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Live updates | Georgia still counting ballots

From reports in the field to analysis as news breaks, we'll be keeping you covered for every angle today.

ATLANTA — **This blog is an archive for Nov. 3, 2020. here. For the latest blog for Nov.4 click here.** 

In a year that has often felt more like a lifetime, the election of a lifetime is finally behind us.

After an unprecedented wave of early voting across the country, people headed to the polls on Election Day to complete America's voting marathon. In Georgia, polls closed at 7 p.m. 

As polls opened at 7 a.m., Atlanta seemed for the most part to be avoiding the long lines and issues that have recently plagued voting days around the area.

It was not entirely issue-free, however, with Spalding County - a district 45 minutes to the south of the city that President Trump carried with more than 60% of the vote in 2016 - seeing issues at all 18 of its precincts over a problem with the devices used to check voters in. 11Alive's Rebecca Lindstrom reported around 9 a.m. that some machines were coming back online at at least one precinct. A judge would later rule that all polling locations in that county stay open until 9 p.m.

Further issues with machines were reported in Morgan County, which also forced workarounds by officials to keep the voting process going there. And there were some hiccups at a small handful of Fulton County voting locations, with officials later saying they had been resolved.

2020 Atlanta and Georgia Election Results

Keep in mind that with mail-in ballots more prevalent than ever before, many states may experience slower counts. Experts have cautioned that it may not be, or even likely will not be, tonight that we conclusively learn who has won.

From reports in the field to analysis as news breaks to results as they come in, we'll be keeping you covered from every angle.

LIVE UPDATES

2:46 a.m. | The Secretary of State's Office announces a news conference will be held Wednesday morning at 11:30 a.m. to give an update about the election. 

1:44 a.m. | Democrat Lucy McBath wins reelection to U.S. House in Georgia's 6th Congressional District.

12:50 a.m. | Gwinnett County officials tell 11Alive the county has a software problem impacting the reading of absentee ballots. 

Gwinnett County Communications director Joe Sorenson said the scanning machines that read the ballots is saying about half of the approximately 120,000 absentee ballots may need further review. 

Sorensen said the county is working with the software company fix the problem. In addition, they have been approved to use a committee to review the ballots. The three-person committee will consist of a Democrat, a Republican and an election official. They hope to get a complete count on Wednesday. 

As of right now, they have 338, 610 total votes recorded at this time with a few others to be counted.  

12:39 a.m. | Democrat and state Sen. Nikema Williams will be the long-term successor to the late U.S. Rep John Lewis.

12:38 a.m. | Another official in Fulton County says some work is still being done at State Farm Arena with ballots. Watch the update here.

12:37 a.m. | Democrat Hank Johnson wins reelection to U.S. House in Georgia's 4th Congressional District 

11:46 p.m. | Hall County officials said they will continue to scan and submit absentee ballots into the night.

“We have had teams of people actively opening, sorting, reviewing and scanning absentee by mail ballots since Oct. 19,” Hall County Elections Director Lori Wurtz said. “We remain committed to finalizing the tabulation of absentee ballots by Wednesday afternoon in compliance with the deadlines outlined by the Secretary of State’s Office.”  

As of 11 p.m., they said about 94 percent of all Hall County votes had been tabulated. 

11:36 p.m. | Regina Waller with Fulton County told 11Alive that State Farm Arena absentee ballot counters have been sent home. Read more here.

11:29 p.m. | Republican Kelly Loeffler is expected to speak to a group of supporters shortly. 

11:17 p.m. | Republican Kelly Loeffler advances to runoff election for U.S. Senate along with Democrat Raphael Warnock.

11:06 p.m. | Georgia voters are approving two state constitutional amendments and a referendum. Amendment 1 lets the General Assembly earmark certain taxes and fees to specific purposes. Lawmakers and others say it's needed to keep lawmakers from collecting money for a specific task but spending it on some other purpose. Amendment 2 makes it easier for people to sue governments. It was pushed through after a 2014 state Supreme Court decision said state and local governments could only be sued if they agreed to it. Referendum A gives Habitat for Humanity and other similar housing groups a property tax break on undeveloped land where new houses haven't yet been built.

