Last week a letter arrived at The News-Banner office with a question about some discrepancy between the numbers reported by Appling County’s Election Board on November 3 after the election and the numbers reported by the state after the first recount. The date was November 16. The state numbers showed nine votes added to Trump and ten to Biden. The questioner was wondering how that happened. Where did the votes come from?

He asked, “Was there a mistake at the local count. I doubt that. . . I was very happy with the professionalism of our local folks, and do not cast dispersions. I, however, do distrust the Georgia government folks.”

With all the hullabaloo at the state and national level about the presidential election, people naturally have questions about any small detail.

I contacted Shonda Carter, Appling County Election Supervisor, who explained. They count ballots in stacks of 25 and two ballots were holding up one stack. Those ballots were in the system, but the computer couldn’t recognize who the vote was for. The counters didn’t realize the problem until the counts had been turned in, but caught it for the recount. One ballot was blank so there was nothing to count. One voter had colored in the circles for both presidential candidates, but then he wrote “I want this one” beside one of the names. The counters had to decide whether to count it or not. When they made the decision about those two ballots, it released the batch and changed the numbers a bit. The local board then corrected the problem and sent the new numbers to the state.

Blake Tillery has been involved in looking into the matter of the election for quite some time now. In response to my inquiry about the progress, he said: “I’ve been engaged in this matter since Day 1 following the election, first on voter review panels confirming and arguing provisional ballots and now in over eight hours of senate committee hearings. Much of the evidence presented to us has been astonishing. I certainly expect you will see these investigations continue, and those who break Georgia Law to be prosecuted.

“These were the most substantive and consequential Senate hearings I’ve ever been a part of. We found answers to some things we earlier felt concerning; we found other new things there is literally no legal explanation for, and Georgians demand and deserve answers. I’ve heard the minority party speak a lot about voter suppression. But they must acknowledge any time a fake, illegal or non-Georgian vote is cast in a Georgia election, a true Georgia citizen’s vote is suppressed.  There is nothing partisan about that.   

“The State Elections Board has already taken steps to prevent some early findings from occurring in January’s runoff election. I expect more to follow. The legislature is very much engaged.”

In the meantime, we wait with bated breath as the whole country watches Georgia and waits for the January run-off.