Investigators Admit that Georgia’s 2020 Vote Count was Flawed

ComposedPix /
ComposedPix /

A recent report released by state election investigators confirms what conservatives already knew: there were mistakes made in the Georgia election audit that centered around hotly contested Fulton County 

Per a consent order approved by the State Election Board, “The reported inconsistencies were the result of human error in entering the data, which were not discovered in time to make corrections due to time limitations in completing the risk-limiting audit and the sheer amount of ballots, and not due to intentional misconduct.”

The consent order quickly noted, “The discovered errors were a fractional number of the total votes counted and did not affect the result of the 2020 general election.” 

The mistakes included misallocated and double-counted votes and were blamed on “human error.” 

Ben Adida, executive director for VotingWorks, explains, “It’s not surprising that some mistakes were made in the process of counting more than 5 million ballots, and it’s important to analyze those mistakes, just like the secretary of state’s office did, to ensure that audit practices always improve over time.”

He emphasizes, “At the same time, the uncovered errors don’t change the outcome or effectiveness of the audit: The winner of the election in Georgia in 2020 was Joe Biden.”   

According to a letter from Fulton County, the blame is shared by VotingWorks, the firm that designed the auditing software used in Georgia. The software was slow in updating data, causing elections staff to re-enter numbers to ensure votes were captured. The six-day audit was rushed, leaving staffers little time to address errors. 

Although the audit counted around three thousand false absentee ballots for Biden, that total was not used in the final certified vote count. Fulton County contends that, despite multiple inaccuracies, the audit’s numbers aligned with the machine results. 

In all, the audit confirms that President Joe Biden won the state by only 12,000 votes. This finding was close to the machine count’s results for the state. 

Following the fallout and controversy behind Fulton County’s disputed election results, Georgia Republicans nominated former county commissioner Lee Morris to run the county’s Board of Registrations and Elections in May. He removed himself from the nomination following Democratic outrage.  

The strategy of removing Morris was clearly stated in the Washington Post. “Morris’s appointment would have given Republicans a majority on the Board of Registrations and Elections in a county that forms the core of metropolitan Atlanta and is governed by a majority-Democrat commission.”

The Post went on to note, “It has overwhelmingly favored Democratic candidates in recent elections and was a primary target of attacks and conspiracy theories by former president Donald Trump and his allies after Democrats flipped Georgia in the 2020 presidential election.” 

Despite the Post’s dire warnings on the inherent dangers of allowing a Republican to serve on the election board, Morris was originally nominated by Democratic Fulton Commission Chairman Robb Pitts. Additionally, Morris never disputed the 2020 election results in Georgia. 

Georgia Senator Josh McLaurin (D) said that while he believed Morris was a “nice guy,” he would likely side with Republicans to “restrict voting access.”  Georgia’s Democrats were opposed to new voting laws, claiming that they were designed for “voter suppression.” Despite the doom and gloom, however, voters turned out in record numbers, unimpeded by “Jim Crow 2.0 voter restrictions.”  

Still, McLaurin worries, “It’s about the institutional pressures created by his partisan affiliation and the partisan affiliation of the election deniers that the GOP is appointing to the board. He will not be able to say no to every single thing that they want and nothing he will ever do will satisfy them.” 

Because of the errors uncovered in Fulton County’s audits, state officials ordered new auditing procedures and increased training for elections staff.

State election board chairman Bill Duffey notes, “The performance review helped incentivize Fulton County to make improvements to their elections, which doesn’t surprise me. When under scrutiny, people do, in fact, change. There has to be an assurance of readiness for success in the 2024 election.” 

But the audit review did not turn up any state law violations, and the state board is satisfied with the planned improvements for future elections.

“Everybody involved in this process proved they were dedicated to making the experience for the voter and the results being trustworthy as their primary goal,” longtime GOP poll watcher Matt Mashburn explained. “Everybody acted toward that goal, and I think the talking heads were wrong.” 

Some conservatives may still be doubtful, however, as 12,000 votes is not a large margin of loss. In fact, some would argue, it’s exactly the amount needed to ensure a Biden victory.