10:44 p.m. | Doug Collins has conceded in Senate special election. Read his tweet below. 

10:40 p.m. | Several more U.S. House races have been called. 

Democrat David Scott wins reelection to U.S. House in Georgia's 13th Congressional District. 

Republican Rick Allen wins reelection to U.S. House in Georgia's 12th Congressional District. 

Republican Barry Loudermilk wins reelection to U.S. House in Georgia's 11th Congressional District. 

10:20 p.m. | Incumbent Republican Rep. Buddy Carter won a fourth term in Congress representing Georgia’s coast. Carter defeated Democratic challenger Joyce Marie Griggs, a former lawyer and Iraq combat veteran.

10:15 p.m. | Not all of the mail-in/drop off ballots in Fulton County will be counted tonight. It's not considered a delay or due to any malfunction. The elections chief tells 11Alive this was anticipated because they've had a lot of them.

10:10 p.m. | Warnock takes the stage at his headquarters to speak.

10 p.m. | President Trump has been projected as the winner in Kansas, with its 6 electoral votes.

9:55 p.m. | Joe Biden has been projected to have won 131 electoral votes, while President Trump has won a projected 92 electoral votes.

Credit: Tegna

9:45 p.m. | Incumbent Georgia U.S. Representatives Austin Scott (R - 8th), Drew Ferguson (R - 3rd), and Sanford Bishop (D - 2nd) have all won re-election to Congress.

9:40 p.m. | Republican gun dealer Andrew Clyde has been elected to the open 9th Congressional District in northeast Georgia. The heavily Republican seat was vacated by Doug Collins, who is running for US Senate. 

Clyde defeated Democratic challenger Devin Pandy.

9:30 p.m. | Joe Biden has been projected as the winner of the District of Columbia's 3 electoral votes and Colorado's 9 electoral votes.

9:23 p.m. | Marjorie Taylor Greene has been projected as the winner of Georgia's 14th Congressional District race. 

RELATED: Marjorie Taylor Greene: The only candidate in Georgia's 14th Congressional District race

9 p.m. | President Donald Trump has been projected the winner in North Dakota (3), South Dakota (3), Wyoming (3), Louisiana (8), Nebraska's 3rd District (1), and Indiana (11). Former vice president Joe Biden has been projected the winner in New York (29) and New Mexico (5).

8:50 p.m. | Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger was very pleased with the voting process and how it was handled on Election Day.

“We are really excited with the results today, not on the outcome but on the process,” he said.

At one point the highest average voter waiting time was six minutes and the lowest average time was two minutes across the state.

By midnight, maybe 1 a.m. to 2 a.m., he said he feels that results from most of the races will be known. He does not feel that it will take until the early morning hours, calling it a "total team effort with us working with the counties."

"Proud of Georgia looking so good today," he said. 

Raffensperger had particularly high marks for Fulton County and its use of State Farm Arena as a resource for counting ballots.

"State Farm Arena, I think that was a tremendous success for Fulton County," he said. "The 50,000-plus poll workers that volunteered. It was just great citizen involvement."

8:40 p.m. | Fulton County election officials said they are behind - by about four hours - counting absentee ballots after a pipe burst in a room at State Farm Arena where some of those ballots were being held.

According to those officials, none of the ballots were damaged in the process.

RELATED: Ballot counting in Fulton County delayed after pipe bursts at State Farm Arena

8:30 p.m. | President Trump has been projected the winner of Arkansas' 6 electoral votes.

8:20 p.m. | Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R - KY), who has served in the upper chamber for 35 years, held off a challenge from Democrat Amy McGrath, despite heavy criticism in Kentucky over the federal response to the coronavirus. 

