MARIETTA — Cobb County’s elections department has to recount 396,551 ballots by 11:59 p.m. Wednesday.
The recount was ordered by Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensberger for the presidential election, but the count itself is done by the elections office in each of the state’s 159 counties.
Friday, two-person teams were checking Cobb paper ballots one at a time and sorting them, then feeding them to a machine to count at Jim Miller Park. They started with printouts of in-person votes at machines, and will count mail-in ballots later, elections officials said.
Cobb Elections Director Janine Eveler said this was the first time that Cobb had ever done a recount in a presidential election.
“There’s a lot of pressure. There’s a short window to do it, and it’s never been done. So I don’t have any basis to know how it’s going to go,” she said.
As of Friday evening, about 115,000 had been recounted, Eveler said.
About 80 workers will be sorting and counting at any given time over the next few days, Eveler said, but that number could change. She expected the first day would be the slowest as workers adjust to the recount.
Also Friday, the Cobb County Board of Elections certified results of the Nov. 3 election. If results of the recount vary from the certified presidential results, the board will reconvene to re-certify, Eveler said.
The elections director said she expects there to be a difference between the original numbers and the recount due to human error, but “I don’t think it’ll be large numbers.”
Elections officials plan to have workers count ballots 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. every day through Wednesday, but they will determine later if they need to add hours, Eveler said.
The county received a grant of $5.6 million from the Center for Tech and Civic Life, a Chicago-based nonprofit dedicated to supporting local elections, to cover election costs in September, including salaries, according to county spokesman Ross Cavitt.
However, Eveler said the county will end up footing most of the bill for the recount.
County officials were not sure how much the recount would cost, and will not know until after it’s over, Cavitt said.