workers tabulate absentee ballots in a warehouse
Chatham County workers process and scan absentee ballots on Thursday, Nov. 5, 2020. They still had thousands left to count. (Emily Jones/GPB)

Chatham County continued to count thousands of absentee ballots Thursday, and officials said they expect the results of the ballots in hand to be posted tonight. About 15,000 remained to be reported as of 3:45 p.m. Thursday, according to the Chatham County Board of Elections.

This story also appeared in Georgia Public Broadcasting

Officials said they were still expecting crates of ballots from the Board of Registrars, which initially collects them. Though there is some variation, each crate holds about 1,000 ballots.

“We just wait and see,” Assistant Supervisor Lynn Trabue said of the ballots arriving from the registrar. 

Trabue praised the workers who are verifying and scanning every ballot.

“The people are, they’re doing a good job,” she said. “They’ve been working, some of them, on and off a week and a half at least.”

Trabue said many workers finishing their shifts have offered to return as more ballots arrive.

“When they leave, they say, ‘Call us first time you get more in. We’re ready to go again,’” she said.

Of the absentee-by-mail ballots already counted in Chatham County, 73% have been votes for Democrat Joe Biden.

A judge Thursday dismissed a lawsuit filed by the Georgia Republican Party and the Trump campaign alleging mishandling of 53 ballots. He cited a lack of evidence.

Local officials said Thursday the ballots in question came in before the deadline and were easily located.

“All along we had the ballots,” said Jeanie Groover, Trabue’s assistant. “We found them within five minutes. They had been scanned, verified and put in boxes, in crates.”

Poll watchers, including some from the GOP, continued to monitor the process Thursday afternoon.

This story is available through a news partnership with Georgia Public Broadcasting.

Emily Jones covers climate change and climate solutions as part of a partnership between WABE and Grist. She previously covered the Georgia coast and hosted “Morning Edition” for Georgia Public...