McGrath had claimed that McConnell could have done more to help that state's residents during the pandemic. 

RELATED: Mitch McConnell defeats Amy McGrath in U.S. Senate race

8:10 p.m. | After the most recent set of projections, Joe Biden has picked up 85 electoral votes, while President Donald Trump has been projected the winner of 55 electoral votes.

Credit: Tegna

8 p.m. | President Donald Trump has been projected the winner in South Carolina (9), Alabama (9), Mississippi (6), Tennessee (11), and Oklahoma (7). Former vice president has been projected as the winner in Connecticut (7), Delaware (3), Illinois (20), Maryland (10), Massachusetts (11), New Jersey (14), and Rhode Island (4).

7:43 p.m. | Joe Biden has been projected as the winner in Virginia, with its 13 electoral votes.

7:32 p.m. | A Superior Court Judge has ruled that the Fulton County polling location at Bethune Elementary School (Precinct SC11A) will remain open until 7:40 p.m. 

At the time the poll opened, due to technical issues workers did not begin processing voters until 7:40 a.m.All voters in line until 7:40 p.m. will be allowed to vote. 

7:31 p.m. | Some results are starting to come in for some metro Atlanta counties. 

7:30 p.m. | President Trump has been projected as the winner in West Virginia with its 5 electoral votes. 

7:15 p.m. | President Donald Trump has been projected as the winner in Kentucky with 8 electoral votes, while former vice president Joe Biden is the projected winner in Vermont, picking up its 3 electoral votes. 

7 p.m. | Polls have officially closed across the state on election day. 

Those who are in line before 7 p.m. will still be allowed to cast their ballot. Multiple polling locations have extended their hours after some early delays. See the list here.  

Watch special election coverage now.

6 p.m. | There are some precincts in some Georgia counties that will stay open past 7 p.m. Some locations cited delayed openings and other problems. See the list here.  

4:55 p.m. | We told you earlier about an order by a federal judge for inspectors at several U.S. Postal Service facilities around the country - including a large one in Atlanta - to sweep those facilities to ensure there were no undelivered ballots remaining on site.

The USPS had a 4:30 p.m. deadline to confirm that "no ballots were left behind." They have now reportedly failed to meet that deadline.

By policy, Georgia will not accept any ballots that arrive later than the close of polls at 7 p.m. tonight.

4:50 p.m. | The Fulton County Board of Elections will be holding a meeting this evening at 6:30 p.m. to discuss today's election. You'll be able to watch that at the Fulton Government TV YouTube channel if you're interested.

4:40 p.m. | And this student came home to Georgia, all the way from Arkansas, to ensure her vote after she said she never received an absentee ballot despite requesting one three times:

4:35 p.m. | One Georgia Tech student, with an assist from her classmates, went the extra mile - or, in this case, the extra 800 miles - to cast her vote today:

4:20 p.m. | A Cobb County voting location at Sope Creek Elementary will also be open 20 minutes later tonight, because of a late arriving poll manager.

4:10 p.m. | Due to delays, a superior court judge has extended voting hours at two Cherokee County voting sites: Allen Temple AME in Woodstock, at 232 Arnold Mill Rd., until 7:12 p.m., and Canton City Hall until 7:15 p.m.

3:35 p.m. | No surprise here, but Gov. Kemp says he voted to re-elect President Trump, and cast his Senate votes for incumbent Republicans Sen. Kelly Loeffler and Sen. David Perdue. Rep. Doug Collins is another popular conservative running in the open Senate race to fill Sen. Johnny Isakson's seat, but it would have been basically unthinkable for Kemp to go against Loeffler, whom he appointed to the seat in January after Isakson's retirement.

3:30 p.m. | In addition to Spalding and Morgan counties that have experienced issues closer to Atlanta, our TEGNA sister station in Macon, WMAZ reported some problems in their neck of the woods this morning in Houston County, Jones County and Wilkinson County.

