Nov 18, 2020

Georgia Press Conference on Election Recount Updates Transcript November 18

Georgia Press Conference on Election Recount Updates Transcript November 18
RevBlogTranscriptsGeorgia Press Conference on Election Recount Updates Transcript November 18

Georgia election official Gabriel Sterling held a virtual press conference on November 18 to provide updates on the election recount. Read the transcript of the news briefing here.

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Gabriel Sterling : (00:00)
But there’s going to be a margin of, let’s say it’s 10%, the traditional or 5% of them, you would still do a state-wide audit. You would still build all these ballot manifests. You would still have all this tracking down the same way we did for this audit. That’s all done before we decide which race we’re going to do January. That does not necessarily, I’m not sure if the law triggers an audit for that one or not. We may want to do a risk on the audit just in case anyway, but it hasn’t been discussed yet. The law doesn’t necessarily call for it because it’s for a general election, this is a runoff election.

Gabriel Sterling : (00:33)
So what normally happens is you have a five or 10% margin, you still have all the ballot manifests. You still use the Arlo tool and you roll those Dungeons and dragons dice. Those 2010 sided dice, I told you before. You input those numbers into Arlo and it starts to give you out random ballots you need to choose from all over the state because it’s not a County by County audit. It is a statewide audit. So what you would normally do is if you were doing a risk-limiting audit with a wider margin, and I’m not the expert on this, and I’m sure I’m getting blasted on Twitter for trying to simplify this, but I’m trying to make it so people can understand the computer will say, “okay, [inaudible 00:01:12] County, you got to take ballot 73 out of batch seven,” and then they would put that down to their system and then put it into Arlo and send them the results of what that ballot was.

Gabriel Sterling : (01:22)
In Fulton County. You may have to pull four ballots. You got to pull ballot 103 from batch seven, ballot 7, 000 from batch 400, et cetera, et cetera. But from all around the state there, depending on the margin, there could be some counties that don’t have to pull any ballots, because what you’re trying to do is you’re trying to get tuition to a statistical level of confidence. And we set what that confidence level is. The state election board rule says it has to be 10% or less. In the particular case for this statewide audit, the risk limit is zero. So that’s why we’re touching and hand auditing every single ballot.

Gabriel Sterling : (01:57)
So hopefully there’ll be a wider margin in the January runoff, just for election administration purposes. I’m not talking about for outcome purposes if we decide to do something along those lines. But the law doesn’t require it. But I think maybe for competence, we might look at doing that as well. But again, that’s the secretary’s decision, not my decision.

Speaker 1: (02:18)
Okay. We have Julia Jester.

Julia Jester: (02:23)
Hi, thank you again for doing these. I have a question and then I have kind of a clarification question. I know that you mentioned before that someone had asked about a coordinated disinformation campaign. I know you guys have been transparent and getting as much as you can out, but Trump literally just tweeted a video from someone with Floyd County, Georgia with a video kind of alluding that there might be more ballots to be found there in addition to the ones that were discovered. Do you have any updates on the investigation into Floyd County that could kind of clear up any speculation that there might be other multiple boxes of ballots left to be found [crosstalk 00:03:10]-

Gabriel Sterling : (03:10)
There aren’t multiple boxes of ballots. We would’ve found them through the audit process. This audit process is going through its normal forms right now. One of the things he might be talking about there is that they had to re-scan their provisional ballots yesterday after they got through scanning all of the early vote ballots. And he might not have been aware of that beforehand. So if you’re not aware of things and it’s something different than it’s something new, it could be something bad. But it’s not. It’s just the process working its way through. The investigations, we can’t comment too much on ongoing investigations and frankly it’s been days and we’re still in the middle of the audit. So we’re all kind of focused on getting to the point where we can certify this election and get people the confidence that the audit shows that the outcome was correct.

Gabriel Sterling : (03:55)
And finding these four counties that have these issues either like Floyd, which is this very unique one where they didn’t’ scan ballots or the other three counties where they just realized, “Oh, we forgot to put these memory cards in the system.” None of that is great as far as election administration goes, you want everybody to do everything perfectly. But these are people under high stress times and the audit found the issue and corrected the issue. It’s doing its job. So that’s why we do these things to assure that the outcomes are correct and that every legal vote is counted. And the will of the people of Georgia is met.

