Georgia’s results from the 2020 presidential election were delayed Tuesday after a pipe burst in a room containing mail ballots from Fulton County, the largest county covering the state’s capital of Atlanta.
The Atlanta Journal Constitution reported Tuesday night that though none of the ballots were damaged, and the burst pipe took only two hours to repair, election officials have fallen significantly behind schedule in terms of tabulating both mail and in-person votes.
“As planned, Fulton County will continue to tabulate the remainder of absentee ballots over the next two days,” a county spokesperson said in a statement Tuesday evening. “Absentee ballot processing requires that each ballots is opened, signatures verified, and ballots scanned. This is a labor intensive process that takes longer to tabulate than other forms of voting.”
Elections board member Mark Wingate added that “from a candidate standpoint,” the final results might not be known “until Friday.”
Still, Fulton County elections chief Richard Barron pushed back on that new timeline to AJC, saying the prior setback “will have zero effect on results.”
According to the Real Clear Politics polling average, Trump lead Biden by just one point in the state heading into Election Day, but the pair had exchanged leads multiple times over the past month and the Biden campaign viewed the battleground as one state the former vice president could realistically flip blue. Though Biden himself did not visit Georgia over the final stretch of the election, his top surrogates — including former President Barack Obama and Democratic Vice Presidential nominee Kamala Harris — hit the state hard over the past week.
A bitterly divided America was going to the polls on Tuesday amid the worst pandemic in a century and an economic crisis to decide whether to give President Donald Trump four more years or send Democrat Joe Biden to the White House. A record-breaking number of early votes — more than 100 million — have already been cast in an election that has the nation on edge and is being closely watched in capitals around the world.
“All that we are looking to now in terms of Georgia and the prospect of what we might accomplish in this state,” Harris said alongside former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams on Sunday. “It’s not like it’s a one-off. Don’t forget when [Trump] was running for office and thinking about his political career, he had the gall to question the legitimacy of America’s first Black president.”
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