3:20 p.m. | Little preview of Andy Pierrotti's report on how votes will be counted in Fulton County tonight:

2:55 p.m. | Two DeKalb County voting sites will stay open until 7:40 and 7:45 p.m. tonight, respectively, under a superior court judge order signed this afternoon.

The city said in a release the DeKalb Board of Registration and Elections had petitioned to extend voting at Valley Brook Baptist Church and Obama Elementary School after they opened late this morning. Judge Courtney L. Johnson approved the petition.

The Valley Brook Baptist Church voting site at 1198 N. Valley Brook Road in Decatur will be open until 7:40 p.m., and Obama Elementary at 3132 Clifton Church Rd. SE in Atlanta will be open until 7:45 p.m.

"This extension was requested, in an abundance of caution, to ensure that all electors at the locations have the required full 12 hours of voting," a release said.

2:45 p.m. | Reuters reports the FBI is investigating a strange robocall sent to some people this morning that may have been an underhanded attempt to dissuade them from voting.

“Hello. This is just a test call. Time to stay home. Stay safe and stay home," the call reportedly said.

11Alive was contacted by a woman in the Athens area who said she received three calls between 8:30 a.m.-9:20 a.m. with that recorded message.

2:35 p.m. | In case you missed it, our anchor Shiba Russell spoke this morning with Democratic Senate candidate Jon Ossoff (his opponent, Republican incumbent Sen. David Perdue, was also invited on the program, but declined):

2:30 p.m. | With concerns around some parts of the country that the election outcome could spark unrest, Atlanta Police released this statement on its preparedness this afternoon:

2:10 p.m. | Here's Gov. Brian Kemp dropping off his vote. He is continuing to quarantine after being exposed to someone who tested positive for COVID-19 last week. He and his wife, the first lady Marty Kemp, have tested negative for the coronavirus.

1:45 p.m. | CNN reports that amid delays by the U.S. Postal Service in delivering some ballots, a federal judge today ordered some inspectors around the country to sweep processing facilities, including the one in Atlanta, for undelivered ballots by 3 p.m.

The inspectors were also ordered by the judge to confirm by 4:30 p.m. that "no ballots were left behind."

Georgia does not accept any mail-in ballots that do not arrive by the close of polls at 7 p.m.

An NAACP legal director also posted the order to Twitter.

1:33 p.m. | Secretary Raffensperger predicts Georgia will begin to have results sooner than many other states tonight.

1:30 p.m. | Gabriel Sterling in the Secretary of State's Office said the issue in Spalding and Morgan counties were with a dataset involved in programming the system. He said they're not sure what the exact issue was, but right now they're focused on doing hard resets of machines to keep precincts open and lines moving.

1:27 p.m. | Secretary Raffensperger said he doesn't have any early numbers on turnout, but said "our numbers will be strong."

1:25 p.m. | We unfortunately had a technical issue bringing in the feed of Secretary Raffensperger's news conference, but officials are detailing some of the issues that were affecting Spalding and Morgan counties specifically this morning. 

1:10 p.m. | Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger will be providing an update on how Election Day is going in Georgia within the hour, which we'll be streaming here.

12:35 p.m. | Gwinnett officials have updated us on the power outage situation, explaining that voting was only interrupted at Ferguson Elementary for about 20 minutes due to the power outage, which they attributed to a transformer explosion in the area.

12:20 p.m. | We've seen reports of power outages affecting some voting locations in Gwinnett County, and the county has confirmed that three schools serving as polling locations have had outages. The county told 11Alive that Ferguson Elementary, Corley Elementary, and Sweetwater Middle had experienced outages.

The county said voting remains ongoing at Corley because they are using battery backups. They were checking on the voting status of the other sites. 

Corley and Ferguson are about a mile and a half from each other off Pleasant Hill Rd. near I-85. Sweetwater is about another three miles down the road.

Noon | With things mostly chugging along around the metro, we'll be looking at the early evening for any further issues, possibly with people getting off work around 5 p.m. and hitting the polls in waves before they close at 7 p.m. 

