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DeKalb County recertifies election, adds 36 ballots

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DeKalb County recertifies election, adds 36 ballots

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FILE PHOTO USED FOR ILLUSTRATION PURPOSES: Sharon Saliba took part in a ‘Get out the Vote’ rally hosted by the Avondale Alliance for Racial Justice at the ArtLot in Avondale Estates on September 19, 2020. Photo by Dean Hesse.


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By Logan C. Ritchie, contributor 

DeKalb County, GA — Georgia’s audit and recount deadline expired at midnight, and DeKalb County scraped by with only a 36-count discrepancy.

DeKalb County Board of Voter Registration and Elections met today to recertify the Nov. 3 presidential election. A county official did not specify how many votes went to President Donald J. Trump or president-elect Joe Biden, who handily won the heavily-Democratic DeKalb County.

In a statement, DeKalb County Elections Director Erica Hamilton said:

“The DeKalb County Registration and Election Board recertified the Nov. 3 General Election at the suggestion of the Secretary of State.  A human error led to 36 ballots being omitted from the initial count, so it was corrected and the recertification completes the corrective action.  DeKalb immediately contacted the Georgia Secretary of State, upon discovery of the error. We have also worked to review all internal protocols with staff and personnel to ensure that every legal and verified ballot cast counts in our elections.”

Gabriel Sterling, Voting System Implementation Manager at the Georgia Secretary of State’s Office, said Wednesday errors found during the audit means the process is properly working. The human beings involved in the process are the most flawed part of the system, he said.

“[Election officials] are operating under the highest level of stress in the most contentious election of their work life,” he said.

David Shafer, chairman of the Georgia Republican Party, claimed in a tweet yesterday morning that a major error discovered in DeKalb County would “cancel out Trump’s gains from Fayette, Floyd, and Walton” counties.

He wrote on Twitter, “One of our monitors discovered a 9,626 vote error in the DeKalb County hand count. One batch was labeled 10,707 for Biden and 13 for Trump — an improbable margin even by DeKalb standards. The actual count for the batch was 1,081 for Biden and 13 for Trump.”

DeKalb County CEO Michael Thurmond issued a statement on Wednesday, noting the allegation against DeKalb was bogus.

Thurmond wrote, “This morning a serious allegation about a ‘9,626 vote error in the DeKalb County hand count’ was made on social media by David Shafer, chairman of the Georgia Republican Party. I immediately conducted a preliminary inquiry into the accuracy of his unsubstantiated tweet.”

Thurmond echoed Sterling’s comment that “if the scenario occurred as Chairman Shafer alleges, this is evidence that the checks and balances, established by Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to ensure the accuracy of the election results, performed as designed.”

The board meeting today lasted only a few minutes compared with prior meetings that have lasted hours. Members unanimously voted to recertify the election.

Board chair Sam Tillman said, “We have learned how to do this quickly.”

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