Georgia's Margin Shrinks As Ballot Count Continues Normally
On the second day after polls closed in Georgia, less than 5% of the state's record 1.3 million absentee-by-mail votes cast in the election still needed to be processed and tabulated, with President Trump's lead growing slimmer by the hour.
According to the secretary of state's office Thursday morning, about 61,000 absentee ballots needed to be uploaded from a handful of Georgia counties, with more provisional, military and overseas votes also being processed in the coming days. As of 2:45 p.m. that number was down to around 48,000.
Gabriel Sterling, statewide implementation manager for the secretary of state's office, told a crowd of reporters that the post-election counting process taking this long is normal, but having a tightly contested high-profile race that will be decided by a small number of votes is not.
"Fast is great, and we appreciate fast — we more appreciate accuracy," he said. "Accuracy is key and vital to all of our processes."
Watch Sterling's Election Briefing
All absentee ballots still left were received before the deadline of 7 p.m. Tuesday, but different counties with different staffing levels took different amounts of time to handle the processing and counting.
According to data from the secretary of state's office Thursday morning, totals ranged from 17,000 still to be counted in Chatham County on the coast to fewer than 500 ballots in rural Taylor and Burke counties.
As of 5 p.m. Thursday, some of those ballots had been processed, and Trump's lead over former Vice President Joe Biden had been cut down to about 9,000 votes.
Counties must complete a post-election audit of a statewide race to be announced by the secretary of state before their certification deadline of Nov. 13, and after the state certifies results, any candidate that is within half a percentage point of their opponent can request a recount.