Muscogee County finishes audit of election ballots

Muscogee County finishes audit of election ballots

COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - Muscogee County volunteers finished auditing the 81,000 ballots Tuesday night, but a recount could be ordered for the presidential race by the losing candidate if within a 0.5 margin.

The recount can be done only after the state certifies all 159 Georgia counties by Friday’s deadline.

Muscogee County’s results from the audit led by a bipartisan group of volunteers indicate that the results were even across the board, showing little differences to the counts of all ballots cast from before and on election day.

Nancy Boren, Muscogee County elections supervisor, shared what’s next.

“The next steps in our mind after we certified the results of the election for the office of president and after every county has completed their certifications by midnight Wednesday, then the state will certify that presidential race and all other races Friday." After Friday, a recount could be requested,” said Boren.

Gabriel Sterling, Georgia’s voting implementation manager, said there is an investigation into Floyd County after discovering there were 2,600 uncounted ballots.

Besides that, he said most counties are reporting accurate audit counts.

“Many of the counties are coming back on spot dead on. They have no more votes, no less votes. The vote counts are coming out the same,” said Sterling.

Sterling said the unofficial breakdown of the ballots audited so far gives President Donald Trump roughly 1,600 votes. This would cut the margin at roughly 14,000 what it is not, but keep President-elect Joe Biden in the lead.

“Under state law, the second-place finisher if within point five or lower percent of the first-place finisher may ask for a recount,” Sterling said.

“That recount would be on the actual machines on the counter that you see behind me,” Boren said.

Sterling said if a recount is ordered following the state’s certification on Friday, counties like Muscogee County would use a scanner to tally up every single ballot’s presidential pick.

As of Tuesday, of the five billion ballots cast in the general election, Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said they are down to the last 300,000 that still need to be audited.

Sterling also mentioned information about Senator Lindsey Graham suggesting that Raffensperger should throw out legally cast ballots.

Sterling shared this is how he interpreted the situation.

“What I heard was basically discussions about absentee ballots and if there was a percentage of signatures that weren’t really truly matching, is there some point you could get to where you throw out all these ballots because we have no way of knowing because the ballots are all separated," Sterling said. "I can see how Senator Graham views it and I can see how Secretary Raffensperger viewed it.”

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