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Georgia hand tally of presidential race will get underway – NewsWeb

ATLANTA (AP) — Masked auditors in groups of two started counting ballots Friday in counties throughout Georgia, a hand tally of the presidential race that stems from a brand new state regulation.

The regulation requires that one race be audited to examine that new election machines counted the ballots precisely, not due to any suspected issues with the outcomes. Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger selected to audit the presidential race and mentioned the tight margin — Democrat Joe Biden leads Republican President Donald Trump by roughly 14,000 votes — meant a full hand depend was crucial.

Across the state, audit groups labored with paper ballots in batches, dividing them into piles for every candidate, earlier than counting every pile by hand. Bipartisan panels had been readily available to overview sure ballots, together with these the place the auditors couldn’t agree on the voter’s intent and people with write-in candidates.

Local Democratic and Republican events had been permitted to nominate one monitor for each 10 audit groups. The screens had been allowed to flow into among the many auditing stations however couldn’t contact ballots or file something. News media and members of the general public had been additionally allowed to look at however had been required to take action from a delegated space.

In Cobb County, in Atlanta’s suburbs, a number of dozen two-person audit groups sat at tables in a big room at a county occasion heart in Marietta as they started counting absentee ballots. One auditor picked up a poll learn the candidate’s title aloud after which handed it to the opposite auditor, who additionally mentioned the title earlier than inserting the poll in a tray marked with the candidate’s title.

As they labored, the room was quiet apart from the shuffling of papers and auditors saying, “Trump” or “Biden.”

The same scene occurred throughout Georgia’s 159 counties because the depend of practically 5 million votes started.

At the Chatham County board of elections annex, a cavernous warehouse on the south facet of Savannah, about 60 auditors carrying masks listened as a supervisor ran by means of how the method would work, then watched a coaching video earlier than starting the depend somewhat after 10 a.m.

At the Floyd County administration constructing in Rome, in north Georgia, pairs of masked auditors sitting at eight plastic folding tables had been sworn in at 9 a.m. and the ballots arrived a couple of minutes later.

In Fulton County, the state’s most populous, a 110,000-square-foot house on the Georgia World Congress Center in downtown Atlanta was being ready for coaching set Saturday for 125 two-person groups who shall be spaced aside to reduce the coronavirus danger, elections director Rick Barron advised a video information convention.

The county has 528,777 ballots to be recounted, Barron mentioned, including that he estimates it should take the groups two or three days to complete in the event that they work from 7 a.m. to five p.m. each day.

The county elections division has been arduous hit by the coronavirus. Two individuals within the absentee poll part had been contaminated within the spring, earlier than the first election, together with one who died. An further 26 staff in a warehouse the place election tools is ready and provides are saved examined optimistic final month.

“We’re in a really large facility, but there are risks when you have that many people gathering anywhere,” Barron mentioned. “If we weren’t able to spread out like this at Georgia World Congress, then we wouldn’t have that many people in there.”

Even because the depend started, Raffensperger was self-quarantining as a precaution after his spouse examined optimistic Thursday for the coronavirus. The secretary of state’s workplace has instructed county election officers to finish the audit by 11:59 p.m. Wednesday. The deadline for the state to certify the outcomes is Nov. 20.

Deputy Secretary of State Jordan Fuchs advised The Associated Press that Raffensperger examined detrimental for the virus and mentioned the secretary’s quarantine won’t have an effect on the audit.

The audit is a brand new requirement that was included in a 2019 regulation that offered tips used to buy a brand new $100 million election system from Dominion Voting Systems. It was as much as the secretary of state to decide on the race and Raffensperger mentioned the presidential race made probably the most sense due to its tight margin and nationwide significance.

But critics have accused him of caving to Trump after the president’s marketing campaign and state Republicans requested a hand recount. Raffensperger’s workplace has strongly denied that.

Critics have additionally argued {that a} full hand recount was not meant below Georgia’s new requirement and imposes an unnecessarily heavy and costly burden on county election officers.

The ultimate numbers within the audit depend will virtually actually differ from the numbers beforehand reported by the counties however the general final result ought to stay the identical, mentioned Gabriel Sterling, who oversaw the implementation of the state’s new voting system for the secretary of state’s workplace.

The outcomes won’t be launched piecemeal because the counties end counting however as a substitute shall be introduced as soon as the total tally is full, he mentioned, including that the outcomes of the brand new depend from the audit is what shall be licensed.

The AP has not declared a winner in Georgia, the place Biden leads Trump by 0.28 proportion factors. There is not any necessary recount regulation in Georgia, however state regulation supplies that choice to a trailing candidate if the margin is lower than 0.5 proportion factors.

Once the outcomes from the audit are licensed, the shedding marketing campaign can request that recount, which shall be performed utilizing scanners that learn and tally the votes, Raffensperger mentioned.


Associated Press photographers Mike Stewart in Marietta, Ga., Stephen B. Morton in Savannah, Ga., and Ben Gray in Rome, Ga., contributed reporting.

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