Dougherty Co. election workers conduct ‘risk-limiting’ audit

Published: Nov. 13, 2020 at 10:36 PM EST
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ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - The statewide “risk-limiting” audit is underway across Georgia.

Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger got to choose the race he wanted to audit, and he chose the presidential election.

No presidential candidate requested the audit.

“When we chose the risk-limiting audit internally in May and made the official designation in August, we knew there was a possibility that if you had races that were super-duper close, this is where you could end up. But of course, you think at the time, ‘That won’t happen. Whoever’s going to win these things is going to win by enough of a margin so won’t matter,’ but here we are," said Gabriel Sterling, Statewide Voting System Implementation manager.

This special type of audit differs slightly from a typical, post-election audit.

The Secretary of State's office says the results from the audit might be different from the...
The Secretary of State's office says the results from the audit might be different from the original election results.(WALB)

“You know, the main difference is a traditional audit, you would normally say, 'Okay, I’m gonna pick scanner, seven, and I’m gonna get the tape off that. Say this was, you know, 1000 for Donald Trump, 900 for Joe Biden, and 28 for Joe Jorgensen. You take all those ballots, you count those ballots individually, and say 'yes, the scanner was right, the audit has shown that the scanner as supposed to," said Sterling.

Friday’s process looked at every ballot cast from every machine in Dougherty County.

All 159 counties in the Peach State are doing the same.

“In every county, there are teams of auditors, there are two auditors, for every ballot to look at and say, 'Yes, this is what this is, this goes in the Donald Trump pile, this goes into a Biden pile, this goes in your Jorgeson pile, this goes in the blank pile, it gives an overfill pile, this goes on a pile for adjudication," said Sterling.

Because the audit is being conducted by hand, the Secretary of State’s Office says the results from the audit might be different from the original election results...but not enough to matter.

“Don’t expect it to match exactly, because there’s just no way you can do that when you have, you know, tens of thousands of human beings, counting 5,015,000 ballots so it’s gonna be a little bit different. And that’s not an indication there’s anything wrong, it’s perfectly normal. What you want to see is basically, it’s essentially gonna be about the same, we’re not gonna have a 15,000 vote swing that’s going to suddenly get us a new president more than likely, but that’s why you have the audit to prove that and show that as you move forward," said Sterling.

Monitors from both political parties were also in the room for the audit.

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