President Trump said in a tweet Friday that it’s time for Georgia to “move on” from Tuesday’s election. The drama over the heated race for governor is still playing out in election offices. But it may end by the middle of next week when Tuesday’s election is likely to become official.
Reider Bjornard’s first election was in 1962. He was among the hundreds of thousands of Georgians who went to the polls Tuesday. But because the 100-year-old retired theologian forgot his ID, he had to cast a provisional ballot Tuesday, compelling him to make the Friday drive to the DeKalb election office to get his provisional ballot verified.
"He wanted to make sure his vote was counted and we wanted to make sure it was counted as well," said John Hyatt, Bjornard's son-in-law.
In a governor’s election pitting the state’s chief election officer, Republican Brian Kemp, against a voter registration activist, Democrat Stacey Abrams, the last minute tangle over getting votes counted was perhaps predictable.
In Gwinnett and DeKalb counties, where technical glitches yielded long lines of voters Tuesday – county offices were planning to stay open late Friday to take voters verifying their provisional ballots. But most counties are already done verifying the 21,190 provisional votes cast.
Provisional ballots are cast when there's a discrepancy in the county's voting records. The voter can cast a ballot, but must produce paperwork after the election that explains the discrepancy. It can be as simple as an absence of identification, as in Bjornard's case.
First-time voter William Whatley also had to cast a provisional ballot Tuesday because, he says, the record of his voting address mysteriously changed. He too had to make the Friday drive to the county office to verify his info for county officials to count his provisional ballot.
"I know it’s a civic duty that I have to be a part of, especially because it’s so close," Whatley said. "Like I have to come and fix it. It’s just a pain."
By Tuesday, the 159 counties will certify the results. The state elections board is due to certify them Wednesday.