The Chatham County Board of Elections is counting a massive number of absentee ballots, says Tom Mahoney, Chairman of the Board of Elections. They will continue this labor intensive, methodical process over the next few days until all of these absentee ballots are counted.
The following comes from a midday email from Mahoney:
As anticipated and requested due to the COVID-19 pandemic, record numbers of voters cast their votes by absentee ballot, with a total of almost 31,000. Voters continued to hand deliver their absentee ballots up to 7:00 election night. The Board of Registrar’s staff hand-processed and approved absentee ballots all night and then delivered multiple boxes of absentee ballots to the Board of Elections to be counted. With this anticipated and requested late surge of absentee ballots, the meticulous process of counting each of these absentee ballots continued all night and will continue over the next few days.
We have dozens of boxes of absentee ballots sealed and delivered by the Board of Registrars that have not been opened yet.
Because this heavy volume of absentee ballots was anticipated, the Board of Elections has four times the normal staff to process and count these ballots. Additionally, we started processing the absentee ballots received prior to Election Day without tabulating votes. The last-minute surge of absentee votes could not be processed early, however.
We have counted and published elections results; these results are unofficial and incomplete until every vote is counted. These results include in-person votes cast in polls on Election Day and in-person votes cast in early voting. These incomplete and unofficial results also include thousands of absentee ballots received and processed prior to Election Day. We have many thousands of absentee ballots remaining to be counted.