Fayette election recount: Misplaced memory card nets Trump 449 more votes

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The mandatory statewide recount of votes from the Nov. 3 General Election revealed a card from the Fayette County Library with 2,760 votes that had not been pulled and counted. Once the recount was complete and an investigation by Fayette County Elections Director Floyd Jones was concluded, the recount with all votes now tallied showed Donald Trump with a net gain of 449 votes.

Votes tallied after election night in Fayette County, and before the recount, showed Trump with 35,653 votes and Joe Biden with 30,789 votes.

Fayette County Administrator Steve Rapson. File photo.
Fayette County Administrator Steve Rapson. File photo.

Explaining what had occurred during the recount process, County Administrator Steve Rapson in a Nov. 17 letter to commissioners said, “As you’re aware, Georgia’s Secretary of State mandated that election officials conduct a recount by hand of all ballots cast in the presidential race. Fayette County has undergone this hand recount and the results, along with a detailed explanation for the variance, is reflected below.”

Rapson noted that the Secretary of State is conducting an investigation and the Elections Board has requested that any questions concerning these results be sent to the Election Chairman Daryl Hicks for comment.

The statement of facts as presented in Rapson’s letter included:

  • During Early Voting for the November 2020 Election, the Peachtree City Library discovered Dominion scanners stop accepting ballots once 10,000 ballots are scanned through them. On Oct. 27 the scanner at the Fayette County Public Library showed that it was nearing 10,000 scanned ballots.
  • In an effort to continue with uninterrupted voting, the County Registrar requested the Dominion Technician to make sure the scanner at the library would continue without stopping or slowing the election. The Dominion Technician removed a memory card from the Fayette County Library’s scanner and replaced it with a new memory card. The removed memory card was then taken by the Dominion Technician to the Fayette County Elections Office. The new memory card remained in the scanner located at the Fayette County Library.
  • The Fayette County Elections Director was not aware of this change of cards and he was not aware that a fifth card was now in use.
  • On Election night, the Fayette County Elections Director was provided four memory cards from the four early voting locations:  Fayetteville Library, Fayette Elections Office, Tyrone Town Hall and Peachtree City Library. Each location would have one memory card. All four memory cards were uploaded into the Elections Management System (EMS) and totaled. The memory card that was totaled from the Fayette Library was the first card with 9,625 votes on it.
  • The new card with 2,760 votes was not pulled and counted. It remained in the scanner from the Fayette County Library and it remained sealed. From the standpoint of the Elections Director, all four cards had been pulled and the results calculated.
  • There was a discrepancy in the ENet calculation and Dominion, but it was at first believed to be based on the numbers of cancelled ballots in Fayette and a belief those numbers were contributing to the offset of the ENet count.
  • Simultaneously, the Elections Office prepared a manifest of ballots cast and, subsequently, began an audit of all the ballots in accordance to the state-ordered hand recount.
  • The audit agreed with ENet numbers- indicating there was a miscount from the memory cards — specifically in regard to the Early In-Person voting numbers.
  • The Elections Director conducted a deeper look into the discrepancy in numbers and learned during his investigation that a fifth card had been put into use, had recorded votes, and had not been calculated.
  • The fifth card was then entered into the EMS system and calculated resulting in no further discrepancy from Dominion, ENet and the hand recount.
  • This resulted in a net gain of 449 votes for Donald Trump.

25 COMMENTS

  1. Hopefully the recount verification will restore faith in the election process for some (perhaps more), but something tells me that no matter the final result, the Trumpsters in this county and on this board will have a difficult time in digesting some obvious facts.

    And that is the Democratic Presidential Candidate secured 45.6% of the vote (adjusted) while in 2016 it was 38.2%. This represents a 7.4 gain in Fayette while the Trump Republicans lost ground at 3.2. Totaled that’s over a 10 point shift and although it’s a bit higher than some surrounding counties, the gains have been seen with many others and across the state.

    Now then with a senate runoff starting that ends in early January, it will be interesting to see not only how the two Trump GOP candidates align themselves, but whether their enabling status and allegiance to “him” brings about another hangover in early 2021. Perhaps only then will the true Republicans within the party begin to self-analyze.

    • So, Trump got 449 votes out of 2760 on this missing memory card from what I am told was the Fayette County library early voting. That 16% which implies 84% for Biden and write-ins. Unless those Californians and Yankees have already invaded Fayette County, I don’t see us as being 84% blue or 84% antiTrump.

      Only 16% of Fayette (probably Fayetteville) voters voted for Trump? Doesn’t make sense.

      • It was reported above as a “net-gain” of 449. So doing the math from the original totals, one would add 449 for one side and subtract 449 from the other; strongly assuming that the total votes did not change on the recount.

