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Biden takes the lead overnight in Georgia

A blog from Nov. 5 and early morning Nov. 6

ATLANTA — Below is an archive for post -Election Day updates for Nov. 5

For the latest daily blog click here.

Into a fourth day, Georgia's count continues with the eyes of the nation - and, frankly, the world - on the Peach State as the gap between President Trump and Joe Biden narrows.

Ballot counting and processing has continued in a number of counties throughout Georgia, winnowing President Trump's lead.

2020 Atlanta and Georgia Election Results

Our team of journalists will continue to be up around the clock to offer the latest developments and insights as the count goes on.


Please note all times are E.T.

4:27 a.m. | Former Vice President Joe Biden has taken the lead in the race for Georgia's 16 electoral votes. After votes came in from Clayton County, he now leads President Trump by 917 votes overall.

Clayton County is part of Georgia's 5th Congressional District that was represented by the late Rep. John Lewis until his death earlier this year.

1:05 a.m. |  In Georgia, President Trump's lead is now down to 1,479 votes

12:35 a.m. | Gwinnett County officials said they have completed their re-adjudication of the absentee ballots that were affected by Election Night reporting issues and will continue to tabulate ballots on Friday morning.

11:56 p.m. | Trump's lead over Biden in Georgia is back down to 1,709.

11:20 p.m. | The latest numbers to come in show a 30-vote net gain for President Trump. The votes are from Forsyth County. 

10:57 p.m. | Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said that as of 10:35 p.m. Thursday, there are approximately 14,097 ballots still outstanding.

Here's the breakdown his office provided by county: 

▪ Clayton County: 4,355
▪ Cobb County: 700
▪ Floyd County: 444
▪ Forsyth County: 1,545
▪ Gwinnett County: 4,800
▪ Laurens County: 1,797
▪ Taylor County: 456

10:15 p.m. | The latest update shows Trump is leading Biden in Georgia by less than 2,000 votes. 

9:45 p.m. | 11Alive is taking a close look at the numbers as the margin between Trump and Biden is tight. Below is what we found by examining the data.


8:50 p.m. |  Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said that as of 8:40 p.m. today there are approximately 16,105 ballots still outstanding.

8:15 p.m. | “Officials in numerous counties are continuing to count ballots, with strong security protocols in place to protect the integrity of our election,” said Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger. “We have long anticipated – and said publicly – that counting would most likely take place into Wednesday night and perhaps Thursday morning. We’re on pace to accomplish that responsibly, ensuring that the voice of every eligible voter is heard. It’s important to act quickly, but it’s more important to get it right.” 

Raffensperger said that as of 7:15 p.m., about 18,936 ballots remained outstanding statewide.

7:45 p.m. | This afternoon, the Secretary of State's office said Forsyth County had 4,713 votes remaining. 

Here are the latest numbers from Forsyth County: 

Biden: 1,460
Trump: 1,311

7:45 p.m. | New numbers have been released from Forsyth County, located about 40 miles northeast of Atlanta. Demographically, the county has changed dramatically in the past 15 years. 

In 1912, the county forced its Black residents out, and remained nearly all-white for 75 years. 

11Alive Chief Investigator Brendan Keefe detailed the tale of Forsyth County's history and its racially difficult past.

RELATED: Whitewashed: The racial cleansing of Forsyth County

7:35 p.m. | Fulton County officials re-sent their statement regarding absentee ballot tabulation at State Farm Arena on Nov. 3, in response to the statement by President Trump.

At approximately 6:07 a.m. on November 3, the staff at State Farm Arena notified Fulton County Registration & Elections of a water leak affecting the room where absentee ballots were being tabulated. The State Farm Arena team acted swiftly to remediate the issue. Within 2 hours, repairs were complete. 

No ballots were damaged, nor was any equipment affected. There was a brief delay in tabulating absentee ballots while the repairs were being conducted. 