Meanwhile, we're looking to hear from you! If you click over onto this tweet, let us know why voting this year was important to you:

11:30 a.m. | If you do run into issues today, both Democrats and Republicans have set up voter protection hotlines in Georgia. The Democrats' number is 1-888-730-5816 and the Republicans' number is 470-410-8793.

11:20 a.m. | 11Alive photojournalist David Brooks spoke to some of the voters who were waiting earlier in Spalding County, which had an issue with the poll pads used to check voters in and forced a number of paper ballots to be used.

One woman said "a lot of people" had simply left the lines. Aerial video over county voting sites in the last roughly hour have showed lines have basically disappeared, and reports on the ground indicated the issues were resolved. We'll have to see how many people do go back to finish voting.

"Hopefully they come back and everybody gets their vote in, but right now there is a lot of people who left within 30 minutes after they said the machines were down," the woman said.

11:05 a.m. | Smooth sailing in Fulton County:

11:00 a.m. | Despite some scattered reports of machine issues earlier in Fulton County, which officials say were resolved, and a widespread failure in Spalding County which largely appears to have been resolved, voting mostly appears to be going smoothly around Atlanta.

Gwinnett County, which has seen just a few hundred votes at a couple larger locations, is an example of how a huge wave of early voting around the metro area circumvented any potential bottleneck today.

10:45 a.m. | We're seeing this question a bit, and what we know is in June a number of provisional ballots that were cast when machines weren't working were cast as "emergency" ballots, which were counted automatically. 

Normally, a provisional ballot is issued if you're at the wrong voting site or don't have your ID, for example, and then you have a couple days to go to the county elections office and get the issue sorted out to make sure your vote is counted.

10:25 a.m. | Cherokee County says things are "operating smoothly," but reported a 15-minute delay in opening the precinct at Canton City Hall. The county says it will seek a court order to extend the closing time at that location by 15 minutes.

10:20 a.m. | Barron described the technical issues that have affected a few sites in Fulton County as "either something having to do with a scanner or with poll pads."

"When you have technology in the field, in this case iPads, printers, touch screens, scanners, you have the possibility of inoperability with that much technology in the field - four components, whereas with our previous voting system it was one component," he said.

10:15 a.m. | Addressing delays yesterday in some delivery of voting equipment, Fulton Elections Director Rick Barron said most of it was finished being delivered this morning, while some did arrive just after polls open at 7 a.m. He said poll workers followed their training and used backup procedures to get sites open on time.

10:10 a.m. | Fulton County Elections Director Rick Barron says things have "gone smoothly," with all locations opening on time, noting a "few technical issues at a handful of locations."

10:00 a.m. | Fulton County officials are providing an update on how voting is going today, including addressing a couple minor issues that have been reported, with a news conference.

9:30 a.m. | 11Alive's Jerry Carnes reports that Fulton County officials have told him about an issue with machines at Morris Brandon Elementary School in Buckhead.

The official, Regina Waller, said that voters were using provisional ballots as technicians were "on site addressing the issue right now."

9:15 a.m. | 11Alive's Rebecca Lindstrom is in Griffin, the county seat of Spalding County, and reports that the nine machines at First Presbyterian Church came online shortly after more paper ballots arrived.

9:05 a.m. | Fulton County says it is "aware of minor issues" that have been reported sporadically, and that they will be addressed during a 10 a.m. press conference with Elections Director Rick Barron.

9:00 a.m. | Cobb County is reporting "short or no lines" after an initial rush as polls opened.

8:55 a.m. | Fulton County said it had followed up with a poll manager to resolve an issue reported by Atlanta Councilman Dustin Hillis at Margaret Mitchell Elementary School, which is on the edges of Buckhead.

8:30 a.m. | Spalding County, whose voting process has been seriously impacted this morning due to an issue with the devices used to check voters in, is a solidly red district that President Trump won with more than 15,000 votes (about 60%) in 2016.

