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Fulton County elections board narrowly recertifies recount results in 3-2 vote

Vote count changed for third time after machine recount

ATLANTA — The Fulton County Board of Elections recertified recount results for the presidential election Friday morning. The 3-2 vote came after about an hour of discussion involving the recount process, which has been strongly criticized and documented by the Georgia Secretary of State's Office.

The county had been subject to backlash over issues regarding election security, staffing and resources, ballot chain of custody and questionable counting. 

The Secretary of State's Office detailed a server that crashed, allegedly due to human error. Fulton County officials maintained it had followed procedures set out by the Secretary of State and Dominion Voting Systems.

During a state Senate Oversight Committee meeting on Thursday, attorneys brought up a video that they claimed showed containers of ballots being secretly counted after poll monitors were sent home. 

Gabriel Sterling, the Secretary of State's voting system implementation manager, debunked the allegation, saying investigators pored over the video for hours and found election workers were engaged in normal ballot processing. 

Fulton County elections director Richard Barron said the bins were empty, and the ballots that were in them had already been on the table while poll watchers were at State Farm Arena on Election Night.

The video, Barron said, had sparked death threats against a supervisor, who worked at State Farm Arena, and her mother.

A chief investigator with the Secretary of State's Office said there wasn’t a bin that had ballots in it under the table. It was an empty bin and the ballots from it were on the table when media was still there. Ballots were placed back in the box and placed by the table.

RELATED: Live updates | Fulton County Board of Elections addresses State Farm Arena video

Fulton County election board members raised concerns over signature matching and verification. 

Barron said when absentee ballots came in, workers put them through a scanner to credit the ballot during the vote count. The ballots then go through signature verification through ElectioNet or they're matched through the voter registration application. 

If the ballots are unable to be signature matched, they're rejected and set aside, which could warrant a provisional ballot. Once the ballots go through signature verification and sorting, they are then opened two weeks before Election Day, Barron said. 

RELATED: Georgia presidential election recount nearly complete

Fulton County's original count had changed slightly from each tally. The hand audit generated 742 fewer votes than the original count. The machine recount, requested by the Trump campaign, resulted in 852 fewer votes from the county's original certification on Nov. 13. 

Barron said there were 527,925 votes in the final recertified count on Dec. 4. The margin widely favored President-elect Joe Biden. 

Dr. Kathleen Ruth and Mark Wingate voted against recertifying the recount results, citing the discrepancy in votes from the original count.