7:30 p.m. | Another 3,000 votes have come across the secretary of state's count, appearing to be split evenly between Trump and Biden. The president's lead is 3,486 with 4,951,441 votes counted.

7:15 p.m. | The secretary of state's website now reflects what Brendan Keefe reported a few minutes back: With Chatham County's 17,000 votes coming in, the count stands at 4,948,610, with President Trump leading Joe Biden by 3,635.

7:05 p.m. | The president mentioned Georgia in a number of ways in his address, but to be clear: There have been no suggestions by the Republican official in charge of our voting process, Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, or by our Republican Gov. Brian Kemp, of late or illegal votes being counted or streaming in after Election Day.

RELATED: Biden urges calm, Trump makes false claims about vote counts

7:00 p.m. | 11Alive's Brendan Keefe with a major update out of Chatham County (Savannah):

6:30 p.m. | The president will be speaking momentarily. You can watch that live here.

6:12 p.m. | A small batch of votes - about 600 - just came across on the secretary of state's site. Brings the total to 4,931,254. Narrows the gap juuuuust a hair to 9,426.

6:10 p.m. | The Secretary of State's Office now says there are 36,331 votes left to count in Georgia. We've had a team calling counties on the ground throughout the day and have cautioned that the situation on the ground is fluid and with various types of ballots to be counted, plus a deadline for military and overseas votes to arrive that extends through tomorrow, that number could be a bit higher.

6:05 p.m. | President Trump will be delivering remarks from the White House at 6:30 p.m.

6:00 p.m. | 11Alive's Andy Pierrotti spoke with one of the workers who helped 7with the adjudication process in Fulton.

5:35 p.m. | Hey by the way if you voted absentee, you still have time to check and make sure it was accepted and, if it was not, get it resolved ("cure" your ballot is the terminology) tomorrow:

5:00 p.m. | The gap between President Trump and Joe Biden is now less than 10,000. About 6,000 more votes were just added to the secretary of state's count, and the president now leads the former vice president by 9,525. The vote total is now 4,930,652.

4:45 p.m. | The Trump campaign just announced an Atlanta press conference for 6 p.m. with his son, Donald J. Trump Jr.

Rep. Doug Collins, Georgia State Rep. Vernon Jones, and Georgia Republican National Committeewoman Ginger Howard will also be present.

4:35 p.m. | About 65 votes just came in on the secretary of state's total, bringing it to 4,924,339.

4:20 p.m. | 11Alive's Andy Pierrotti with a Fulton County update:

3:55 p.m. | About 4,000 votes were added to the secretary of state's website, without moving the needle really: Gap between the president and former vice president is now 12,764, down about 60 from where it last was. Full total is now 4,924,274.

3:50 p.m. | Okay, so about Gwinnett County - it's probably time we start talking about Gwinnett County.

They had a press conference a little while ago, which further clarified a bit what's holding them up: They had an apparent issue on election night when the county started pushing through its second round of batches of votes - about 3,200 batches with up to 25 ballots each. 

Workers noticed a glitch: Those batches, county spokesman Joe Sorenson said, would not push through because the software showed adjudication was still needed - even though that had already happened.

Because the ballots had already gone through a prior adjudication process - or the process of resolving flagged ballots - Sorenson said the elections board voted to go ahead and push the ballots through, with the understanding that some ballots would have to be re-adjudicated.

That brings us to now. The vast majority of those ballots are 100% fine, but Gwinnett has to go back through all of them to figure out the ones that are not fine - which ones need to be re-adjudicated.

It's a bit of a needle-in-a-haystack search for Gwinnett - they're having to re-run these 3,200 batches of 25 - about 80,000 ballots in all. They may get one or two out a batch that needs to be looked at, or none at all. 

Point is, it's a slow process.

So mixed in with this is 4,400 regular absentee ballots that have been scanned but not reported to the state yet, and another 1,000 provisional ballots that have to be processed (provisional ballots are issued when a voter forgets their ID or is at the wrong location, and then they have to resolve it with the county office. Not all of them will be resolved and ultimately counted.)