Julia Jester: (04:29)
Have you had any private conversations with the Trump campaign and his allies about trying to stop the spread of possible conspiracy theories and [crosstalk 00:04:37]-

Gabriel Sterling : (04:37)
No, I’ve not had that. The best I can do is tweet back occasionally and occasionally on Facebook say, “This isn’t right.” But again, they have the right to question. We have a 1st Amendment in this country, they can ask questions. They can go to court. There’s all kinds of outlets for this. And I would like for every tweet in the world to ever be factual, that doesn’t exist in the real world of Twitter. I think we all know that. So I ask everybody to take what you hear on social media with a grain of salt, one way or the other.

Gabriel Sterling : (05:07)
When Stacey Abrams said that there was voter suppression and that she had a race stolen from her, a lot of people on one side of the aisle completely bought it and just disagree with any evidence the other side. And at the same time in this particular race where the President says this race is getting stolen, there’s a swath of people that no matter how many audits we do, no matter how much evidence we show, they will never believe that this race wasn’t stolen from the President. Our job is to follow the law, give as much information out there as we can, be as transparent as we can, and follow our processes so that the majority of people at least well understand and accept the outcome as the actual outcome of the election.

Julia Jester: (05:45)
Okay. And on the certification, the state has said it’s largely taking the machine recount the machine results for it’s certification processes-

Gabriel Sterling : (05:53)
It’s not largely taking [crosstalk 00:05:54], we’re taking everything we can put in the EMS. That’ll [crosstalk 00:05:56]-

Julia Jester: (05:58)
Yes, but [inaudible 00:05:57]. Right. So everything in the machine count is what’s going to be certified except for the counties that had those discrepancies, Floyd-

Gabriel Sterling : (06:08)
No, those are going to be part of the machine counts, obviously, because they’ve been scanned, they’ve been put on a memory card and they will be put into the EMS system.

Julia Jester: (06:15)
So, sorry, can you just-

Gabriel Sterling : (06:17)
Understand, each County, those four counties, their County election boards are coming together to re-certify those counts into our election management system. So we’re still following our legal process. The counties have to certify it. So their County elections boards will come together. They will vote to put these ballots in these counts that they had missed the first time into their final certified count. Then the state will take those and certify that. And that includes everything on those ballots. It’s not just President. So the Purdue race, the [inaudible 00:06:46] McDonald race, all the down-ballot races will be there. And just to preempt a question from other people, they are still about 12 or 13,000 votes away from avoiding a runoff. So they’re at a similar difference as the President is from being able to overtake a former Vice-President Biden. So that’s where we’re at with those. Does that answer your question?

Julia Jester: (07:05)
Yes. Just making sure that it wasn’t at first for counties that only had one or two-

Gabriel Sterling : (07:10)
Yeah, we’re not going to do the one or two, because the one or two you cannot tie back to, is it this precinct, this ballot, because that’s just a human thing. But when we find a swath of ballots like this, they are going to be put back in. The County election boards where we certify them, and then we will take those certifications and use that as our final state certification. So those numbers will be in the final counts that the state will certify.

Julia Jester: (07:33)
Okay, great. Thank you for that.

Speaker 1: (07:36)
Next is Robin MacDonald.

Robin McDonald: (07:40)
Hi, Gabe. It’s Robin McDonald from the Daily Report. I have a question for you and a follow-up. My first question is after the secretary of state had his phone call with Lindsey Graham, and I understand you were in the room, he said he consulted with attorneys before deciding not to re-en[inaudible 00:08:03]. First question is, who were those lawyers? Were they secretary of state’s general counsel? Outside counsel? From the attorney General’s office? Or SAG’s?

Gabriel Sterling : (08:13)
Okay. I wasn’t in the room. I was [crosstalk 00:08:15]-

Robin McDonald: (08:14)
All right, my apologies.

Gabriel Sterling : (08:16)
It’s okay, I’m just clarifying the report. So I don’t know. You’d have to ask the secretary and his attorneys that because I’m not sure who exactly that would have been. My best guess, it was probably our general counsel, but I don’t know that to be a fact. Do you have a follow-up on that one, Robin, because you’re muted again. Okay. Who’s next, Walter?

Robin McDonald: (08:42)

Gabriel Sterling : (08:43)
Okay, you go again.

Robin McDonald: (08:44)
It couldn’t make it unmute. Second part is, do you know why the decision was made not to re-engage especially given the U.S. Attorney General’s directive to U.S. attorneys to pursue election fraud?

