FLOYD COUNTY, Ga. (NewsNation Now) — Georgia state officials are calling on the Floyd County elections manager to step down after it was announced that 2,600 ballots were not uploaded to the state’s computer system on election night.
The ballots were not uploaded due to a human error rather than equipment error, according to Gabriel Sterling, an official with Georgia’s Secretary of State. The ballots changed the margin by about 800 ballots toward President Donald Trump, slightly reducing Biden’s lead in the state from just over 14,100 to approximately 13,300.
“The secretary and our office is perturbed to say the least,” Sterling said in a media briefing.
Serling said those votes would not change the outcome of the election.
“This is why you do these audits,” Sterling said. “Since this was such an amazing blunder, the secretary… would like to see that elections director in Floyd County step down from his position because this was too important of an issue to allow it to happen this way.”
The state is sending an investigator to the county, and Sterling said this was the only county that seen an issue so far.
County election board Chairman Tom Rees said it appears the ballots were cast during in-person early voting but election officials weren’t sure how they were missed.
The county elections office suffered several setbacks, including a top official being infected by the coronavirus, and it seems proper procedures weren’t followed when the results were tabulated by machine, Sterling said. But the county had the paper ballots and caught the problem during the hand tally, he said.
A hand tally of the nearly 5 million votes cast in the presidential race in Georgia entered its fourth day Monday.
The hand count stems from a state law that calls for one race to be audited to ensure the new election machines counted the votes accurately. It was not the result of any suspected problems with the results or an official recount request.
Once the tally is complete and the results are certified, the losing campaign can request a recount, which would be done using scanners that read and tally the votes.
The AP has not declared a winner in Georgia, where Biden leads Trump by 0.3 percentage points. There is no mandatory recount law in Georgia, but state law provides that option to a trailing candidate if the margin is less than 0.5 percentage points. It is AP’s practice not to call a race that is – or is likely to become – subject to a recount.
Full statement from Floyd County
The Floyd County Board of Elections is investigating to determine the cause for the discrepancy between the machine and hand count of ballots for the Nov. 3 election. We welcome any assistance the Secretary of State’s office can provide that is statutorily available.
We cannot comment on any personnel issues, but the public will be notified of any actions that are taken.
We are thankful for the hard work of our dedicated poll workers who performed the recount and the opportunity to ensure that all of our citizens’ votes count.DR. MELANIE CONRAD, FLOYD COUNTY BOARD OF ELECTIONS
The Associated Press contributed to this report.