RELATED: Update on the vote count in metro Atlanta’s Fulton County
Georgia’s other U.S. Senate seat is already headed toward a Jan. 5 showdown, with incumbent Kelly Loeffler facing Democrat Raphael Warnock in the matchup.
The slow count put Georgia and a dwindling number of other battlegrounds in the spotlight as the undecided presidential race tightened with Biden flipping Arizona, Michigan and Wisconsin.
About 39,000 absentee ballots, mostly concentrated in metro Atlanta and Savannah, remained to be tallied. County election officials once promised to complete most of their counts Wednesday, but the timeline shifted to Thursday. There are also thousands of provisional ballots and military absentees to count over the next few days.
State elections officials say most of the counting of absentee ballots should be wrapped up Thursday, but they stressed that provisional ballots, military overseas votes and others won’t be tallied for days more. Gabriel Sterling, the state voting system implementation manager, urged Georgians to be patient.
“This is going to be an extremely close margin – especially in the presidential election,” he said, adding: “Fast is great. We appreciate fast. We more appreciate accuracy.”
The largest trove of absentee votes in the state that hadn’t yet been processed was in Chatham County, where about 17,000 ballots needed to be tallied. Several metro Atlanta counties had smaller batches of absentee ballots to process.
At stake are Georgia’s 16 electoral votes, which could be enough to give Biden the 270 votes needed nationwide to become president, according to counts by The Associated Press.
“I think it’s really close," said Deputy Secretary of State Jordan Fuchs, “and it could be as close as 1,000 votes.”