There's also around 450 votes from a corrupted memory card at the Shorty Howell Park precinct that have not been reported into the total.

Gwinnett is saying they're not going to report any more numbers until they're fully finished with it all. And they've signaled not to expect that work to be done before Sunday at earliest.

So that's somewhere in the range of at least 5,000+ ballots from Gwinnett that won't be entered into the statewide total until Sunday or maybe even later. 

Which could make it effectively impossible to call Georgia for some days to come.

3:35 p.m. | 11Alive's Jon Shirek asked Gabriel Sterling in the Secretary of State's Office at the press conference that just concluded about the possibility of tampering or concerns with the integrity of the Georgia count. 

"We have in this process 159 dedicated elections directors and their staff who are working to get this right, they are working diligently every single day," he said.

Additionally, concerning any kind of potential allegation that votes are "appearing" out of nowhere, he said: "We know how many requests came in for absentee ballots, we know how many ballots were received so... nobody can suddenly show up with 100,000 extra ballots somewhere."

"In this state in particular we take security very seriously," Sterling said.

3:15 p.m. | Here's a list of which counties have which outstanding ballots not yet reflected in the state count that Gabriel Sterling in the Secretary of State's Office just outlined. We have a team independently trying to confirm some of these:

  • Chatham 17,157
  • Clayton 6,026
  • Cobb 700
  • Floyd 682
  • Forsyth 4,713
  • Fulton 7,305
  • Gwinnett 4,800
  • Harris 4,631
  • Laurens 1,797
  • Taylor 456

2:55 p.m. | We're expecting another update from the Secretary of State's Office shortly at 3:00 p.m.

2:45 p.m. | About 600 more vote into the secretary of state's total, bringing it to 4,920,648. The gap between President Trump and Joe Biden has shrunk a little more with that, to 12,825.

2:30 p.m. | Secretary of State's Office says there are now 47,863 votes outstanding. Again: We're treating these a bit like ballpark figures, we have a team working independently to confirm totals with counties on the ground, and the true number can fluctuate a bit.

2:20 p.m. | CNN's Martin Savidge just reported from Savannah's counting operation in Chatham County. If you're looking for where the last big push will come from in finishing Georgia's counting, this is it, with the secretary of state's office saying Chatham had about 17,000 outstanding votes to count earlier today.

Savidge said the county election supervisor there said it's his hope they can process the rest by the end of business today, but they have just two scanners and 38 personnel working out of a warehouse.

More than anything, adjudication - as we've explained, the process by which the scanning machine sends a hand-marked ballot back for interpretation because of an issue with how it was marked - is slowing them down. The adjudication team is reportedly at a second building, a quarter mile down the road.

Yesterday they handled about 2,000 ballots in Chatham County, CNN reported.

2:05 p.m. | Little under a thousand votes added to the secretary of state's total. Gap stands at 13,220, down just a tick from a little earlier (13,539), with 4,920,062 votes total.

2:00 p.m. | If anyone was wondering, we went back and checked and all these votes that have been tabulated today have not materially changed conditions in any of the non Trump/Biden or Perdue/Ossoff races, including the narrow one in GA-7 where Democrat Carolyn Bourdeaux is still up 51-49 on Republican Dr. Rich McCormick.

1:50 p.m. | Another 46 ballots rolled on through to the secretary of state's website. Total count now at 4,919,122.

1:40 p.m. | Pence, you'll note, was already on the ballot as vice president.

1:30 p.m. | Bizarrely, a single vote was added to the total in the last roughly hour. The statewide total is now 4,919,076.

1:25 p.m. | Amid all the other stuff going on, a little while ago Sec. Raffensperger said on Twitter there were about 50,000 votes left to count in the state. As we've been cautioning all day, it's best to think of these numbers as ballpark figures - conditions on the ground in counties are fluid and it could potentially be higher.

