CONYERS — The Georgia Secretary of State’s Office confirmed late Thursday that an investigator from the Elections Division will be at the Rockdale Board of Elections and Voter Registration Friday.
Chris Perlera, deputy press secretary for the Secretary of State’s Office, said he could not elaborate on why the investigator will be in Rockdale. A phone call seeking information from the Board of Elections was not immediately returned.
The investigator will be in Rockdale on the same day that the Board of Elections will be counting the final ballots in Tuesday’s General Election. Most ballots were counted Tuesday night, but the ones that could ultimately decide the race for Rockdale County sheriff will be counted Friday.
According to Cynthia Welch, Rockdale’s elections supervisor, all military/civilian overseas, absentee by mail and provisional ballots will be counted today at 5 p.m. at the Board of Elections and Registration Office, 1400 Parker Road, Lobby C. The results will be announced at that time.
Prior to the count, the Board of Elections is determining how many of the 237 provisional ballots cast Tuesday will be rejected and how many will be accepted. Because the sheriff’s race was determined by a razor thin margin, those ballots will play a key role in determining who will be the next sheriff of Rockdale County.
In Tuesday’s balloting, incumbent Republican Sheriff Jeff Wigington received 49.98 percent of the vote to Democratic challenger Eric Levett’s 49.93 percent, a difference of 18 votes.
In an email Thursday, Welch said the BOE had not yet finalized the number of provisional ballots that would be accepted and counted.
“We are continuing to research and validate provisional ballots; therefore, we do not have a count on how many will be accepted and rejected,” Welch said. “We hope to have this number by (Friday) morning at the latest.”
Following Friday’s ballot count, the General Election results are set to be certified on Saturday at 1 p.m. at the Board of Elections Office. Once the results are certified, any candidate eligible for an automatic recount may make a written request to the Board of Elections.
According to the Secretary of State’s Office, a losing candidate who is within 1 percent of the winning candidate’s vote total may request a recount. The request must be made in writing within two days of the election certification.
Provisional voting allows voters to cast a ballot in person even if all the requirements for voting cannot be met at the time. There are three reasons voters may be allowed to cast a provisional ballot:
• The voter is unable to show one of the required forms of photo ID at the time of voting;
• The voter registered to vote by mail, did not provide identification at that time, and is unable to provide acceptable ID when voting for the first time in person; or
• The voter’s name does not appear on the list of registered voters in the precinct.
Provisional ballots are counted if the problem preventing the voter from casting a regular ballot is solved within two days after the election.