There are still about 60,000 ballots left to count in Georgia as the presidential race there comes down to the wire, the Georgia secretary of state’s office announced in a press conference Thursday morning.
In a press release, the office confirmed that as of 9:15 a.m. ET, there were approximately 61,367 outstanding mail-in absentee ballots that remain uncounted.
The updated number came as a surprise to many watching the election closely, as only hours before, Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger indicated that the number of uncounted ballots was under 25,000.
During the press conference, when asked about the discrepancy, Georgia’s statewide voting system implementation manager, Gabriel Sterling, explained that the number could fluctuate as counties intermittently report results. He even said that some of the discrepancy could be due to the simple human error of precinct workers forgetting to hit “upload.”
He also described the number of absentee ballots as a “moving target,” but assured that all things are proceeding smoothly and accurately.
NEW: Georgia Secretary of State just said LIVE on Channel 2 that there are now under 25,000 ballots left to be counted and should be done by noon today.
— WSB-TV (@wsbtv) November 5, 2020
As it stands, President Trump still leads Democratic challenger Joe Biden by a margin of roughly 18,500 votes, but his lead has narrowed considerably as mail-in absentee ballots flow in, especially from predominantly Democratic counties like Fulton and Clayton counties.
Sterling said that as of Thursday morning, Fulton County, home to Atlanta, still had slightly over 11,000 ballots to count and Clayton County had roughly 7,000.
Sterling stressed that while state workers want to turn in results quickly, accuracy was far more important. He added that in addition to absentee ballots and provisional ballots, overseas military ballots would still need to be counted. Given the extremely narrow margin in the state, it is becoming increasingly likely that an official projection of who won the state will be delayed significantly and will likely be contested.
Under Georgia state law, if the final tally is within half of a percentage point, the losing candidate can request a recount.
The Trump campaign has already filed a lawsuit in Georgia over allegations that precinct workers in Democratic Chatham County mixed unprocessed absentee ballots into processed absentee ballots waiting to be tabulated. Lawsuits are expected in a dozen more Georgia counties.
If Biden were to win the typically Republican state, it would be a major pickup and almost assuredly point to a Biden presidency. Should Trump lose Georgia, he would need to win the remaining undetermined states — Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Arizona, and Nevada — to force an electoral tie.