Marci McCarthy spent her weekend volunteering as a GOP observer in one of the most contested general elections in U.S. history and in her home state of Georgia, the recount is at the eye of the political storm.
She volunteered to observe the recount in Georgia’s DeKalb County, telling me it was her duty as an American and she wanted to ensure that the GOP was being thoroughly represented. According to Georgia election officials it took two days for DeKalb County workers to finish the recount. Roughly 300 people recounted more than 370,000 ballots over two 8-hour shifts Saturday and Sunday, and she said the situation left her feeling less secure about the election than before she walked in.
McCarthy and other GOP observers added to the long shifts that seemed to never end, as political divisions became more apparent and appeared to rip at the seams of the American electorate.
It was a struggle from the moment she walked into the massive Sam’s warehouse used to count the votes, she told me on Sunday. Everyone inside was divided into teams – she was the red team, for Republicans, and the Democrats, were marked in blue. McCarthy said, right from the get-go “walking into the warehouse was like stepping into enemy territory.”
McCarthy said she immediately realized that it would be impossible to see the ballots as a health official took her temperature. She was warned to stay six feet away from the counters at the tables and not to ask questions.
“We got yelled at if we were too close to anyone by the health department,” she recalled. “The department was very quick to act upon us if we were closer than six feet but not anyone else.”
In fact, the print wasn’t legible at the six feet of distance mandated to help mitigate the spread of the COVID-19 outbreak but not for the ballot counters, who she noted were sitting right next to each other. She realized at that point, her presence alone would have to serve as a deterrent from someone who may be planning to commit fraud in her section.
“I literally couldn’t see anything,” McCarthy, as she shuffled through her meticulous notes. “It was a waste of tax payer dollars. You’re there as recount theater, we were the props that these actors were aware of so that they essentially wouldn’t cheat. But I had no way of knowing what the counters were doing with those ballots.”
American’s Losing Faith In The Election
McCarthy, like many Americans, says she has lost faith in the election process. In fact, on Tuesday evening various counties in Georgia discovered either ballots that hadn’t been counted and in one instance a memory card with ballots that had never been uploaded.
David Shafer, former State senator and chairman of the Georgia GOP, announced a new discovery Tuesday night of missing ballots, saying on Twitter “our monitors tell us that Walton County election officials have found a memory card that was apparently not uploaded….The number of uncounted votes is not as large as in Floyd or Fayette but the President will pick up votes.”
Shafer also noted the strange disparity in rejected votes from 2018 and the extraordinary low rejection rate in 2020. He said in 3.5 % of the ballots were rejected in 2018’s election, out of 230,000 absentee ballots cast but noted that with 1.2 million absentee ballots in 2020, the rejection rate fell to 0.3 percent.
“Did the massive increase in ballots overwhelm the verification process,” questioned Shafer.
There are also other Georgia counties were ballots had been discovered but never entered.
Missing Ballots Discovered
In Fayette County, 2,755 votes that were not included in the initial count were discovered because they were never uploaded into the system. According to reports, of the votes now being added to the total, 1,577 were for President Donald Trump, 1,128 for Joe Biden and the rest were for Jo Jorgenson or write-ins.
In fact, that changes the margin in the state by under 500 votes, Biden now leading Trump by 12,929 votes.
In Floyd County, according to election officials 2,600 votes that were missed during the initial count on election night. According to the Secretary of State’s office it was human error and called for the elections director in the county to step down and the situation is being investigated. Those votes will change the margin by about 800 in favor of Trump, a report states.
“I don’t trust this election because there are too many unanswered questions,” she said. “When a team wins the Super Bowl you always remember their name of who won but you never remember the winning score. All it takes is a few votes for Joe Biden to win and taking advantage of human error can create an opportunity to commit fraud. There are no checks and balances.”
She reiterated all the irregularities and human error she witnessed during the recount saying “I just walked through how many and that’s what I observed. Imagine the human error and process failure. I just think there is an awful lot of opportunity to go wrong.”
In fact, McCarthy, wasn’t just frustrated by her inability to see the ballots but in the warehouse, with her mask on, she could barely hear the people who were mandated to stand six feet away from her because of COVID-19. Even when the cardboard boxes came out to be counted, it was impossible to tell what they contained or if they had been counted before, meaning someone started a count but never finished so they had to start over, or if it was a complete recount for the first time.
“My biggest concern is that we weren’t able to see what was going on,” said McCarthy. “I was required to either stand or sit on a card table chair literally six feet away from the table where the counters were sorting the ballots and expected to monitor multiple tables – four to five tables – eight to ten people at a minimum. It was impossible to keep up with all of it, all of the time. In fact, it was impossible to see anything.”
“The ballot counters operated as pairs but I could not communicate with them,” she said, adding that if there was a discrepancy she had to hunt down a supervisory to notify them of what she had observed. All the while, the tables would keep counting the ballots even if there was no one there to monitor.
Cobb County: The Most Pivotal County
It was a similar situation for Ben Hendrick, who is a cyber security expert and was a GOP observer in Cobb County, Georgia, where he was born and raised. He moved back to Cobb County from California in 1985 and he says he volunteers for the GOP because he wants to give back to his community. He’s vested in the American dream “even though it feels far off these days,” he said.
And Cobb County is one of the most pivotal counties in the election. It was there, that Joe Biden got the electoral votes against Trump. It is Cobb County where both parties are going to also battle for votes in the January 5, Senate run-off races.
Hendrick has seen his community change over time. During the election, he said, he had more questions and concerns regarding what he saw as irregularities then any answers with the recount. He read off his long detailed list of complaints to me and the issues he noted during his time volunteering as an observer for the recount. He said the political issues with this years general election and the past four years of Democrats targeting President Donald Trump has truly divided the nation and in a way changed our communities. I would have to agree with him on that.
“One of the things that we saw was ballots being counted on paper that had a yellow tint to it,” said Hendrick, in a phone call with me over the weekend. “All the ballots we counted today were in person votes. For example, I voted in Kenesaw County, and that paper is a bleached white color.”
Hendrick admits that the yellow tinge color may have been an anomaly with that paper – adding that he raised the issue with a Cobb County supervisor. None-the-less, he said, he and other witnesses “signed affidavits about the coloring and noted that all were votes for Biden.”
There were other issues like not having the required “GOP people who needed to be there but the election officials couldn’t wait and said they couldn’t stop the re-count.” He noted that any questions to the supervisors were shrugged off and that they didn’t want to answer any questions. In fact, he said, the process did not feel or seem very transparent.
In fact it was so politically divided that Hendrick, along with other GOP observers, felt ostracized by the Democrats who clearly were better organized and have more power among the officials than the Republicans.
Hendrick admitted that politics is usually never pleasant but said the recount is necessary because “this is how you make sausage; this is what happens sometimes.”
“Democracy isn’t always pretty,” he said, adding that he’s a religious man and believes God will guide the nation.
“I want to do my little part to make sure that Democracy continues in our nation,” he added.”I want to get the message out and for others to learn from what’s happened here. We need to get our questions answered and if there’s nothing wrong, then there’s nothing wrong but if there is wouldn’t everyone want to fix it, wouldn’t everyone want to protect our elections?”
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