By JEFF AMY Associated Press
ATLANTA (AP) — Some counties in Georgia continued to count ballots Saturday as the state inched toward a final count as The Associated Press declared Democrat Joe Biden the winner of the race for the White House.
In Georgia, Biden continued to narrowly lead President Donald Trump in the contest for the state’s 16 electoral votes after edging ahead early Friday as mail ballots were counted. The AP has not called a winner in Georgia.
Friday was the deadline for voters to fix problems with flawed absentee or provisional ballots, as well as the deadline for ballots to be received from overseas. By Saturday morning, 36 of Georgia’s 159 counties had submitted certified, final results, according to the secretary of state’s office, including Clarke, Coweta and Muscogee counties.
In Cobb County, Elections Director Janine Eveler said the county would report up to 700 provisional and military ballots on Saturday, although a final decision on counting or discarding provisional ballots with problems would wait until Monday. Voters who encounter problems when voting in-person on Election Day are asked to cast provisional ballots.
Gwinnett County spokesperson Joe Sorenson said his county plans to submit results Saturday of 580 absentee ballots that voters resolved problems with by the Friday deadline, as well as three military ballots from overseas. Gwinnett County plans to count its provisional ballots on Monday, Sorenson said.
State officials did not have an updated count Saturday of how many provisional or military ballots might be outstanding, said Walter Jones, a spokesman for Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger. The Republican has said he plans to order a recount of Georgia’s presidential ballots, as some Republicans make unsubstantiated allegations of fraud.
Fulton County officials completed their count of provisional and military ballots overnight, submitting thousands of votes that bolstered Biden’s lead. Several other counties didn’t immediately respond to phone calls, emails and texts Saturday from The Associated Press.
There’s more voting yet to come in Georgia with two U.S. Senate runoffs now set for Jan. 5. Republican U.S. Sen. David Perdue and Democrat Jon Ossoff will meet again for Perdue’s Senate seat after Libertarian candidate Shane Hazel won enough votes so that neither Perdue or Ossoff was able to clear the 50% threshold needed for an outright win.
Democrat Raphael Warnock will face Republican U.S. Sen. Kelly Loeffler in a second runoff trying to win the remaining two years of another Senate term after Gov. Brian Kemp appointed Loeffler to succeed retiring Republican Johnny Isakson earlier this year.
Also Friday, the AP declared Democrat Carolyn Bourdeaux the winner in the 7th Congressional District in the Atlanta suburbs of Gwinnett and Forsyth counties. Bourdeaux beat Republican Rich McCormick, flipping a seat for Democrats that she narrowly lost in 2018. With that win, Georgia will have eight Republicans and six Democrats in its U.S. House delegation in January when the new Congress is sworn in.