Review of Senate votes finds similar results in test of Georgia system

Poll watchers discuss a ballot as auditors sort ballots during an audit at the Chatham County Board of Elections Annex building, Saturday in Savannah, Ga. (AJC Photo/Stephen B. Morton)
Poll watchers discuss a ballot as auditors sort ballots during an audit at the Chatham County Board of Elections Annex building, Saturday in Savannah, Ga. (AJC Photo/Stephen B. Morton)

Credit: Stephen B. Morton for The Atlanta Journal Constitution

Credit: Stephen B. Morton for The Atlanta Journal Constitution

One county’s audit of Georgia’s voting system found just a five-vote difference between machine and hand totals in one of this month’s U.S. Senate runoff elections, according to findings released Thursday.

The manual review of 43,000 ballots cast in Bartow County should give voters confidence in the outcome of the race between Democrat Jon Ossoff and Republican David Perdue, county Elections Supervisor Joseph Kirk said.

“We know every voter’s vote was accurately counted in Bartow County because we checked — one ballot at a time,” Kirk wrote in an audit report. “Now that every vote cast in the state is recorded on a paper ballot, we can give our communities certainty and confidence that their votes were accurately recorded.”

Kirk conducted his county’s audit the same way as a statewide review of the presidential election in November.

After the Senate runoffs, which Ossoff won across Georgia by 1.2%, Kirk decided to do another hand tally to counter “a mountain of misinformation” about the state’s election equipment manufactured by Dominion Voting Systems.

Twenty-four workers conducted the audit over 9 1/2 hours last week, at a cost to the county of about $3,000.

The audit found a total of 89 votes that were different from the original count, usually caused by human errors when sorting ballots into piles of 10 each. Because those votes were distributed among both candidates, the overall count was only five votes off from official results, with Ossoff losing four votes and Perdue gaining one.

The audit doesn’t change the official results in Bartow, a mostly Republican county northwest of Atlanta where Perdue received 32,239 votes to Ossoff’s 10,735.

Bartow audit report

In Other News