Focus is on absentee, provisional ballots in Georgia governor's race

GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. — There is a huge focus on provisional and absentee ballots in Georgia’s governor race.

In Gwinnett County, workers spent all day Wednesday carefully counting ballots.

Slowly, one by one, county workers and volunteers opened each absentee ballot mailed or dropped off to the county, then scanned or examined them.

The results are listed on long white register slips.

The absentee ballots are long and in two languages. All 19,600 of them are now tallied.

All that's left are about 2,400 provisional ballots, votes where the person's identity or voter status has been questioned.

“Regardless of popular belief, we do count every single absentee ballot that is accepted into this office,” Gwinnett County elections director Lynn Ledford said. "It's taken us a little bit longer and with the volume which was very unanticipated with this midterm election."


The latest numbers show nearly 60 percent of registered Gwinnett voters cast ballots

"I had to vote. It was my first time, and I was excited," voter Meynard Blake said.

In some voting precincts, voters waited in long lines to cast ballots. Technical issues at three sites and lost power cords at another helped push the wait times past three hours at times.

"It was really frustrating," voter Tonthalell Walters said.

Like every county in Georgia, Gwinnett officials will now focus on the provisional ballots and planning for the next election cycle.

Ledford said she expects a new voting system and big voter turnout will make 2020 just as challenging.

"It's a very good primer, I believe, for 2020," she said.

The election director said the issues Tuesday were with the machines, not the actual voter booths. They will be doing forensics to figure out what went wrong.