Gabriel Sterling : (09:01)
No, you’d have to ask the secretary or his attorney that he con-

Gabriel Sterling : (09:03)
No, you’d have to ask the Secretary or his attorneys that he consulted with on that one.

Speaker 2: (09:05)

Gabriel Sterling : (09:06)
Thank you. Who’s next Walter?

Walter: (09:09)
Brendan Keefe.

Gabriel Sterling : (09:11)
Hi Brendan. You’re still muted. There you go.

Brendan Keefe: (09:14)
Yeah. Sorry. We were, Walter and I were pressing a button at the same time, thanks for keeping us informed, Gabe. This is very much appreciated. Sort of three related questions, if I may. The first is, do you expect to put out any numbers this evening? You’ve been keeping us updated as you’ve been getting new information, but for those of us planning to burn the midnight oil working tonight, can we expect any update before or around midnight or would it be tomorrow or Friday?

Gabriel Sterling : (09:44)
I’ll let you know. My best guess it will probably be tomorrow because we’ve got to tighten up, make sure the reporting is all straight and make sure that our outfits are going to be proper and appropriate because the last thing we want to do is give out incorrect information when we give out to everybody. So again, I will say this and I’ll keep pounding this mantra, fast is great and we love fast, but accuracy is more important, especially in a situation of such heightened awareness on everybody’s part now around the outcomes of this audit. So my best guess is the final report will probably be tomorrow. We may look at saying, well, here’s all the counties that have, everybody’s finished. Here’s the list of the counties that are finished, with maybe some basic numbers, more clarity on that at our four o’clock press conference, I can give you an exact amount. But my best guess is it’ll probably be tomorrow morning before we have a final output of everything that we’re at.

Brendan Keefe: (10:28)
All right. And also a lot of people not following this as closely as we are, don’t realize that even after certification, the losing candidate is entitled to a recount if the total is within 0.5%, the margin. Can you explain how that works and how that is a machine recount rather than another hand recount under state law?

Gabriel Sterling : (10:56)
Sure Brendan. As Brendan points out, under state law, right now we are in audit environments that is called for in our law that is precertification. Now once an election is certified, within 48 hours of that certification, the second place candidate, if they are within a half a point, may request a recount. Our state election board rule lays out how that recount will occur. During the procurement process, we got a pretty good deal out of the gate on our equipment. So a decision was made and directed by Secretary Raffensperger, knowing what we were seeing in terms of the state and the political directions that could be going in, that at some point, there may be a statewide recount. So for that purpose, for ease, for training, and for replacement parts and everything else, we decided to get everybody the ICC, which is the high capacity, high speed scanners that would be used mainly for absentee ballots, but also can be used for this recount situation.

Gabriel Sterling : (11:55)
So what we do is everybody has an ICC, the central scanner, and they would create a test deck themselves that they know the outcomes from the vote. So it would be, again as an example, 50 votes for President Trump, 45 votes for former Vice President Biden and five votes for Joe Jorgensen. So you would then run that through the scanner. You would close that election out. You would get the tape off of it. You would say, yes. It says, 50 votes for the President, 45 votes for the former Vice- President, and five votes for the libertarian candidate. And you would say, okay, this scanner is operating properly and will scan appropriately. So then you clear those off, you can zero out the scanner and then you go through the process of scanning every single ballot again. And they would have to be re adjudicated again, if there was anything where it was unclear as to what the voter intended, but those would be the recount results.

Gabriel Sterling : (12:54)
And that’s how you would get to those things. So they would be done on the scanner, you would load it into the EMS. You would find the outcomes from those, the likelihood of anything changing is even lower there than it is in this hand count, but it is the right of any second place candidate to do that. I would hope that the hand audit would show that yes, the equipment worked properly, the outcome is correct. And the victor and the second place finisher are in the right order and are the people as the voters of Georgia intended. But again, it is their right. I would hope that this hand audit will be enough to satisfy those that question it, but again, our job is to follow the law. And if it is requested, we will work with the counties to execute that recount.

Brendan Keefe: (13:35)
Last question Gabe, and I appreciate that, thank you, is we tracked down a 96 year old widow of a World War II hero who was accused by the Trump campaign of voting dead and the different counties involved there, Newton and Jackson, with another of the four alleged dead voters confirmed they were not dead voters, but legal votes. Do you have any update on the other two? I know they were under investigation because Fulton County saying Deborah Jean Christiansen wasn’t registered to vote and didn’t vote. The reason I ask is the President retweeted the Tucker Carlson video that we debunked last night.

