affirm that more Georgians voted for president-elect Biden than voted for President Trump,” said Elias. “There’s nothing that the recount’s going to do to change that, and there’s nothing that any of these meritless lawsuits are going to do to change that.”
Gwinnett won’t finish recount work today, will resume Monday
Gwinnett County communication director Joe Sorenson said at 1:44 p.m. that the Board of Voter Registration and Elections believes it can finish the recount by Monday.
Sorenson said it might have been able to finish Sunday evening, but many of the workers were getting tired. Rather than risk mistake by the workers, the Sunday recount will finish about 5 p.m., rather than push into the night.
Then the workers will return Monday morning for a fresh start. The team will also add people to the tabulation teams, which are inputting the recount data into the computer system, which goes straight to the Secretary of State’s office.
Gwinnett cannot tell how many votes have been recounted so far because the the data is input into that office.
Workers entering recounted votes into Gwinnett County’s database began working in teams of two at each station after some monitors suggested Saturday that a single data entry person at each station could be a point where mistakes could be made.
This morning several dozen observers from the Republican and Democratic parties, and two from Atlanta’s Carter Center, were on hand monitoring the counts in Gwinnett County.
Recount to resume in Effingham County on Monday
Effingham County poll workers will get back to work Monday on the hand recount in the Georgia presidential race.
Effingham got through 14,000 ballots Friday, putting them in good shape to finish the presidential race recount by the state deadline of midnight Wednesday.
Olivia Morgan, the director of elections and registration, said the crew worked from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and will return Monday at 9 a.m.
“I feel pretty confident that we should be able to wrap things up on Monday or Tuesday,” she said.
They are counting ballots cast by 31,677 people in the Nov. 3 election.
Two members of the Republican Party and two members of the Democratic Party watched the recount. Members of the public also are welcome to watch.
Morgan had said beginning a hand recount on Friday the 13th was par for the course for 2020.
“It’s 2020,” she said. “They’re not making our job easy this year.”
The three full-time employees of the elections office were joined by eight poll workers in performing the hand count. Four teams of two workers pulled the paper ballots out of boxes, put them in separate stacks based on whether the vote was for Joe Biden or Donald Trump, then counted the stacks and put the numbers into the computer.
Fulton emphasizing data entry as counting enters final stretch
Less than 20 teams of two were still counting ballots at the Georgia World Congress Center early Sunday afternoon, a sparse number compared to the 170 pairs that Fulton County deployed on Saturday.
Fulton County spokeswoman Jessica Corbitt said that as volunteers finish recounting, the tallies are being given to a data entry workers at the back of the room. Today there six data entry people, increased from one on Saturday. The tallies are entered in the computer and sent to the Secretary of State’s office.
Corbitt said the county won’t know if the recount numbers match until they are informed by the SOS office.
The recount teams are counting batches of votes ranging from a few hundred to 3,000 depending on the polling place that they are from.
Recount watchers weigh in
Sara Tindall Ghazal was on hand to observe the vote tallying in Cobb for the Democratic Party. A former statehouse candidate and ex-head of the state Democratic Party’s voter protection initiative, Ghazal said everyone should be assured of the security of the election.
“The county workers are working incredibly hard on very detailed work to try and make sure that every ballot gets recounted by hand,” she said. “Recounts don’t result in changes of more than a handful of ballots so we are going to see exactly what we saw which is that president elect Biden was chosen by the voters of Georgia.”
Scott Johnson, former chair of the Cobb GOP, was observing at Jim Miller Park Sunday. He expressed concern that the recount was not verifying the validity of mail-in ballots.
“I think the process that’s going on here today is going smoothly and very well," Johnson said. "Is it enough to assure a fully free and fair election? I’m not convinced of that.”
Johnson said it was important to be thorough in a race that is decided by a fraction of a percentage point and said he would accept the outcome of the recount.
“Like all Americans, under the rules that we have to work with, I’ll accept the outcome and know that we’re all Americans, it’s a great country and we’ll move forward together," he said.
In DeKalb, observer Garland Favorito of the Constitution Party of Georgia said the counting has gone well with one exception. Favorito said observers were not able to get a close look at the table where the ballot tallies were entered into a spreadsheet and shared with the Secretary of State’s Office. When observers objected, the elections department moved the table so observers could get a better look.
“I think things are going well,” Favorito said Sunday morning. “We needed to do this hand count and audit so we can verify the electronic results.”
Gwinnett details ballots that faced signature questions
During the recount, President Donald Trump and his allies have raised questions about mail-in ballots that came in without signatures, or that had questionable signatures.
Gwinnett County reports that there were 1,214 of those from its precincts.
Joe Sorenson, Gwinnett County’s director of communications, said 789 arrived without signatures. Voters were notified and had time to come in and “cure” the ballot by providing evidence that they were the voter behind the ballot. Sorenson said 472 of the ballots in question were cured, 317 were not.