1:15 p.m. | Clarifying information on the exact Fulton County numbers of what hasn't been reflected in state vote totals yet, and what still needs to be processed in terms of provisional ballots.

1:10 p.m. | Fulton County Elections Director Rick Barron indicated in a press conference moments ago that all regular absentee ballots have now been counted. It's not clear when they'll be reflected in official counts, and there are some provisional and cured ballots to process, as well as any overseas or military ballots that arrive tomorrow (the deadline for those is 5 p.m.), but - Fulton County, for all intents and purposes, is done.

1:00 p.m. | Smattering of protesters have been stationed outside State Farm Arena where the Fulton County vote counting has been happening.

12:50 p.m. | The president has just issued a statement to news organizations baselessly claiming election fraud as ballot counting continues. 

It's important to note Georgia's Republican Secretary of State, Brad Raffensperger, has been adamant that no illegal or late votes have been counted. There is no evidence late or illegal votes have been counted. The president's campaign filed a suit to stop the vote in Georgia alleging late votes being added to a stack of votes in Chatham County, and it was dismissed by a judge.

12:35 p.m. | About 1,500 more votes added to the total. Gap down to 13,539. Total at 4,919,075.

12:25 p.m. | Got a pertinent question from a viewer about the presidential race: Why wouldn't there be a runoff between President Trump and Joe Biden with both now under 50%?

The answer: Georgia passed a law in 1968 to eliminate the majority requirement for a presidential vote winner.

12:20 p.m. | Sen. David Perdue, by the way, is now officially at 49.99%, which would necessitate a runoff with Jon Ossoff.

12:10 p.m. | Based on the AP map and reporting precincts, that last batch of roughly 3,000 appeared to be from Bryan County, a Trump-leaning county just outside Savannah. 

12:05 p.m. | We have another batch of votes on the secretary of state's site. Looks like about 3,000 of them, bringing the statewide total to 4,917,685. The gap between President Trump and Joe Biden is now 14,250.

12:05 p.m. | There's been such a flurry of stuff going on, but we wanted to get in a note about the list of counties with outstanding votes: First, we've been cautioning to think of those as ballpark figures, we have a team independently working to confirm the exact figures with the counties themselves, and the true total number of outstanding votes is fluctuating with fluid conditions on the ground on counties and could wind up being a bit higher than what has publicly been released.

12:00 p.m. | Jon Ossoff's campaign has now also released a statement on the potential runoff against Sen. David Perdue:

“The votes are still being counted, but we are confident that Jon Ossoff’s historic performance in Georgia has forced Senator David Perdue to continue defending his indefensible record of unemployment, disease, and corruption. When a runoff is called and held in January, Georgians are going to send Jon to the Senate to defend their health care and put the interests of working families and small businesses ahead of corporate lobbyists. Georgians are sick and tired of the endless failure, incompetence, and corruption of Senator Perdue and Donald Trump.” 

11:46 a.m. | More going on: The Trump campaign lawsuit to stop the count in Chatham County was dismissed by Chatham County Superior Court Judge James Bass. 

11:45 a.m. | Also important to update: The secretary of state's website now shows Sen. Perdue at exactly 50.0%. If he goes below that, he'll be forced into a runoff with Democratic challenger Jon Ossoff.

11:45 a.m. | The gap is now under 15,000 between President Trump and Joe Biden, with about 6,000 votes being added to the total. Our total is at 4,914,473.

11:43 a.m. | We're about to finally get that press conference with Fulton County Election Director Rick Barron. You can watch that here.

