According to a recent report from Just the News, thousands of “spoiled” ballots — ballots where mistakes were made and the voters crossed out an initial vote and changed to another candidate — were later altered by election workers to reflect the vote that election workers thought the voters meant to cast.
No Adjudication Process in Georgia
All ballots contain disclaimers that tell voters request new ballots if they should make a mistake while attempting to fill out the ballot. The old ballot should be marked “spoiled,” and the voter should request a new one. This also applies to mail-in ballots. However, there are certain circumstances in which Georgia election regulations allow for a ballot to be sent over for “adjudication.” Adjudication is when a human judges a ballot rather than a machine and determines how the voter that filled out the ballot meant to vote.
Adjudication panels include a democrat and a republican, and in Fulton County, county executive Ralph Jones is the tiebreaker when there is a disagreement of intent.
According to Georgia election regulations, “Detection of at least 10% but less than 20% fill-in of the target area surrounded by the oval shall flag the ballot for adjudication by a vote review panel…”
Since mail-in ballots were so widespread in 2020, there were many more adjudicated ballots that year than in previous elections. Additionally, adjudication instructions were verbal and not written, and the state has been criticized for not having an adjudication SOP document to standardize the process statewide.
Some auditors have shown concern that while a crossed-out Trump vote that voted for Biden afterward was counted, a crossed-out Trump vote where no additional candidate was chosen was discarded with no presidential vote recorded.
The number of adjudicated ballots statewide numbered approximately 5,000. This was less than half of what was needed to overcome Biden’s 13,000 vote lead in the state.