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Georgia Politics

Monitors Closely Observing Audit-Triggered Full Hand Recount: Transparency is Built Into Process

How’s the ballot audit going in Georgia? Here’s some detail with a Saturday morning update.

Monitors from state and county party organizations will be closely observing the statewide full hand recount, which was triggered by Georgia’s first statewide Risk Limiting Audit. From the beginning of planning, the Secretary of State’s office has made sure to instruct counties to allow political party organizations to observe the audit/recount throughout the process.

“Transparency is indispensable for ensuring confidence in the outcome of Georgia’s elections, which is why I have instructed county elections officials to ensure political party monitors can watch every step of the way,” said Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger. “Providing access and oversight of the full hand recount process has been part of the planning since the beginning. We have encouraged counties to livestream their recounts when possible and have made sure political parties can ensure a clean and fair recount in Georgia. Transparency should be a guiding principle in how counties are conducting the audit. While there are rules in place that allow counties to keep order, the more transparency they can provide the better while still ensuring an orderly process.”

Georgia counties were required to begin their statewide Risk Limiting Audit triggered full hand recounts by 9 am on Friday, November 13. The counties must finish their recounts by 11:59 pm on Wednesday, November 18. As prescribed by Georgia law, the Secretary of State’s office will then certify statewide election results after completion of the audit, by November 20.

Per the instructions given to counties as they conduct their audit triggered full hand recounts, designated monitors will be given complete access to observe the process from the beginning. While the audit triggered recount must be open to the public and media, designated monitors will be able to observe more closely. The general public and the press will be restricted to a public viewing area. Designated monitors will be able to watch the recount while standing close to the elections workers conducting the recount.

Political parties are allowed to designate a minimum of two monitors per county at a ratio of one monitor per party for every ten audit boards in a county. If DeKalb County, for example, has 75 audit teams, each political party would be allowed to designate 8 monitors to monitor the process. Beyond being able to watch to ensure the recount is conducted fairly and securely, the two-person audit boards conducting the hand recount call out the votes as they are recounted, providing monitors and the public an additional way to keep tabs on the process.

The instructions for the audit triggered hand recount build in transparency and provide ample opportunity for party organizations and the voters of Georgia to be confident of a fair and secure process.

On 9:00 A.M. on Saturday, November 14, 2020 – the SOS office provided this update:

The first full day of counting in the full hand tallying audit went smoothly. Over 1.1 million ballots were hand counted across the state. This constitutes approximately 20% of ballots. As with any new process there were some questions and e are aware of one county who mistakenly though they could hand sort and then use machines to then count the sorted stacks. That is incorrect and not allowed in this process. They will have to recount those batches by hand.

Approximately 50 counties completed their work yesterday.

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