8:25 a.m. | If you're having trouble in Spalding County, or experiencing issues anywhere else, drop us a line:

8:10 a.m. | Spalding County Elections Director Marcia Ridley reports a problem was caught this morning with the county's poll pads, which are used to check voters in at its 18 voting precincts.

She described the problem as "specific to Spalding County" and said people at the polls are currently using provisional ballots to vote.

"A tech is going to each precinct location to reset poll pads," Ridley said.

7:55 a.m. | You might have seen Park Tavern on national news broadcasts back in June, when it was one of the most-congested voting locations for the primaries. Again, what we're seeing around Atlanta when it comes to lines, so far, is nothing like June.

Credit: Rebecca Lindstrom/WXIA

7:50 a.m. | We'll see how things develop all around Atlanta as the day progresses, but early indications seem to be that we're not going to run into some of the issues with lines that have recently plagued the area on voting day. Here's a shot from 11Alive photojournalist at DeKalb County polling location Rockbridge Elementary School with... no line at all.

Credit: Stephen Boissy/WXIA

7:35 a.m. | If you missed it during Morning Rush, here's 11Alive Anchor Shiba Russell's interview with Democratic Senate candidate Jon Ossoff. The 33-year-old is up against Republican incumbent Sen. David Perdue in what polling has indicated is a close race, one of two Georgia Senate races on the ballot today.

(Perdue was also invited to appear on Morning Rush, but declined.)

7:25 a.m. | Interesting fact here - with just 250,000 votes today, we'll surpass Georgia's record for ballots cast in a presidential election. We've seen incredible enthusiasm for early voting this year, as it nearly surpassed the entire 2016 total, in what's expected to be a highly competitive race in the Peach State.

7:10 a.m. | Jerry Carnes on hand for the first voters entering southeast Atlanta's Louise Watley Library.

7:05 a.m. | We'll be monitoring conditions out there as people begin to vote around Atlanta. Remember, if you're experiencing issues at your polling place or see long lines forming please email us at news@11alive.com or tweet us at @11AliveNews.

7:00 a.m. | It's official, polls are open!

6:55 a.m. | Liza Lucas reports about a dozen people at the Five Forks Library in Gwinnett County ahead of polls opening:

6:50 A.M. | Maura Sirianni reports a line of about 30 people at one Cobb County location with polls set to open shortly:

6:25 a.m. | Something to know: If you requested but never received an absentee ballot, or you've simply changed your mind about wanting to vote with an absentee ballot, you can cancel it and vote in person today:

6:10 am. | One good piece of news, at least from the looks of where our reporters are stationed, is that thanks to the huge wave of early voting, we're not seeing the issue yet with long lines forming before and as polls open. If you're seeing long lines though email us at news@11alive.com or tweet us at @11AliveNews.

5:45 a.m. | With Georgia's recent history of issues with long lines and other voting day mishaps, some people are already lining up to make sure they get in and out today. Maura Sirianni spoke to one voter in Cobb County at a Powder Springs location, Jerry Dubre, who said: “I don’t want to go through that again, I mean, it took almost six hours for me to vote here last time so I got here early and I got my chairs and my blanket, I’m going to wait it out and get it done.”

Jerry Carnes also spotted a voter waiting outside southeast Atlanta's Louise Whatley Library.

5:40 a.m. | Jerry Carnes spoke to Fulton County officials ahead of Election Day, who explained why it's especially important to check your voting site after nearly 100 new polling locations were added by the county.

5:20 a.m. | Welcome to Election Day! As you can imagine, not much going on yet. What you want to know is that polls open at 7 a.m. Here's how you can find your polling location or a drop box for your absentee ballot around metro Atlanta.

Also check out our voter resource page for any additional information you may need this morning!

For some perspective on voting in Georgia and its historical issues, see this special piece: Lines, polling changes and voter frustration | The impact of Georgia elections