Duplicate ballot papers were discovered by voters who sued Fulton for persuading a judge to allow them an in-depth review of 147,000 postal ballot papers. The judge ruled against the plaintiffs last month, but the case survived with new lawsuits against the county’s five electoral officers.

“If we find this in Fulton County, we will probably find it across the state. The question is, why did it happen? “Said David Cross, an investment manager who works with the plaintiffs.” The simple fact that it happened and we found it here means it probably happened elsewhere. “

Election monitors and organizations consider it unlikely that double counting was frequent or high.

The double counted ballot papers would have brought Biden 27 additional votes. After recounting, official results showed that Trump received a total of 121 absentee votes in Fulton. Biden won the district with 73% of 524,000 votes cast.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution also reviewed the duplicate ballots in ballot images obtained under the Georgia Open Records Act and posted online.

ExploreSee Fulton ballot papers with unclear markings and how officials voted

The total number of ballots counted in Georgia was generally equivalent to the number of voters who checked into polling stations or returned postal votes. Manual and machine recounts gave similar total numbers for each candidate.

“It’s because Fulton is again not following proper election protocols,” said Carter Jones, an independent observer of Fulton’s election, who found negligent practice but no fraud. “Fulton’s so bad at managing the actual process that if they actually tried to rig the election, they would have botched it and we would have found out.”

Jones said it was possible a poll worker lost track of which postal ballot papers had been scanned the first count and then ran them through the machine again.

Jones, who was hired by the State Election Board to monitor Fulton’s post-primary election last year, recommended that the county change postal ballot processing during the recount and runoff, and pack the postal ballots for safekeeping once they are scanned. The county followed its advice and reduced the chance of ballots being counted twice.

The most obvious example of duplicates in the initial count occurred in a batch of 99 ballots that was first scanned on the morning of October 28th and then re-scanned about an hour later, with the second batch counting in exactly the reverse order of the first. Those batches had 58 votes for Biden, 39 for Trump, one for the libertarian Jo Jorgensen and one for West.

Some or all of another batch of 98 ballot papers appeared to be scanned a second time within minutes on election night. Biden received 55 votes in the first of these batches and 56 in the second batch. Many of the ballots appeared to be identical.

“That should never happen,” said Mark Lindeman, associate co-director of Verified Voting, an electoral integrity organization that focuses on voting technology. “I’m not trying to apologize for a mistake, but in really difficult circumstances people do things that are inexplicable and that seems to be the case here.”

Lindeman said he couldn’t remember another example of ballot papers being scanned twice somewhere in the country. He proposed stricter ballot tracking procedures, which divide the ballot papers into piles with unique identification labels and cover sheets. Some jurisdictions print serial numbers on postal ballot papers when they are scanned for use in exams.

Fulton election officials declined to comment pending legal proceedings to review ballot papers.

County Commission chairman Robb Pitts said the allegations of widespread fraud are based on the “big lie” that the presidential election was illegitimate.

“Allegations of willful misconduct or fraud remain untrue and baseless,” said Pitts. “The Big Lie is a dangerous conspiracy theory that falsely claims that tens of thousands of votes in Fulton County – and millions across the country – were fraudulent, not that there is the possibility of small human error.”

The Secretary of State was investigating Fulton’s election management and could eventually bring a case to the state’s electoral board, which has the power to impose fines or refer allegations to prosecutors.

Georgia’s electoral law, Senate Law 202, also gives the state committee the power to replace the county electoral boards and appoint an appointed administrator.

Other counties in Georgia made bigger votes counting errors than Fulton during the first count.

Election workers in three districts discovered a total of more than 3,300 new votes stored on memory cards that had not been loaded into voting computers. Another problem in Floyd County resulted in 2,600 ballots not being scanned. These ballots were included in Georgia’s recount and officially confirmed results.

Voting skeptics plan to continue checking the ballot pictures outside of court and looking for irregularities in Fulton County and other jurisdictions where a majority of voters supported Joe Biden. They will continue to take their case to court for higher resolution images and personal inspection.

Fulton’s attorneys have said the case is unfounded and will request his termination.