Gabriel Sterling, the voting systems implementation manager for the Georgia Secretary of State’s office, gave a midday briefing to the press Tuesday. Sterling said that 1,018,382 absentee ballots by mail have been received so far, early in-person votes were in at 2,074,994, which means total ballots cast going into Election Day is 3,093,376.
A subset of that number is the Overseas and Military votes – there were 27,945 sent out, Sterling said, and they are working to get a list of the number received. Those ballots can be received and counted up until Friday. Sterling said he expected the office would “probably have that in a later briefing today.”
As of this morning, the state saw a few issues, mainly in Columbia County, which is located outside of Augusta. “They were addressed quickly,” Sterling said.
Two main things happened in Columbia County, Sterling said. First, an “i-button,” which essentially turns on the main polling place scanners, was not programmed properly in a percentage of the precincts. Secondly, some poll worker cards were not properly programmed which did not allow for the voter cards to be made or the ballot activation codes to be used, “so emergency ballots had to be used in that situation and they were put into the emergency bin of the ballot box.”
Sterling added that the average wait times they’ve seen around the state have been between 1 and 5 minutes this morning and the longest they are aware of were about 30 minutes this morning in DeKalb and Cobb County.
“It is steady but it is slow in many cases, so if you haven’t voted, we encourage you, please get out and vote. It is easy, simple, there isn’t a line in the way right now,” Sterling said.
Asked by CNN’s Dianne Gallagher about a report that the Georgia Bureau of Investigations is looking into “specific threats” when it comes to the election, Sterling said that local law enforcement coordinated to do sweeps but added, “We feel comfortable right now that voting is being done in a safe and proper way.”
Asked again if these were specific threats at polling places, he said “it was sort of a copy and paste email done to the several counties, it wasn’t individualized by any means.” He added that they don’t believe any voters or staff are in danger at this point.
Gallagher also asked Sterling about his last 18 hours since his press conference yesterday. Sterling said, “In this office, we follow the law, we follow the process and we defend the constitutional rights of American citizens and we don’t let anything get in the way and distract us from that, so that’s why I’m trying to encourage everybody to please get out and vote.”
Sterling said he did not watch President Trump’s rally in Georgia last night, but when asked if he has anything to say directly to the President, all Sterling said was, “We disagree.”