A fourth county in Georgia discovered a memory card with uncounted votes during a hand audit, officials said late Wednesday.
“They did their hand count and they realized they had more ballots than they had votes put into the election management system. They went back and audited and realized, ‘we forgot to upload one memory card from one precinct,’” Gabriel Sterling, the state’s voting systems manager, told reporters during a virtual briefing.
On the card were 156 votes for Biden, 128 votes for Trump, seven for Libertarian nominee Jo Jorgensen, and two others.
Taking into account all the uncounted ballots found during the audit, Biden’s lead over Trump dropped from 14,156 to 12,781.
Sterling also acknowledged that a recount monitor caught a 9,626-vote error but dismissed it as “a non-event.”
“But it does help stir the pot to a degree, which is unfortunate, and this is why you don’t release interim audit results, because it can be confusing for people from the outside looking in,” he said.
Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden enters The Queen theater in Wilmington, Del., on Nov. 18, 2020. (Tom Brenner/Reuters)
Alleged mismanagement of the election by officials in Georgia has led to calls for Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, a Republican whose office Sterling works for, to resign. Sens. Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.) and David Perdue (R-Ga.) joined the calls this week.
Raffensperger, who has delegated press conferences to Sterling while giving interviews to media outlets that oppose Trump, has declined to step down.
“When people say I’m not Republican, it’s crazy talk,” he said on CNN’s “The Lead” on Thursday. “And at the end of the day, when people want to create a distinction among the Republican party [during] a runoff race, it’s not helpful to the person, the candidate,” he added, saying he would not comment further.
Loeffler and Perdue are in runoff elections for the seats they hold. The runoffs will take place in January 2021.
Georgia’s audit was scheduled to end by midnight Wednesday but some counties were racing to finish before the deadline. At least 21 counties were still conducting the audit several hours before the cutoff. Officials planned to release a final report on the audit on Thursday. The deadline for Georgia to certify election results is on Friday.
The audit was ordered by state Raffensperger because of the small margin between Biden and Trump.
Trump’s campaign may still request a recount following the the state’s certification, per state law.
Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger speaks during a news conference in Atlanta, Ga., on Nov. 11, 2020. (Brynn Anderson/AP Photo)
Raffensperger said officials “have not seen any widespread voter fraud” and attributed the uncounted ballots to “clerical errors,” not voting machines.
“I don’t believe at the end of the day it will change the total results,” he said. When asked if Biden would remain in the lead, he added, “I believe that’s the way it till turn out.”
Trump has repeatedly knocked Raffensperger and the recount, calling it “a joke” in a tweet on Wednesday and asserting that “thousands of fraudulent votes have been found.” Affidavits indicate the recount has been plagued by anomalies.
Regarding criticism from Trump over the three batches of uncounted ballots that were discovered, Sterling told reporters: “The president’s tweets, basically saying, talking about fraudulent votes—again, it’s a little ironic because he has actually gained votes from this process. So we are diligently following our law.”
Still, Sterling undercut Raffensperger’s statement on fraud by telling reporters, “We know, as in every election in the history of United States in the history of mankind, there are people who voted who shouldn’t have: there are double voters, there are potential felon voters, there are people who are out-of-state voters.”
“We know they are there but we have not [sic] enough evidence to say that they reached a level 13,000 or so of them,” he added.