MONROE, Ga. — Missing votes found during an audit of Georgia’s razor-thin presidential election won’t be enough to keep down-ballot races from going to a runoff.
Walton was one of three counties where it was discovered that a processing error revealed some votes weren’t counted on election night. Locally, it was 284 ballots found at the Between precinct.
Lori Wood, chairwoman of the Walton County Board of Elections, said a memory card from one of two scanners at the polling place didn’t get uploaded, causing those votes not to be added to the tabulation.
Those votes netted 176 votes to President Donald Trump’s edge in Walton County, a Republican stronghold the Republican carried easily. Final numbers show Trump at 37,842 votes locally, or 74.06% of the 51,095 votes cast for president.
Democrat Joe Biden, the president-elect, finished at 12,682 (24.82%). Libertarian Jo Jorgensen was a distant third at 571 (1.12%).
As of 4 p.m. Tuesday, Biden had a lead of 13,977 votes out of nearly 5 million cast in the state.
Gabriel Sterling, a top elections official in the Georgia secretary of state’s office, tweeted Tuesday night that votes found in Fayette, Floyd and Walton counties will be added to all races where the affected voters picked candidates. However, he said those won’t be enough to negate the need for two runoffs.
The votes that were found through our audit process here in Georgia in Floyd, Fayette, and Walton counties will be added to all races where votes were cast on those ballots. Both Senator Perdue and Bubba McDonald are still in runoffs even with these vote additions. #gapol— Gabriel Sterling (@GabrielSterling) November 18, 2020
The regularly scheduled Senate race, for the seat held by Republican David Perdue, is going to a Jan. 5 runoff. He faces Democratic challenger Jon Ossoff. Also going to a runoff is the District 4 race on the Public Service Commission, where incumbent Lauren “Bubba” McDonald fell just short of the 50%-plus-one mark needed and will face Democrat Daniel Blackman.
Meanwhile, the discovery of missing votes didn’t go unnoticed by Trump loyalists who have insisted — without proof — their candidate is having the election stolen.
Jason Miller, a senior adviser to Trump’s campaign, shared a Walton Tribune story on the discovered votes.
“The American people deserve to have honesty, transparency and full confidence in their elections, which is why President Trump and Georgia Republicans will not rest until every legal vote is counted,” Savannah Viar, the Georgia press secretary for Trump Victory, said in a statement.