11:30 a.m. | By the way, if you're already starting to think about how recounts work, here's a handy guide from the non-partisan Georgia House Budget & Research Office (right now, the spread between President Trump and Joe Biden is 0.37%):

11:20 a.m. | Again, worth a moment of clarifying: The statewide vote totals you can see on the secretary of state's website or that you might be seeing on news networks is not going to immediately reflect the ballots as they come in. So Fulton County says they've dropped the number of outstanding ballots from about 11,000 to 2,000, but we don't know when exactly those 9,000 votes are going to be reflected in the count you can publicly see.

11:17 a.m. | So a bit shy of 5,000 votes altogether to process and work through (roughly 2,000 absentee being processed according to Barron and almost 2,900 provisional) in Fulton County.

11:15 a.m. | Barron said there are also 2,893 provisional ballots to be worked through. All overseas and military ballots that have arrived so far have been counted, he said.

11:10 a.m. | Fulton County Election Director Rick Barron just told CNN he thinks they're within 2,000 of sending out the rest of their ballots to be added to the count.

He was asked to clarify - the Secretary of State's Office just said Fulton had about 11,000 outstanding votes - and he said, yes, that's within 2,000 down from the 11,000 number.

11:10 a.m. | Sen. David Perdue, who has mostly been quiet as the ongoing count has drawn him closer to a runoff with Democratic challenger Jon Ossoff, released this statement:

11:00 a.m. | About 1,000 more votes were just added on the secretary of state's site, 4,908,120 is the total now, gap between President Trump and Joe Biden is 18,144.

10:50 a.m. | Here's the list of remaining votes by county the Secretary of State's Office just announced:

  • Bryan County 3,027
  • Burke County 494
  • Chatham County 17,157
  • Clayton County 7,408
  • Cobb County 700
  • Floyd County 682
  • Forsyth County 4,713
  • Fulton County 11,200
  • Gwinnett County 7,300
  • Harris County 3,641
  • Laurens County 1,797
  • Putnam County 1,552
  • Traylor County 456

10:45 a.m. | Gabriel Sterling in the Secretary of State's Office just read out the remaining totals in each county. We'll get that list transcribed shortly.

10:45 a.m. | The Secretary of State's Office just sent out a release saying there are 61,367 votes still out.

10:25 a.m. | You can watch the Fulton County update on our YouTube stream below. We're expecting the Secretary of State to speak in five minutes.

10:20 a.m. | There is yet another thing you can watch, if you so wish, with the hearing on President Trump's lawsuit against the vote count in Savannah underway down in southeast Georgia.

10:15 a.m. | There is ALSO a Fulton County update with Election Director Rick Barron about to happen. You can watch that here. We'll be streaming the Secretary of State's news conference at 10:30 a.m. above.

10:10 a.m. | We're anticipating a press conference with Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger in about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, the official statewide vote total just went up by 265. We're at 4,906,921 now.

10:00 a.m. | In light of Gwinnett slowly working through their ballots that have issues, we've had a lot of questions about how much time they actually have. We confirmed with the Secretary of State's Office that counties have until next Friday, Nov. 13, to certify their results to the state.

Georgia law outlines that the Secretary of State himself has to certify the statewide results, "Not later than 5:00 P.M. on the seventeenth day following the date on which such election was conducted." That would be Nov. 20. The next day the governor has to certify who will serve as electors in the Electoral College.

9:35 a.m. | We have an update on the Gwinnett County situation. The 4,400 outstanding absentee ballots from Election Day that had not been scanned now have been scanned but can't be pushed to the results total until a number of other ballots that were affected by a software glitch can be adjudicated and pushed through. 

Those ballots are going through adjudication in batches of 3,200, 11Alive's Liza Lucas reports.

There are also 1,000 provisional ballots to be worked through. And we've learned the corrupted data card at the Shorty Howell Park precinct had 463 votes on it.

Gwinnett is cautioning that all this will take a few days, and they're saying not to expect final results from them until Sunday.

9:05 a.m. | A very small uptick in the vote total just came through, but it does take President Trump's lead up by 50, to 18,590. The overall total is now at 4,906,656.

