Errors found in Fulton County 2020 election audit: Georgia investigation

The mistakes were the result of human error, according to state investigators.

Published: July 18, 2023 5:13pm

Updated: July 18, 2023 7:54pm

Multiple errors occurred during the audit of Fulton County's 2020 presidential election, according to a consent order approved by the Georgia State Election Board.

"Human error" was the cause for mistakes in the audit, according to state investigators, as the process required paper ballots being sorted by candidate, hand-counted totals being written on paper and then transcribed into computers. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution obtained the consent order and investigative files through a public records request.

The outcome of the audit wasn't changed by the finding, which still showed Joe Biden receiving more votes than then-President Donald Trump.

The State Election Board approved the consent order June 21, when it also decided to not replace the county elections board, after considering taking it over.

"The reported inconsistencies were the result of human error in entering the data, which were not discovered in time to make corrections due to time limitations in completing the risk-limiting audit and the sheer amount of ballots, and not due to intentional misconduct," according to the consent order. "The discovered errors were a fractional number of the total votes counted and did not affect the result of the 2020 general election."

Election workers likely double-counted when they were unable to tell if the auditing software recorded their initial tally, causing them to enter the numbers again. There were also several mistyped vote totals or votes allocated to the wrong candidate.

The errors found by the investigators amounted to about 3,000 extra absentee votes counted for Biden during the audit, according to a rough estimate by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. However, it was not used for the state's certified vote count. The overall audit count was close to the official machine results.

“The RLA (risk-limiting audit) was the first of its kind in Georgia,” a county attorney wrote to the secretary of state’s office. "The counties were not properly assisted in preparing for the RLA and were not given tools and resources to allow them to reconcile the data that was entered. A more robust system capable of handling the data and additional time would eliminate the issues.”

"The SEB accepted the consent order as an appropriate resolution of the investigation," Deputy Secretary of State Jordan Fuchs told Just the News in a statement on Tuesday. "The investigation specifically found that any data entry errors committed by Fulton did not affect the results of the 2020 election. The case is now closed."

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