Georgia election officials give update on Senate runoff elections; talk ‘unprecedented’ voter turnout

Georgia election officials give update on Senate runoff elections; talk ‘unprecedented’ voter turnout
2020 elections (Source: WALB)

ATLANTA (WALB) - The Georgia Secretary of State’s Office gave an update on the Georgia runoff elections Wednesday morning.

Gabriel Sterling, a top official in the Georgia Secretary of State’s Office, said as of 10 a.m. Wednesday, there are several counties that have to add absentee ballots to their results.

Sterling highlighted the following counties:

  • DeKalb - 17,902 absentee ballots
  • Henry - 9,078
  • Cobb - 5,896
  • Chatham - 5,318
  • Fulton - 5,294
  • Gwinnett - 5,068
  • Thomas - 2,078
  • Bryan - 1,515
  • Merriwhether - 1,325
  • Dougherty - 1,200
  • Fayette - 1,139
  • Forsyth - 752
The remaining ballots are absentee ballots that came in on Tuesday, according to Sterling.
The remaining ballots are absentee ballots that came in on Tuesday, according to Sterling. (Source: WALB)

The remaining ballots are absentee ballots that came in on Tuesday, according to Sterling. These ballots have been checked in but not scanned as part of the results yet.

Sterling said these numbers are fluid and will change as these counties are still adding to the results. The Secretary of State’s Office has requested that they get all the absentee ballots counted by 1 p.m. Wednesday.

Sterling said most counties will make this deadline and others are working diligently to get in the results.

“These folks are all tired,” Sterling said of election workers. “But they are doing their best to get these results quickly.”

So far, 1.3 million voters were cast on Election Day votes, 2.7 million early votes were cast and 1.1 million absentee by mail votes have been counted, according to Sterling.

Sterling said the voter turnout in the runoffs broke the record of the runoff election for Saxby Chambliss, which was over 2 million votes.

Along with asking for absentee ballots, the Secretary of State’s Office is also asking for provisional ballots as well. An estimate, right now, for provisional ballots is over 10,000, according to Sterling.

“A couple of things happened there,” Sterling said of higher Election Day turnout.

Sterling said some of what happened was President Donald Trump encouraging people not to use mail-in and early voting and that “some people were going to skip it altogether.” Sterling also said there was a big push to get people out voting on Election Day, mostly from the Republican side.

The election official also addressed ways people were voting amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“There is nothing new here,” Sterling said of ways to vote, like absentee ballots. “These are all tools that have been available. Georgia is historically an in-person voting state.”

It’s very easy to vote. It’s very hard to cheat.”
Sterling said of voting in the Peach State

Sterling was asked where the blame lies on the Republican Party for their defeat in the Peach State.

“President Donald J. Trump,” Sterling replied.

Sterling said the claims of things like saying don’t go out and vote “sparked a civil war within a GOP that needed to be united to get through a fight like this.”

Sterling said you need to have a unified team with a unified message.

“It irritates me,” Sterling, a Republican, said of these claims.

Sterling said claims made on both sides, even dating back to the 2016 election, “is a bi-partisan problem.”


Where the races stand now:

Sterling said it looks like Jon Ossoff could be within the margin to avoid a recount in the race against Sen. David Perdue. If Ossoff is out of the threshold for a recount, so will Raphael Warnock in the race against Sen. Kelly Loeffler, since he already has more votes than Ossoff.

Sterling also said Lauren Bubba McDonald has continued to maintain his lead but could likely be within the recount margin in the Georgia Public Service Commission race.


Sterling also thanked election workers for their tireless work during this election season and for launching a new voting system, especially amid a pandemic.

Sterling also said there was record turnout in “each and every election we saw.”

“That is unprecedented,” he said of the elections.

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