Digital ballot images made public under Georgia’s new voting law show nearly 200 ballots — including one for West — that election officials initially scanned two times last fall before a recount. There’s no indication any vote for president was counted more than once in official results.
The discovery of identical ballots provides evidence to back up allegations of problems in the presidential election, but on a relatively small scale that had no bearing on the final certified count. A group of voters seeking to prove the election was fraudulent say double-counting is just the beginning of what they hope to find.
“If we’re finding this in Fulton County, we’re probably going to find it throughout the state. The question is, why did it happen?” said David Cross, an investment manager working with the plaintiffs. “The simple fact that it happened and we found it here means that it probably occurred elsewhere.”
The ballots counted twice would have given Biden 27 extra votes. After a recount, official results reflected that Trump gained a total of 121 absentee votes in Fulton. Biden won the county with 73% of 524,000 votes cast.
The most obvious example of duplicates in the initial count occurred in a batch of 99 ballots first scanned the morning of Oct. 28, then scanned again about an hour later, with the second batch tallied in exact reverse order from the first. Those batches had 58 votes for Biden, 39 for Trump, one for Libertarian Jo Jorgensen and one for West.
Part or all of another batch of 98 ballots appeared to be scanned a second time within minutes on election night. Biden received 55 votes in the first of those batches and 56 in the second batch. Many of the ballots appeared to be identical.
“It’s something that should never happen,” said Mark Lindeman, acting co-director for Verified Voting, an election integrity organization focused on voting technology. “I’m not trying to make excuses for a blunder, but under really difficult circumstances, people do things that are inexplicable, and that seems to be the case here.”