The race in Georgia is tightening. While some people on the ground scramble to count votes quickly, fairly, and accurately, others in the Peach State have reported issues, making the small margins in the presidential and Senate race even more delicate.
As of 10:15 a.m. ET, President Donald J. Trump was leading the state with 49.57 percent of the vote while Democratic Presidential Nominee Joe Biden barely trailed with 49.2 percent of the vote.
In the race for U.S. Senate, incumbent Republican Sen. David Perdue led the pack with 50.03 percent of the vote while his challenger, Democrat Jon Ossoff, followed with 47.66 percent. Libertarian candidate Shane Hazel was resting at 2.31 percent. If the gap between Perdue and Osoff narrows any further, dropping Perdue below 50 percent, the race could head to a runoff election.
Perdue’s Campaign Manager Ben Fry said in a statement on Thursday afternoon, however, that the Senator’s team is not worried about Perdue losing in a runoff.
“There’s only one candidate in this race who has ever lost a runoff, and it isn’t David Perdue,” he said.
While precincts are technically 100 percent reported, at least 14 counties are still processing absentee and other types of mail-in or provisional ballots, keeping a nation and world eager to see which presidential candidate will reach the coveted 270 electoral votes first on the edge of their seats.
Thursday morning, the Georgia Secretary of State’s office reported that counties were processing more than 60,000 remaining absentee ballots excluding provisional ballots, military and overseas ballots, and ballots that must be cured or corrected by Friday.
Big takeaway from Georgia Secretary of State right now: About 60,000 votes left to count, including 11,200 in Fulton Co (Atlanta) and 17,157 in Chatham Co (Savannah).
— Lew Turner (@LewTurner) November 5, 2020
“Fast is great, and we appreciate fast. But we more appreciate accuracy,” said Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger in a press conference Thursday morning.
“Fast is great, and we appreciate fast. But we more appreciate accuracy,” says Georgia Secretary of State, adding that it’s the first time in 20 years they’ve used paper ballots #Election2020 pic.twitter.com/2SEsIRQZdm
— Fintan Walsh (@FintanYTWalsh) November 5, 2020
“Fast is great and we appreciate fast. We more appreciate accuracy,” he says.
Just over 60,000 votes remaining to be counted, could go into the evening, he says
— Tal Kopan (@TalKopan) November 5, 2020
A full tabulation of Fulton County to add to Georgia’s totals was expected by 12 p.m. local time, but Raffensperger said reporting will probably extend into Thursday evening.
Sun rising out windows as workers finish up all night of processing last absentee ballots in Fulton County…should finish scanning by 9am then added to Georgia election total by noon pic.twitter.com/TXP2ek5UGh
— Steve Gehlbach (@SteveGWSB) November 5, 2020
While Fulton County, home to Atlanta, is well on its way to being fully reported, other Georgia counties such as Gwinnett are struggling to keep up.
Adjudication panels have started looking at outstanding ballots in @GwinnettGov . Process could take 3 days for 3200 batches of ballets . Thousands of Gwinnett ballots not added to public totals yet . @wsbtv pic.twitter.com/h3fUvBInuh
— Tony Thomas (@TonyThomasWSB) November 5, 2020
There are also reports of election violations in both Fulton and Chatham counties.
Georgia Republican Party Chairman David Shafer tweeted Wednesday that workers in Fulton County prevented Republican observers from monitoring voting tabulation and ballot counting. In Chatham, home to the city of Savannah, Shafer reported that observers “watched an unidentified woman mix over 50 ballots into a stack of uncounted absentee ballots.”
Fulton County told our observers last night to go home because they were closing up and then continued to count ballots in secret.
— David Shafer (@DavidShafer) November 4, 2020
A few minutes ago in Chatham County, our observers watched an unidentifiable woman mix over 50 ballots into the stack of uncounted absentee ballots.
— David Shafer (@DavidShafer) November 4, 2020
These alleged violations, Shafer said, forced the Georgia Republican Party and the Trump Campaign to file a joint lawsuit against the Chatham County Board of Elections demanding that they “enforce Georgia election laws, secure lawful absentee ballots, and prevent the unlawful counting of ballots received after the election.”
According to Georgia law, ballots in counties must be received by 7 p.m. on Election Day to be valid.
“An unlawfully counted vote suppresses a lawful voter as thoroughly as if that voter was physically barred from voting at the polling place,” Shafer said in a statement released on Wednesday.
Shafer noted that the Georgia Republican Party previously filed an amicus brief opposing the New Georgia Project’s unsuccessful attempt to permit ballots received after 7 p.m. to be counted. He also signaled the Party’s intent to file more lawsuits in “as many as a dozen counties.”
While Georgia has been a historically red state, its political margins have narrowed in recent election years, with Democrats gaining ground to close the gap.
In 2016, Trump beat out former Democratic Presidential Nominee Hillary Clinton in the Peach State with 50.4 percent of the vote, just more than 200,000 votes.
Both Trump and Biden visited the state in the last month, anticipating the closeness of the race for the Southern state with the president making his final stop in Rome two days before Election Day.