ATLANTA — The hand recount of nearly 5 million ballots has begun in Georgia.
The recount was ordered by Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger after President-elect Joe Biden’s narrow victory over President Donald Trump in Georgia.
One county in Georgia has already completed their recount. Bacon County in southeast Georgia said that the results of their recount matched the initial vote tally. The county is heavily Republican and went 86% to 14% for President Donald Trump. Trump got 4,018 votes and Biden got 625.
Channel 2 investigative reporter Justin Gray was in Fulton County, where election workers will begin the count Saturday using a 110,000-square-foot space in the Georgia World Congress Center.
Election Director Richard Barron said the largest recount he’s ever been a part of involved just a hundred or so votes.
Fulton County election workers will have to count more than 500,000 ballots.
“We’re putting together 125 audit teams, and so, theoretically, it should take two todays,” Barron said. “Although I think that morning will probably get started a little slowly, then once people get used to the process, it will ramp up and get going.”
Fulton County election officials certified the election Friday during a virtual meeting. Election board members vowed that the recount would be fair and accurate.
Stay with Channel 2 Action News throughout the day on the recount progress
Election workers across the state have begun the historic recount and will most likely have to work overtime to get the job done.
“Under no means are we going to allow people’s vote to be thrown out that appropriately voted,” board member Aaron Johnson said.
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The deadline for all 159 counties to get their recounts to the secretary’s office is next Wednesday.
“This is very important to understand because right now there’s a swath of voters in this state and around the country that will say ‘those machines cheat,’ those machines ‘miscounted,’ ‘that guy lost,’” said Georgia Voter System Implementation Manager Gabriel Sterling.
The Secretary of State’s office chose the presidential race to audit because it’s close and it has nothing to do with pressure from the Trump campaign.
“The press has mischaracterized this at many ways as caving to the Trump campaign. There’s nothing that could be further from the truth,” Sterling said.
Election workers trained Thursday on how to tally the votes.
In Cobb County, the recount is underway at Jim Miller Park. There are 40 teams of 80 people. Each team of two works together to check a ballot and they must agree on its accuracy before its verified.
Cobb County Elections Director Janine Eveler says the county paired people up randomly so they’re not sitting with people they know.
Channel 2′s Cobb County Bureau Chief Chris Jose asked her to address concerns about the process.
“Well, I can’t address all the things that are all online, I don’t even read that most of the time but what we’re doing here is just counting the ballots that have already been reviewed that have already been counted,” Eveler said. “These are ballots have been determined to be valid because the signatures on the absentee mail applications and the registration record have already been verified so they have already been determined to be valid ballots. And they are just being recounted.”
Cobb County workers will be there until 6 p.m.
While most counties have begun their counting Friday, DeKalb County will begin on Saturday because election officials need more time to prepare.
“And so we want to make sure everything is in place, so I do not suggest us starting at 9 a.m. I think I’ll keep our start time at 7 a.m. on Saturday. It allows us to get everything in place,” DeKalb Elections Supervisor Erica Hamilton said.
Fulton County will also start their counting on Saturday morning.
“I have no doubt we will be successful,” said Fulton County Commission chairman Robb Pitts. “I’m comfortable we will be able to do it. It is just still sinking in. It was a surprise when it came down from the Secretary of State.”
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