  2. The system is working as intended, finding discrepancies and resolving them.

    I wonder if the voted leaned in favor of Biden all the people up in arms about it in the comments would be as mad or if they would try to get them thrown out for “fraud”. I think it’s great that we have this system that makes sure that everyone’s vote is counted. This makes me more confident in the results of the election.

  3. Who was over the Fayetteville Library location and why didn’t that person or location at the end of early voting check for a memory card? One would think that each early voting location would ensure its memory card(s) was presented to the Fayette County Elections Office at the end of early voting. There seems to be more questions that need to be answered.

  4. This is good because it makes sense. The 449 additional Trump votes (and 449 fewer Biden votes) also showed up in the Purdue/Ossof race. This is good because the Wisconsin and Pennsylvania races don’t have the benefit of that logical backup honesty. Their newly found ballots want you to believe thousands of voters only voted for Biden and left all the down ballot races blank. Hard to accept that.

    Anyway I’m glad the award-winning Floyd Jones ferreted this out. But we are only one county. So 400 votes here, 400 votes there. 159 counties in the state. Maybe its not really over.

    And BTW, if the original discovery at the PTC library was about a memory card filling up at 10,000 votes and the article said voting actually stopped there, so where is that location’s overflow card? The article says the extra votes were found on a forgotten memory card at the Fayette County public library (a different location). I hope Floyd checks that PTC library machine for another memory card. PTC library early voting memory card with a 10,000 vote capacity had a lot more than 400 Trump votes on it. Guaranteed.

    At least maybe Floyd could let the “I forgot the memory card” guy sit out the recount election in January.

      • Yea, that makes more sense since the votes were not counted in the first place. The term “net gain” is confusing. Nevertheless, as I pointed out elsewhere a Biden landslide in Fayette County of 84% doesn’t make a lot of sense to me.

        I think we will continue to see many little things like this across GA and maybe other states, but nothing that adds up to a Trump second term. I’m starting to get used to the idea, but I’m sure I’ll be depressed when I hear Biden’s cabinet choices.

      • I’m pretty sure it’s Trump got 449 more votes than Biden resulting in a net gain of 449 votes for Trump. So it would be Biden 1156 and Trump 1604. Weird way of putting it, but I think this makes the most sense in when looking at how the rest of Fayette county voted.

        • Ok, that makes some sense, but then the article itself could be worded better – right? And I agree that your calculation is more aligned with Fayette County values. Maybe Ben or Cal could clear this up for us.

          Something like “The 2760 votes were shown as 1156 for Biden and 1604 for Trump which was a net gain of 449 for Trump” – using your numbers of course.

          Why we can’t just see facts reported in plain language is a mystery to me.

          • I agree completely, this seems like something journalists should know how to do. Communicate information in a clear and concise manner.

  5. Maybe we should go back to paper ballots that way nobody forgets about memory cards, no machines can be hacked or algorithms set to one party. Give me the hanging Chad any day. It is suspicious that it’s a Republican county in both of these cases

  6. With forgotten memory cards now discovered in both Floyd and Fayette Counties, perhaps we should have hand recounts of every election (at least to corroborate that the number of votes cast equals the number of votes counted). It is interesting that both of these problems were detected in majority Republican counties with Republican county officials responsible for the errors. I assume this is merely coincidence, especially since Biden was benefited in each case.

    The plot thickens!

    • Maybe we should go back to paper ballots that way nobody forgets about memory cards, no machines can be hacked or algorithms set to one party. Give me the hanging Chad any day. It is suspicious that it’s a Republican county in both of these cases

      • That’s why the Dems lost seats in the House…throw in that Biden underperformed Hillary in all but 4 major Dem Cities…..Atlanta, Philadelphia, Detroit and Minneapolis….nah, nothing to see there.

        Those 4 cities could easily swing the Electoral College.

        • Not sure where you get your sourced info from, but I can no doubt guess. However, if you actually do look things up, you’ll find that J Biden outperformed H Clinton in Dallas, Oakland, St Louis, Phoenix, Baltimore, Charlotte, Jacksonville, just to name a few of the random “NFL” cities.

    • Everyone is so quick to condemn and allege widespread improprieties. I’d challenge you to become a poll worker. Why, we even have a runoff coming up – go volunteer to work the polls. Count the votes. Be part of the process if you think you can do a better job. Elections will NEVER be perfect. Why? Because they are run by imperfect people. I’m all for a system that has an automatic recount built in, so we can have checks and balances, but the fact of the matter is that there will always be human error. There will always be some level of fraud and always has. We will always be fighting said fraud in order for it not to grow out of control. The plain fact though, is it is EXTREMELY hard to sway a national election with fraud. Each state has its rules and regulations, different voting systems, different procedures. To get a widespread fraud effort to sway an election would be extremely difficult to pull off and then to have it undetected – impossible.