By Tia Lynn Ivey
After completing the second recount of all ballots cast in Morgan County for the 2020 Presidential Election, Morgan County Board of Elections and Registration unanimously voted to re-certify the election results on Friday, Dec. 4. Georgia re-certified the statewide election results on Monday, Dec. 7, securing Georgia’s 16 electoral votes for Joe Biden. Biden won Georgia by roughly 12,000 votes.
According to Elections Director Jennifer Doran, the second recount only changed the outcome by two votes.
“While the ballots cast and number of votes for the Presidential race have not changed, the votes for each candidate slightly changed,” said Doran. “ I do not know why there is a difference. We are talking about two [ballots] out of almost 12,000 votes cast, so the very slight variation is not appreciable.”
The final results after the second recount last week amounted to 8,231 votes cast for President Donald Trump, 3,353 votes cast for President-Elect Joe Biden, 122 votes cast for Libertarian Jo Jorgensen. A total of 11,765 votes were cast in total, yielding a 79.36 percent voter turnout for the 2020 General Election. Morgan County has a total of 14,824 active voters registered. For the 2020 Election, 2,429 Morgan County voters showed up in person to cast ballots on Election Day, 7,314 Morgan County voters cast ballots during the early voting window, 2,017 voted by absentee ballots, and there were five provisional ballots counted.
Last week’s recount, was done by machine, with election worker manually re-scanning ballots into voting machines to be tabulated. The first recount was by hand and completed on Monday, Nov. 16.
“The audit shows that the voting system is counting the way it is supposed to be counting and voters can have confidence in the election process,” said Doran after the recount by hand was completed. “The count from the audit was off by two from the certified election results. We had three audit teams, each with two workers. When you get humans involved in counting, sometimes the count will be off. With the count difference being so small, we are satisfied with the results.”
For the machine recount, Doran and another election worker scanned each and every ballot.
“The process is going very smoothly so far, and we have not had any unexpected issues come up,” said Doran last week when the recount was nearing completion. “Between the hand count audit that we did a couple weeks ago and the recount we are conducting right now, I think the results accurately reflect the votes that were cast by our voters.”
Doran addressed the rampant rumors of voter fraud, dispelling any accusation of foul play involved in Morgan County’s election process.
“There has been a lot of talk of fraud regarding absentee ballots and the signatures, so I wanted to address it,” said Doran. “Voters’ signatures have been verified by our office before the ballots are accepted and counted. Our office checks the voter’s signature when they apply for an absentee ballot, and then we check the voter’s signature on the ballot envelope when it is returned. If the signatures do not match, there is a signature cure process for the voter.”
The latest recount was requested by President Donald Trump due to President-Elect Joe Biden’s margin of victory in Georgia being under 0.5 percent. It is the President’s legal right to request a recount after the vote has been certified when the race outcome is under half a percentage point. All Georgia counties conducted a machine recount last week of more than 5 million votes statewide, after performing a hand-recount mid-November.
The cost to conduct the recount will be footed by Georgia taxpayers. The current vote count has Biden winning the Peach State by just under 12,000 votes. State election officials re-certified the election results on Dec. 7, rejecting allegations of election rigging and widespread voter fraud.