Gabriel Sterling : (14:15)
I don’t have any updates at this time, but what we normally see in situations where it’s quote unquote, dead people voting, again, removing people from the rolls because they’re dead is done at the County level. And we rely on some vital records to do that. It’s usually a thing of a father and son living in the same home, different ages. The name matches in this particular case where you interviewed a woman, about to say young woman, but 96 years young, she was Mrs. her husband’s name and always had been. And that’s where that came from. It’s almost always something like that. We do a pretty good job of removing dead people from the rolls in this state, but again, we’re talking about ones and twos. And when I said before, there are illegal votes, I’m sure there’s people who, and here’s something else I’m not really sure of.

Gabriel Sterling : (15:02)
I mean, if you early vote and then you die by election day, you still had a right to vote. So there’s going to be some of that in some places, we know that, that’s just going to happen. There’s going to be people who, I think there was one I read about, and I don’t know it was in this state or another, where somebody voted for their dead friend because their dying wish, they voted absentee, was to vote for President Trump. So you’re going to see that, people do that, not realizing, oh, I could be committing a crime. But again, it’s in the ones and twos, not 13,000, but I don’t have any specific updates on the other two right now, Brendan.

Walter: (15:38)
Okay, Quinn Scanlan.

Quinn Scanlan: (15:41)
Hey, Gabe, I have a few questions, but hopefully it can be kind of a rapid fire. So just real quick, do you guys know how much a recount would cost?

Gabriel Sterling : (15:51)

Quinn Scanlan: (15:52)
No. Okay. Is the campaign requesting it responsible for paying the cost or is the state?

Gabriel Sterling : (15:57)
No, under state law and it has been ever thus, the local jurisdictions take care of that cost. Now, let me clear up a couple of things about this. When we moved the December 1 election and joined it with the January 5th election, the statewide runoff, we ended up saving counties millions of dollars. So our hope is a part of that money can be put towards that. And again, we’re looking at finding a cost sharing mechanism through some of our federal Help America Vote Act or HAVA dollars to help offset the cost for the counties.

Quinn Scanlan: (16:27)
Okay. But I was actually talking about if like a candidate requested it? [crosstalk 00:16:34]

Gabriel Sterling : (16:33)
Even though a candidate requested it, the state and the County governments will always have to pick up the costs under our state law under this half a percent.

Quinn Scanlan: (16:40)
Okay. Awesome. And then you said there were four counties that had issues. Are you including Dekab in that?

Gabriel Sterling : (16:46)
No, because with the Dekab thing is not an issue. Let me go over this again. [crosstalk 00:07:50].

Quinn Scanlan: (16:53)
That it was not, there was not 10,000 votes reported in their actual original report. It was during the audit, a miss entry, they caught it during the audit. None of it has ever been reported.

Gabriel Sterling : (17:03)
Correct, correct.

Quinn Scanlan: (17:04)
But so then what are the, it’s Floyd, Fayette, and Walton, and then what’s the fourth County?

Gabriel Sterling : (17:09)

Quinn Scanlan: (17:10)
Can you, I’m sorry, I missed the top of this. Can you just reiterate quickly what happened in Douglas? I’m sorry.

Gabriel Sterling : (17:15)
In Douglas County, they did their hand count and they’ve realized that they had more ballots than they had votes put into the election management system. They went back and audited and realized we forgot to upload one memory card from one precinct. And that was Lutheran 739. And on the Lutheran 739 card, there were 128 votes for President Trump, 156 votes for former Vice President Biden, and seven votes for Joe Jorgensen and two under votes. So that’s what happened in Douglas County when they discovered that they had more ballots than they had uploaded into the election night reporting system.

Quinn Scanlan: (17:52)
Okay. So then with the four counties together, how did that affect the margin? Do you have an overall number?

Gabriel Sterling : (18:01)
It took the margin from 14,156-

Gabriel Sterling : (18:02)
It took the margin from 14,156 when we started the audit to the lowest number it got down to was 12,753. And now it’s up to 12,781 with the 28 additional for former vice president Biden coming out of Douglas County, which was the latest one. So right now by our tally, the margin is 12,781 in favor of former vice president Biden.

Speaker 3: (18:24)
And then-

Gabriel Sterling : (18:27)
This is you last one.

Speaker 3: (18:29)
This my last one. It is. What was the top line number for the number of dollars that had been audited so far?

