Top Georgia election official says he expects vote to be counted by midday Thursday

Georgia’s top election official said that the state is expected to finish counting outstanding votes by midday on Thursday. 

Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (R) told WSB Radio in Atlanta that officials were working to tally about 50,000 outstanding ballots as of Thursday morning.

Most of the remaining ballots are in Fulton County, where Atlanta is located, and Chatham County, which includes Savannah.

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“We’re looking at by lunchtime having most of this knocked out,” Raffensperger said. 

The presidential contest in Georgia remains too close to call two days after Election Day, with President TrumpDonald TrumpBiden heading to Kansas City to promote infrastructure package Trump calls Milley a 'f---ing idiot' over Afghanistan withdrawal First rally for far-right French candidate Zemmour prompts protests, violence MORE leading former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenChina eyes military base on Africa's Atlantic coast: report Biden orders flags be flown at half-staff through Dec. 9 to honor Dole Biden heading to Kansas City to promote infrastructure package MORE by fewer than 19,000 votes.

Trump’s lead in the state has shrunk significantly, however, as officials tally outstanding absentee ballots, many of them in the Atlanta and Savannah areas, which lean heavily Democratic. 

The Trump campaign and Georgia Republican Party filed a lawsuit on Wednesday alleging that officials in Chatham County are illegally counting absentee votes that arrived after the state’s Election Day deadline for receiving such ballots.

The lawsuit seeks to force county officials to identify and separate allegedly late-arriving mail ballots, presumably so the votes can be tossed out if the campaign’s legal challenge succeeds. 

Georgia has long been a Republican stronghold. But Democrats have contested the state more aggressively in recent years, encouraged by its changing demographics and rapidly growing population. If Biden were to carry the state in the election, he would be the first Democratic presidential candidate in 28 years to do so.