Troup County election audit finds few issues, will not be used as official total

Published 4:55 pm Wednesday, November 18, 2020

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The Troup County elections office finished its hand recount and risk-limiting audit Monday morning, with few differences from the initial count.

In the recount, Donald Trump’s total (18,146) and Libertarian Jo Jorgenson’s total (328) remained the same. Joe Biden’s total was originally 11,585 but was 11,582 in the recount.

The total number of ballots cast was originally counted at 30,194. In the recount it was 10 less, at 30,184.
The discrepancies were caused by write-in ballots that were re-examined by the bipartisan vote review panel, county Elections and Registration Supervisor Andrew Harper said.

“The panel interpreted the write-ins on election day differently,” Harper said.

Some write-ins may have been deemed valid but were later deemed invalid, or vice versa, Harper said. Valid write-ins are when a voter writes a name that has qualified as a write-in candidate in Georgia, whereas invalid write-ins are people who vote “Jesus” or “Mickey Mouse,” Harper said.

The three less votes for Biden could have been ballots where people simply wrote “Joe” or “Harris,” and those ballots were later deemed invalid by the panel, Harper said. The decision to declare write-ins valid or invalid was up to the panel, he added.

The number of invalid write-in votes was 47 and the valid write-ins was 13 in the recount. There were also 68 people who left the presidency blank in the recount numbers.

On Tuesday, state elections officials announced that the results of the manual recount will not be used as the official count in the presidential race. The Secretary of State’s office had originally combined a recount with the risk-limiting audit mandated by state law, but SoS lawyers later determined the recount shouldn’t replace the machine count, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. However, untabulated ballots that were found in Floyd, Fayette and Walton counties will be added to the total.