Gabriel Sterling : (18:36)
4,968,000 as of about an hour ago.

Speaker 3: (18:43)
Thank you.

Gabriel Sterling : (18:43)
Thank you.

Walter: (18:45)
Christina Cassidy.

Christina: (18:48)
Hey Gabe. Thank you so much for doing this. I just wanted to follow up on the state certification. Could you walk me through the process for what happens if a County is unable or unwilling to certify by Friday? Does the secretary of state have the authority to certify the state’s election results without a county having certified independently?

Gabriel Sterling : (19:15)
I don’t know the answer to that question. My assumption is we are certifying the county certification, so we probably couldn’t. But I do not foresee any County, not certifying their final outcomes. They’re going to follow the law and do their jobs, but we’ll follow up with our attorney to make sure we get a more specific answer to you, Christina, because I just don’t know off the top of my head. I’m making a supposition based on what I’ve seen in the past. Follow up, or you good? Or are you muted?

Walter: (19:49)
Emile Moffitt.

Emile Moffitt: (19:51)
Gabe, what’s the role in your opinion, of monitors in this audit process? Some seem to want them to inspect every ballot or every bit of handwriting on those tally sheets. Is that expecting too much out of that monitor role or position?

Gabriel Sterling : (20:07)
I honestly think that’s expecting too much out of the monitor position. The whole point of the monitor is that is to watch the process itself, not to look at individual things on a table. Because unlike the Midwestern States, we don’t have challenged provisions where you get to say, “I challenge that vote. I challenged that vote.” That’s not what’s happening here. This is, is the process orderly? Is it organized? Is it looking like the chain of custody has been kept properly? Are they doing the thing where they pass the one ballot over to the other? And some of these things are not necessary to the audit, but they’re there to make sure that it just works. There was a great article down out of Columbus, Georgia. Republicans, Democrats alike, we’re working together to make sure the process itself worked.

Gabriel Sterling : (20:50)
And that’s what the intention of the monitors are there for. And we told them that one for 10 was a minimum. One monitor for 10 tables per parties. That’s two monitors, really. That was a minimum. And it was done in part because a few elections directors talked about, we don’t have a lot of space as it is, trying to crowd and all these people is going to interfere with election administration and trying to get this work actually done. So we feel like the election administrators did a good job of allowing it as many monitors as they can, who are credentialed. I know on the first day, there was some confusion from the parties and from the county, it was the first time they’re doing some of this stuff this way. And and I know there was some Republicans that were there with no credentials.

Gabriel Sterling : (21:32)
So there was no way to say, you’re not just a random person off the street. I’m not going to let you walk around on our floor. But eventually they kind of got to that point, Republican lawyers got there and some people are more zealous than others. And I know that there were a couple of times where we had to have some investigators kind of talk some people back down, say, “Your role isn’t to go do what you’re doing here. Your role is to make sure the process is going through and write down and document.” Because we consider this to be like the voting space, where you can’t take photographs and do stuff like that. So their role was to make sure it’s an orderly process and report back to their parties if they see anything that they think is untoward. That’s why they’re there, but they’re not to be looking at every single ballot.

Gabriel Sterling : (22:11)
And there are so many guard rails around this. Between we have the check-ins, we have the request for absentee ballots. We have the absentee ballots acceptance numbers. We have the pull pad check-ins, we have early vote check-ins. So we know there’s not a way to really manufacture ballots. Because that would be way out of the norm and that would be discovered in the audits. So they play an important role, but they’re not supposed to be crowding into people’s space and looking at every single ballot with them to argue over them. That’s not really their role.

Walter: (22:46)
Okay. Lickeri Mitchell.

Quinn Scanlan: (22:54)
Hi there. Thanks so much for doing this again, Gabe. I had two questions. The first one is I know that you’ve told us about the 112 or so counties that have had a deviation of one or so votes. Is there a number that if the deviation is over X number, you can’t certify it? Is there a number that it has to be within for the counties?

Gabriel Sterling : (23:17)
This is a question better directed to our Voting Works consultants on the RLA. I said half jokingly, but half seriously, you got to use some common sense and you’ll know it when you see it. If you’re off by 200, you’re probably missing an election day voting card. And you probably need upload that. If you’re off by one, that’s just somebody counting. If you’re off by seven out of 40,000, that’s just somebody counting.

Quinn Scanlan: (23:41)
Got it.