8:55 a.m. | To bring things around a bit, after a batch of Fulton County votes made its way into the count an hour and a half ago or so, there hasn't been any more movement with the total. The president's lead at the moment is 18,540.

8:45 a.m. | The issue of just how many votes are still out there to be counted has been a bit of a confused one, with some different numbers floating around, both from the Secretary of State's Office giving a more general picture and then from what individual counties are reporting.

The Secretary of State's Office just told us the number to go with is 50,000, but we're cautioning that conditions on the ground in these counties is fluid, so think of that number as a bit of a ballpark figure.

8:35 a.m. | A little more about adjudicating, something you'll probably be hearing a lot more about from here on out: Adjudicating is the process by which a hand-marked mail-in ballot has been flagged by the scanner for an issue - the person's vote isn't readable for the scanner, for instance.

A Republican and Democrat will then sit together and try and determine what the voter's intent was. If they can't agree, it's our understanding that an election official on site will break the tie.

8:25 a.m. | Recapping what might still be out there - of Atlanta's "core four" counties, Cobb and DeKalb have reported they're finished. Fulton says about 5,000 votes need to be scanned and another 5-6,000 that have been scanned need to be adjudicated. Gwinnett also has something like 5,000 ballots that need to be adjudicated. Reporters in Savannah this morning are saying there are as many as 25,000 still to be counted in Chatham County.

8:00 a.m. | The other thing we're keeping an eye on, which is just impossibly close, is whether Republican Sen. David Perdue will be forced into a runoff with his Democratic challenger, Jon Ossoff.

Ossoff only has 47.66% of the vote currently, but with Libertarian Shane Hazel at 2.31%, Perdue is hovering just over 50% at 50.03%.

To avoid the runoff, Perdue needs to maintain 50% + 1 of the vote.

7:40 a.m. | One thing we should add there about how many votes are left - the secretary of state may give a number about how many have to be counted, and that number may be different from how many have to still show up in the count. As in, they might have been initially processed, but they haven't been registered into the count yet.

7:30 a.m. | Okay, here's where things stand: Right now according to the official count on the secretary of state's website the president's lead is about 18,500 votes, with 4,905,290 counted. 

It's not clear how many outstanding votes total remain to be counted. We're working to get clarification on that.

7:20 a.m. | Fulton County Election Director Rick Barron just told CNN there are still about 10-11,000 votes altogether that do not yet show up in the county's total. Those will be added he said hopefully by 11 a.m. after the adjudication review panel meets to go through some of the remaining contested ballots around 10 a.m.

Based on the below tweet and Barron's comments, that would appear to indicate 5,000 ballots that need to be initially scanned and another 5-6,000 that have been scanned and flagged for review.

7:15 a.m. | Fulton County says it has about 5,000 ballots still to be scanned:

5:30 a.m. | 4400 absentee ballots received on Election Day still need to be tallied in Gwinnett as well as around 1,000 provisional ballots. Votes from the early voting site that had a corrupt data card also need to be re-scanned. 

4:50 a.m. | Fulton County says election workers have scanned and processed 134,904 absentee ballots. There are 7,596 left to be counted. That’s about 2,500 ballots processed and counted in just the last hour. 

4:20 a.m. | Just after midnight, DeKalb Co announced they have finished counting. The results will be certified by next Friday, Nov 13th. The majority of their votes are from early voting. Besides Clayton Co, this is the most democratic county in the state. Biden is up 83% to Trump's 16%.

3:50 a.m. | Fulton County tells 11Alive they're processing about 3,000 votes per hour. Lawyers from both the Democratic and Republican parties are here to check any issues detected with a ballot. 

3:30 a.m. | Richard Barron, Fulton County elections director, says there are 10k absentee ballots left to process. 

2:20 a.m. | Sen. David Perdue now only holds 50.07% of the votes in his senate race. If it falls below 50%, he’ll face a runoff with Democrat Jon Ossoff.


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