Richmond and Columbia counties close in on historic ballot recount

Published: Nov. 30, 2020 at 4:08 PM EST
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - For the Richmond County Board of Elections staff, it’s the first time they’ve ever done a recount like this. They put 87,500 ballots back through their machines to likely finally determine the outcome of the Nov. 3 election.

In both Richmond and Columbia counties, it’s a historic recount.

“I would expect the results to be almost a mirror image of what we saw on election night,” Lynn Bailey with the Board of Elections said.

But it started slow for Bailey’s team in Richmond County. They spent time testing equipment Monday morning for the paper ballot recount.

“These scanners read 60 ballots a minute because they’re taking a digital image of the front and the back as they go through,” Bailey said.

It’s a new voting system, so it’s a new way to recount. But with six monitors in the room, election officials insist it’s accurate.

Mark Knoderer came to volunteer but instead stayed to watch the process unfold.

“I think with the testing being done that it will be done accurately,” he said.

In Columbia County, officials say it took them a little while to get used to this system, but they hope to be done by tomorrow.

“We just had the personnel that’s already been working with us throughout this election and had them come back in first for the audit and now this recount,” Nancy Gay with the Columbia County Board of Elections said.

She says she’s not sure how much this recount will cost. Richmond County expects about $4,000.

As part of their team works on absentee ballots for the runoff election, they are getting more than 1,000 requests a day and 17,000 have already been mailed out.

“Do not delay. Apply right now. Today. Apply for your absentee ballot by mail and give it maximum transit time to get back and forth,” Bailey said.

Richmond County’s goal is to be done by Tuesday by 6:00 p.m., and then their eyes shift fully towards the January runoff.

And you can still register to vote for the January runoff until Dec. 7. Early voting begins Dec. 14 in Richmond County at the Bell Auditorium.

Absentee ballot-drop boxes just opened today at five locations across Richmond County.

The deadline for counties across Georgia to complete the recount is Wednesday at midnight.

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