Gabriel Sterling : (23:41)
You got to put some common sense attached to it. We don’t really have a percentage per se, that we look at. But you kind of look at, and you kind of know whether you’re really far off on those kinds of things. If you’re 40 off and it’s 1000 votes, that’s a problem. You should really be looking into that. But if you’re a 40 off in 100,000 votes, that could mean you had one person who did a stacks of 11 instead of stacks of 10 three times, because they had to turn on me to get a drink of water for a minute.

Gabriel Sterling : (24:06)
You got to apply some common sense to these things. And I know that’s a hard thing to say right now, and you want it to be exact, but we’re dealing with human beings. And I said repeatedly, and I know I sound like a broken record, human beings are the most flawed part of this process. And that’s why you have to have these quality control checks to make sure that they get everything right. There’s no way you’re going to get a 100% accuracy with human beings involved. Never going to happen.

Quinn Scanlan: (24:30)
Got it. So in that decision of like using common sense is left up to the county election officials?

Gabriel Sterling : (24:37)
It’s in consultation with our consultants from Voting Works. This is what they do. They’ve seen this kind of things before they’ve done hand recounts before. I think this is the first, as well as the largest hand audit of a pre-certification in the history of United States. But there’s a lot of the same rules apply and same common sense applications ought to apply.

Quinn Scanlan: (24:58)
Got you. And then my followup was just, if you could just explain for me one more time. In the counties where they have found ballots that were not initially put in on election night, how is it that they knew that those ballots weren’t put in on election night versus there just having been an error during the audit process?

Gabriel Sterling : (25:20)
In part, because of the size and they knew the batching. In the audit process, when you look at the batches, you can see there’s things you can look at that’ll be indicators of, we have an X number of ballots. Our ballot manifest was right. We look at our credit for voting and that matches the ballots as well. Credit for voting is what you get from the poll pad, or e-net from the people checked in for early voting or absentee.

Gabriel Sterling : (25:47)
So you have these two outward edges. And then when you look at your election night reporting and you’re off by 200 or 2500, you know you’ve missed something either with the scanning, which was the situation of Floyd, or you’re missing a memory card you didn’t upload. You can easily go back to your election management system, look at your inventory of what they call tabulators this when you make a new memory card, it’s called the tabulator card, and you say, “Oh, I missed that one. I should have caught that in reconciliation.” That’s how you can more easily find that. In Fayette County especially, we already saw that their credit for voting was about 2500 higher than what they reported. So we kind of expected to see something like that in that system, but we wanted to let the audit work through it so they can get to that point. Does that cover you, Lickeri? Walter, who’s next?

Walter: (26:40)
Nick Woobin.

Brendan Keefe: (26:43)
Hey Gabe, Nick Woobin from McClatchy. I had two quick questions for you. There’s about, you said tens of thousands of ballots left to be hand audited. But you guys have about 12 hours to finish that up. Are county’s going to make that deadline?

Gabriel Sterling : (26:57)

Brendan Keefe: (26:58)
Okay. Second one. You mentioned that-

Gabriel Sterling : (27:02)
I’ll say it-

Brendan Keefe: (27:02)
You mentioned that-

Gabriel Sterling : (27:02)
Now I’ll say it equivocally after my unequivocal yes. You don’t know what’s going to happen. Our assumption is that you’re able to get there. They look like they’re on a good path. We still have to go through the quality control process. Our goal, intent, and no one has said to me, I’m spending up a red flare that we’re not going to make it. So far, everybody on the team is feeling pretty good we can make the midnight cut.

Brendan Keefe: (27:24)
Awesome. The second one you mentioned that counties would cover any recount costs if the Trump campaign decides to request one.

Gabriel Sterling : (27:32)

Brendan Keefe: (27:32)
These counties are also funding the audit costs, is that right? Is the state looking for ways to offset those costs as well, and where are y’all at?

Gabriel Sterling : (27:43)
There’s two things that we’ve done already, or one thing we’ve done already, which was by merging the December runoff election with the January runoff election. We’ve literally saved those counties millions of dollars. So the intent is a part of those costs can go towards some hand audit and potentially a recount. And secondarily, we’re looking for a way to do some cost sharing based on our federal Help America Vote Act or HAVA dollars. So I don’t have a mechanism in place for that yet. I’m trying to noodle through it to figure out the best way to have, especially the smaller and medium-sized counties, they’re the ones who are most desperate need because there are the tightest budgets. And for the larger counties, looking for a fair way to help offset part of their costs as well.

