Fayette County, Georgia, finds 2,755 uncounted ballots


ATLANTA — A second Georgia county has uncovered a trove of votes not previously included in the election results, but it doesn’t change the overall outcome of the presidential race, the secretary of state’s office said Tuesday.

Fayette County failed to record 2,755 votes on a single memory card, said Gabriel Sterling, a top official in the secretary of state’s office. That doesn’t change the overall outcome of the race, in which Democrat Joe Biden leads Republican President Donald Trump.

The breakdown of the uncounted ballots was 1,577 for Trump, 1,128 for Biden, 43 for Libertarian Jo Jorgensen and seven write-ins, Sterling said.

The hand tally of the votes in the presidential race stems from part of a legally mandated audit to ensure the new election machines counted the votes accurately.

Election officials on Monday said Floyd County had found more than 2,500 ballots that hadn’t been previously scanned.

Both counties will have to recertify their results, and the margin between Trump and Biden will be about 13,000 votes when those previously uncounted votes are accounted for, Sterling said.

Also Tuesday, Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger announced that a random audit of a sample of Georgia’s new voting machines found no evidence of hacking or tampering.

Raffensperger last week asked Pro V&V, an Alabama-based testing laboratory, to do the audit, his office said in a news release. The company “found no evidence of the machines being tampered.”

“We are glad but not surprised that the audit of the state’s voting machines was an unqualified success,” Raffensperger said in the release.

The new election system the state bought last year from Dominion Voting Systems for more than $100 million includes touchscreen voting machines that print paper ballots that are read and tabulated by scanners.

The audit was done on a random sample of voting machines from Cobb, Douglas, Floyd, Morgan, Paulding and Spalding counties. The equipment tested included the touchscreen voting machines, precinct scanners and absentee ballot scanners.

The company took the software and firmware out of the equipment to check that the only software and firmware present was that certified for use by the secretary of state’s office, the release says.

Pro V&V is a voting system test laboratory that is certified by the U.S. Election Assistance Commission, which sets voluntary guidelines for election management and certification.

This equipment audit was separate from an audit of the presidential race that county election officials are currently wrapping up. An audit of one race is required by law to ensure that the new voting machines accurately counted the votes, not because of any suspected problems.

It was up to Raffensperger to select the race to be audited and he said the presidential race made the most sense because of its significance and the tight margin separating the candidates. Because of that small margin, Raffensperger said a full hand recount was necessary.

Election officials in the state’s 159 counties have until 11:59 p.m. Wednesday to finish the hand tally. The state certification deadline is Friday.

The secretary of state’s office originally said the results of the hand tally would be certified. But Gabriel Sterling, a top official in the agency, said Tuesday that the state would instead certify the results certified by the counties.

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