DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. — Georgia GOP Chairman David Shafer caused quite a commotion on Wednesday with a tweet that seemingly insinuated Joe Biden's vote total had been overcounted by more than 9,000 in DeKalb County - a very large chunk of his lead in the Peach State.
This was not the case. Here's what happened.
11Alive's Brendan Keefe obtained an affidavit from the Georgia GOP that lays out the version of events as a Republican election observer saw them:
The observer noticed a box that had been labeled by the hand counters as having more than 10,000 ballots inside with another sticker saying the original scanner total was 1,105 votes.
That observer insisted they make sure what was in there and, in fact, there were roughly 1,105 votes in the box (it's unclear why, but the actual number inside was off by two - 1,103).
So, what happened is - humans doing the counting as part of the audit messed up in some way, but the original machine scanner count was not off by 9,000-some votes. It was off by two (again, unclear why two).
Gabriel Sterling in the Secretary of State's Office called the whole thing a "non-event, a non-issue."
He said Shafer has been a friend of his for more than 31 years, that the Secretary of State's Office had received the same affidavit, and that they were made aware of this on Sunday and that it had been resolved.
"This is what happens in an audit," he said.
He also said this is why you don't release results as an audit is ongoing - because something might happen to make it look like suddenly there's a big discrepancy with the original results.
"People will make mistakes in a hand count audit," Sterling said. "That was an error, it was caught and it was fixed and it does not affect the outcome."
Shafer has continued to insist it's possible the error may have been with the original scanner count, because the audit hasn't been completed yet to fully clarify how DeKalb's hand-counted vote total lines up with its original machine-counted vote total.
But that possibility doesn't seem to line up with the affidavit signed by the Republican observer. That person testified they saw a sticker indicating a scanner total that was the correct, lower total and a different label provided by the hand counters indicating the incorrect, much higher total.
There wouldn't be much reason to believe Biden had been credited somehow with 9,000 extra votes in the original scanner total when the Republican observer said the sticker indicated the scanner count was 1,105 for the whole batch.
DeKalb County CEO Michael Thurmond countered with a later statement, saying they "have not verified the allegation" but that "if the scenario occurred as Chairman Shafer alleges, this is evidence that the checks and balances... to ensure the accuracy of the election results, performed as designed."