Brendan Keefe: (28:23)
So moving the election and the federal funds would help sort of offset both costs?

Gabriel Sterling : (28:28)
Yes. That’s the intent right now.

Brendan Keefe: (28:29)
And this is sort of an insider Georgia politics question, but that’s just the public service commission race that moved from the first to the fifth, right?

Gabriel Sterling : (28:35)
Well actually there’s a handful of other races we have runoff for the general.

Brendan Keefe: (28:38)

Gabriel Sterling : (28:38)
It’s about 12 at the local level that moved as well. But in the public service commission race, anything that happened, that would have been moved for the statewide runoff from the November 3rd election to December 1st was instantly subject to having to do the roll over list again. And rollover list is the people who are 65 or older, or disabled who checked the box on their original absentee ballot requests that they wanted to get a ballot throughout the election cycle. So, there was no physical way for the state to step in and do that, and there was no physical way for the counties to fulfill that rollover list at this point, because it was just too large. It would have taken… I know I talked to one large county, it would have taken them 20 work days to fulfill just those things and to put not too fine a point on it, we are literally still building ballots right now. So, if that the timeline to get them out the door and get them finished would have been nigh impossible. So it made logical sense. COVID caused the giant jump in the rollover list. COVID is the health emergency were able to move those with, so it all kind of ties together. It will save them millions of dollars. And frankly, it’s easier to administer one election than to administer two. And one of our internal fears here was that having to do one in December, then one in January… Instead of doing one election well, they would’ve done two elections, not necessarily that great, especially considering we’re still having to this hand audit and potentially do a recount. So, a lot of things went into it, but that was the rationale behind it. And then the HAVA dollars we’ve been talking about doing, so that’s what I think our next step will be. But right now, we’re focused on finishing this process up.

Brendan Keefe: (30:21)
What were some of those races that moved, just like a handful of them? I know this, was State Senate District 39?

Gabriel Sterling : (30:27)
No, the special elections all stayed.

Brendan Keefe: (30:29)

Gabriel Sterling : (30:29)
I’ve got a list and shoot Walter or Ari an email, we can get that list over to you.

Brendan Keefe: (30:34)
Awesome. Well, thank you.

Gabriel Sterling : (30:34)
[crosstalk 00:30:34] City Council races and stuff like that too.

Brendan Keefe: (30:38)
Okay. Well, thank you, Gabe. I appreciate it.

Gabriel Sterling : (30:42)
Who’s next?

Speaker 4: (30:42)
Okay. This one is Stanley’s iPhone.

Gabriel Sterling : (30:48)
Okay, Stanley. I know your last name isn’t iPhone. Stanley, you’re unmuted, go ahead and go. Oh no, you are muted. Hold on. Let’s see, has to unmute you.

Speaker 4: (31:02)
All right, let me press unmute and then you press unmute, Stanley.

Gabriel Sterling : (31:07)
There you go.

Speaker 4: (31:08)
All right.

Stanley Dunlap: (31:10)
This is Stanley Dunlap with The Georgia Recorder.

Gabriel Sterling : (31:12)

Stanley Dunlap: (31:14)
You mentioned the difference between the two types of audits, and this is obviously the more intensive, full hand count. But with these missing votes that showed up on somebody’s memory cards, would they have been caught with the other type of audit or is this just a function of when you have humans running an election and there are mistakes and that they’re going to be missing ballots that maybe don’t go on accounted for in elections?

Gabriel Sterling : (31:42)
If we had not done this hand audit and went only to the recount, since the big way we identified at least three of these, actually all four of them, was they did have these ballots. They did have the paper voter artifact and they would have all been scanned. So yes, they would have been discovered under the recount rules as well.

Stanley Dunlap: (32:04)
Thank you.

Gabriel Sterling : (32:04)
Thank you.

Speaker 4: (32:07)
That’s all we’ve got, which is fine, it’s about lunchtime.

Gabriel Sterling : (32:10)
All right. It’s 12:02. I want to say thanks to everybody again for their respectful questions and trying to get the information out. We’re continuing to remain as transparent as we possibly can through our process. We will continue to follow the law. And as I said, nearly every day, this is a lot process, process, process. And to continue a joke I’d said earlier, for any Mandalorian fans out there, this is the way. So thanks a lot and we’ll talk to y’all at four o’clock. Bye.

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