There were 425 ballots marked as a signature mismatch. Of those, 259 were cured and 166 were not.
Fulton aims to wrap up hand count by early afternoon
Top Fulton officials reported being “way ahead of schedule” in retallying the county’s more than 528,000 ballots on Sunday morning and said most hand counting work should be completed by early afternoon.
“Due to the hard work of county employees and others who stepped forward to help us with this effort, which we did not anticipate, we are finishing in record time," Fulton County Commission Chairman Robb Pitts told reporters at the Georgia World Congress Center.
Richard Barron, Fulton’s director of registration and elections, said approximately 30 two-person vote counting teams are still working but are expected to wrap up in the next few hours.
Pitts said the county has uploaded the tallies from roughly 100,000 ballots to the state, and Barron said that process is the biggest bottleneck at the moment. Barron said is goal is to finish uploading the data by close of business Monday.
“All of my staff is tired. They probably don’t remember the last time they had a day off. But we made it happen, and I think we’re going to be finished ahead of schedule,” Barron said.
Cobb more than halfway through recount
Several dozen elections observers were on the ground Sunday in Cobb County as workers continued to recount the nearly 394,000 ballots cast for president.
Elections Director Janine Eveler says the county is more than halfway through its hand recount but did not provide exact numbers Sunday morning. There are currently 40 two-person vote counting teams working.
“There is a lot of passion among the observers, but nothing out of hand," Eveler said in an email.
DeKalb: Recount more than 80% complete
DeKalb County is more than 80% of the way through the 373,000 ballots it must recount, Voter Registration and Elections Director Erica Hamilton said shortly before 10 a.m.
“We made a lot of progress yesterday. We got through absentee by mail and election day (ballots),” Hamilton said. “Now we’re working on the last of advanced in-person.”
Some 150 people – working in 75 teams of two – are counting Biden and Trump ballots at a former Sam’s Club in Stonecrest. DeKalb began its recount on Saturday and continued the count Sunday morning.
Hamilton did not believe the recount would be finished Sunday in DeKalb.
“We’re going to work toward tomorrow being the goal,” she said. “But we still have until 11:59 (p.m.) on Wednesday just to make sure everything’s in place and correct.”
Inside Gwinnett County’s recount operation
Thirty-seven pairs of vote counters in Gwinnett County continued the finger-numbing task of tallying more than 400,000 votes Sunday morning.
Several dozen observers from the Republican and Democratic parties, and two from Atlanta’s Carter Center, were on hand monitoring the counts.
This is the first U.S. election the Carter Center has participated in, though it has monitored more than 100 foreign elections for fairness.
The center took a role disseminating information about the process, but did not send out observers until the recount. It said it wants to ensure fairness and build voter confidence in the final results.
Gwinnett Communications Director Joe Sorenson said the county believes it will make the deadline for the recount.
Here’s a look from inside the Gwinnett County Board of Voter Registration and Elections facility in Lawrenceville:
DeKalb health chief outlines COVID safeguards for recount
With hundreds of workers and observers on hand for the recount, DeKalb County is taking numerous precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Dr. Elizabeth Ford, district health director for DeKalb County, said everyone who enters the recount facility – a former Sam’s Club in Stonecrest – must get a temperature screen and wear a standardized mask, which are provided by the county.
“No homemade masks, no random masks,” Ford said. “You either have to have a surgical mask or an N-95 mask.”
Volunteers walk around the room, making sure people are wearing masks properly.
“As you’re speaking, you know, your mask can slide down,” she said. “So we’re making sure that everyone keeps their masks on, including the observers and the monitors.”
After the workers break for lunch, they get a fresh mask and the tables they use for counting are sanitized. They’re also sanitized at the shift change. And the county also has face shields and gloves for those who want them.
“We are doing everything we can to make sure this it kept is as safe as possible for everyone involved,” she said.
Trump doubles down on unsubstantiated recount criticism
President Donald Trump continued his broadside against the state’s recount on Sunday, tweeting that the effort “is a scam, means nothing," though there’s no evidence of widespread fraud or irregularities.
As he did on Saturday, Trump highlighted a legal settlement Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger made with the Democratic Party of Georgia last spring that tightened procedures for rejecting absentee ballots over the legitimacy of a voter’s signature.
As our colleague Alan Judd wrote yesterday, Trump’s tweets misrepresent the process for handling absentee ballots in Georgia and elsewhere. State and federal laws ensure ballot secrecy, and there’s never an attempt in recounts to match ballots to specific voters in the manner Trump appeared to advocate.
And no irregularities or major errors were spotted during the first two days of the recount, officials said Saturday.
Trump tagged Brian Kemp in his tweet, though the governor was not a party to the lawsuit.
Still, the president’s sustained criticism of Kemp and Raffensperger could have a lasting impact. Both men are up for reelection in 2022 and could be exposed to primary opponents if they remain on Trump’s bad side.