ATLANTA (AP) – Supporters for both presidential candidates were racing to find everyone in Georgia who submitted an erroneous ballot before time ran out on Friday to correct paperwork in one. the race can be decided by the narrowest margin.
A few hours before the 5pm deadline, Christin Clatterbuck and Sarah Meng, along with about 20 other volunteers, plan to visit locations in Gwinnett County outside of Atlanta to look for voters whose initial but rejected ballots are can be edited with a signature or ID.
Cam Ashling, a Democrat activist who held a small effort, gave instructions and a little talk. “Never has it been more true now that every vote counts,”; she shouted beside a pickup truck with a bed full of snacks, water, and a large bottle of hand sanitizer.
Clatterbuck and Meng drove through the suburbs in their small SUV. They walked past rose bushes to knock on the door of a house in Lilburn, where they were looking for a 19-year-old voter. Her father responded and promised to call her into college.
Other questionable ballots are dropped by people who are not on the electoral roll, who need to explain why. They must correct or “correct” their ballot by the deadline to count them.
No one knows how many erroneous ballots need correcting. Each of the state’s 159 counties keeps its own tally.
At the second home, Clatterbuck and Meng could not find the voter, but a friend let her on the phone. She did not sign her ballot.
“As you know, it’s very important. Today is at least five o’clock, ”Meng said, detailing what to do.
Alex Upreti promises to help a friend correct her vote. Meng and Clatterbuck cheered.
This pair does not hit every house on the list. They decided to bypass a house where an SUV on the driveway was labeled “Blue Lives Matter” to show support for law enforcement in the face of Black Lives Matter protests against demise. police violence and racism injustice. The sticker shows the house possibly being occupied by a supporter of President Donald Trump, a Republican.
Over two hours, they knocked on the door 10 times. Half of the voters said they fixed the problems. No one answered in the three families. The two then received more addresses to check and set out again.
Counties are required to contact the voter with the problem ballot so they can be corrected. Both political parties have those lists and are on the way.
“The voters I talked to, they were talking like four,” said State Rep. Bee Nguyen, an Atlanta Democrat, who went door-to-door on Wednesday in DeKalb County.
Some volunteers tried to get voters with problems with their ballots.
“It definitely hits or misses like anything. Think of a telemarketer, ”says Aklima Khondoker, director of All Voting is Local of Georgia. “Typically to me, when a strange phone number comes up, I think it’s spam.”
Cobb County Republican President Jason Shepherd sent a call Thursday to volunteers to help the state party, saying that Republicans are trying to fix the problems with temporary ballots. State GOP Political Director Joe Proenza passed the comment of a Trump campaign spokesperson who didn’t respond to the email.
Democrat Joe Biden is ahead of President Donald Trump in Georgia by about 4,200 votes on Friday afternoon, but the final results won’t be known for days. Under Georgia law, a candidate can request a recount if the difference is less than half of a percentage point. Biden leads less than a tenth of the percentage point.
The AP news agency did not declare a winner in Georgia as the race was still too early to call. The state’s 16 electoral votes could bring Biden’s election in his quest to find the 270 votes needed to win the presidency.
Thousands of absentee ballots are still being counted, the foreign secretary’s office said. Another 8,400 ballots sent to servicemen and overseas voters may be counted if received by the Friday deadline. Counties also have provisional ballots for consideration.
Gabriel Sterling, who has overseen the implementation of Georgia’s new e-voting system, said the state’s counties have been working diligently to complete the tabulation of the results. He emphasized his belief in the legitimacy of the process. All claims with evidence will be investigated, he added.
“When you have a narrow margin, the little things can make a difference. So everything will have to be investigated to protect the integrity of the ballot, ”Sterling said.
After each county certifies its total number of votes, the state runs its own test before issuing its own certification. Counties must certify their results by November 13 and the state must certify them by November 20.
Associated Press writers Michael Warren and Jeff Amy of Atlanta; Russ Bynum of Savannah, Georgia; and Jeffrey Collins of Columbia, South Carolina, contributed.
Find the complete AP election information at https://apnews.com/hub/election-2020