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Gwinnett finishes vote count, certifies election

By Amanda C. Coyne, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

(CNT) City News Talk #atlanta-ga

Almost a week after Election Day, Gwinnett County is officially done counting more than 416,000 votes.

The Gwinnett County Board of Voter Registration and Elections met Monday morning to approve provisional ballots, which are votes cast on paper when a voter cannot be found on a polling place’s voter roll or does not have proper identification. Those who cast provisional ballots must cure them by presenting proof of address or ID. 

Of 935 provisional ballots cast, 669 were approved by the board Monday and added to Georgia’s total vote count. Once the final ballots were counted and submitted to the state, the board certified the election results, formally bringing the count to a close.

Gwinnett’s transit referendum was still incredibly close when the vote count was complete. “No” slightly led, with 50.13% of the vote — just 1,013 votes ahead of “Yes.” Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said there will be a statewide recount in Georgia. The transit referendum will be included in that recount.

The race for president in Georgia also remains extremely close, though President-elect Joe Biden’s lead grew over President Donald Trump past 10,000 votes over the weekend. It had been as close as 1,500 votes at some points in the days following the election. While Georgia has not been called for either candidate, the Associated Press and many other major media outlets called the national race in Biden’s favor on Saturday morning. After Monday’s provisional ballots were approved, 407 more votes were added to Biden’s total in Georgia and 247 were added to Trump’s. Biden won 58.43% of the county’s vote, more than 18 points ahead of Trump’s 40.21%.

Gwinnett’s vote count took nearly a week in part due to a series of software glitches from the state’s new elections system, run by Dominion Voting Systems. Elections workers repeatedly endured issues when trying to submit totals to the state, and an election night software error forced the county to re-adjudicate thousands of absentee ballots that had already been processed. Alice O’Lenick, a Republican member of the Board of Voter Registration and Elections, said she was frustrated to have seen the persistent technological issues drag out the process despite elections workers’ dedicated work.

“I’ve never seen an election — presidential, board, local, whatever — that had so many hangups to it,” O’Lenick said. “I would just like to say that I am very disappointed in the system, but I am never and would never be disappointed in this staff … My confidence in the Dominion system has waned.”