November 17, 2020–9:30 a.m.
Local officials are reacting to statements made by the Georgia Secretary of State’s office regarding the discovery of around 2,600 votes during the hand recount of the Presidential election in Floyd County.
Floyd County Commission Chairman Scotty Hancock said while the investigation is ongoing they do have somewhat of an idea of what happened.
“I just want to be clear that these were not 2,600 ballots that were stuck under somebody’s desk, and it was not a memory card issue that the secretary of state’s office put out,” Hancock said. “It was an issue with a scanner that had gone down and someone had scanned in the ballots, failed to adjudicate them, and then someone came in behind them and adjudicated them.”
Hancock also reacted to the call from Gabriel Sterling, the Voting System Implementation Manager at the Georgia Secretary of State’s Office, for Floyd County’s election director to step down.
“For a professional at the state level to go on the news during this difficult time that everyone has with elections and to say that is just very unprofessional,” he said. “I’ve never seen anything like it before. I don’t know why they would do that without even contacting us when they know that we’re still in the middle of trying to figure out what happened to the votes.”
Hancock added that local elections officials are meeting with a manager from Dominion Voting Systems to determine who made the error, their representative, or Floyd County’s rep.
“There may be some issue that we have in our local elections office, I’m not going to deny that,” Hancock said. “However, that’s up for our elections board to determine and to bring a recommendation on how to fix that problem to me as chairman of the county commission. That’s why we appoint a three-member citizen’s panel that runs the elections office. That way, it takes politics out of it. The problem we have today is that politics is involved in our elections and that’s what’s causing people to not have faith in our elections process.”
With the 2,600 ballots counted, Donald Trump picked up just shy of 800 additional votes, which is not enough to change the statewide outcome.
The manager of Georgia’s voting system is calling on Floyd County’s elections director to step down after more than 2,500 additional votes were discovered during the audit and hand recount of the Presidential election.
Garbriel Sterling, Voting System Implementation Manager at the Georgia Secretary of State’s Office, addressed the issue during a press conference on Zoom Monday evening.
“We already have an investigator looking into why it happened,” he said. “Obviously, the secretary and our whole office is perturbed, to say the least, that this was allowed to happen. It was the only county to have an issue like this, so far.”
He said the votes appear to be from in-person early ballots.
“Half of an early vote box essentially that did not get uploaded into their election night reporting system” Sterling added. “It’s unfortunate, but it’s not an equipment issue, it’s a person not executing the job properly. They’ve been hit with several things, we know that, but this is the kind of situation that requires a change at the top of their management.”
Sterling added the discovery of the votes changed the margin by about 800, which is not enough to affect the outcome statewide.
Floyd County Commission Chair Scotty Hancock told the Rome News-Tribune that elections officials are working with Dominion Voting Systems to determine where the breakdown occurred, adding “It was either their rep or our rep and when we find out who was responsible, we’ll take action.”
The newspaper also reported that local elections officials said that a replacement scanner apparently did not tabulate some of the ballots.