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Chatham County elections workers tabulating last of absentee and provisional ballots

The Chatham County Board of Elections will begin processing absentee ballots on Monday, Dec. 21.
The Chatham County Board of Elections will begin processing absentee ballots on Monday, Dec. 21.(WTOC)
Updated: Jan. 8, 2021 at 10:56 PM EST
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - The deadline for remaining absentee and provisional ballots is at 5 p.m. Friday in Georgia.

Military and overseas absentee ballots postmarked by Tuesday, and provisional ballots making it to the Board of Registrars Office here in Chatham County are now being verified.

It won’t be a large number of UOCAVA and provisional ballots coming over here today, somewhere less than a couple hundred according to the Chatham County Board of Elections chairman.

“It’s not going to be enough votes in any event to really change. We had a little over 120,000 votes cast in this election. That’s going to be about the number of the final,” said Tom Mahoney, Chatham County Board of Elections Chairman.

And because of that, he says this will be the last day of ballot tabulation, before the remaining numbers are uploaded.

Tom Mahoney, Chatham County Board of Elections Chairman, pointed out, “This is still really election night returns basically, which means that they’re incomplete and they’re not official. They’re unofficial and incomplete. We’ll be going through and we’ve already started in fact going through balancing. And we’ll continue that process until we certify. And the deadline for certification is not today, but next Friday.”

Mahoney says for this runoff Chatham County saw a 55 percent voter turnout. He says this is a “historic” high for a runoff election, which he says typically do have lower turnout than some other elections.

Around 7:00 p.m. the staff went home for the night, making the absentee ballot count officially over. Starting next week, Mahoney says the certification process will begin.

“They’re unofficial and incomplete. We’ll be going through, and we’ve already started in fact, going through balancing and we’ll continue that process until we certify.”

Mahoney says he does expect this process to run smoothly and it will verify that all of the votes have been counted.

“I look across other counties that have similar election officials and I have confidence that they’re supposed to do too in accordance to their oath.”

Mahoney says he intends on helping to educate people on the election process, for the future, so that people can be confident in the system.

“It’s important for us to recognize that there are many, many voters who still have questions and doubts and so I think it will be something that I will be interested in trying to get them more information about the elections process.”

On a different note, we asked Mahoney about the recent immediate resignation of fellow board member Debbie Rauers, a Republican.

He says he anticipates the board will look to fill her seat with another Republican representative to maintain the partisan balance of the board, but didn’t say specifically when that could happen.

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