Election 2020: Georgia secretary of state expects a vote recount

Georgia is too close to call — and will probably be that way for the next several weeks.

On Friday, Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger announced that the state would likely be holding a recount. The margin between President-elect Joe Biden and President Donald Trump stands at just 1,585 votes as of 12:53 ET Friday (Biden currently leads 2,450,186 votes to 2,448,629).

“Right now, Georgia remains too close to call,” he said. “As we are closing in on a final count, we can begin to look toward our next steps. With a margin that small, there will be a recount in Georgia.”

Raffensperger also added that “the focus for our office and county election officials, for now, remains on making sure that every legal vote is counted and reported accurately.” But Gabriel Sterling, the state’s voting system implementation manager, told reporters that, to be clear, there was no evidence of the fraud being alleged by the Trump campaign, saying, “We’re not seeing any widespread irregularities.”

Under Georgia law, a candidate can request a recount if the margin is 0.5 percent or less of total votes cast, but the request must be made within two days of the certification of the election results. More than 4.9 million votes have been cast in Georgia so far, with roughly 4,000 votes remaining to be counted, not including what could be as many as 8,900 overseas, military, and provisional ballots.

Importantly, the Trump campaign has not yet requested a recount in Georgia but has already indicated it will request a recount in Wisconsin, another state that allows candidates to request one if the margin is narrow enough.

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If the Trump campaign were to request a recount in Georgia as well, the request must be made within two days of the certification of the election results — in Georgia’s case, that would be November 17.

However, based on previous Georgia recounts in state-level races, the total vote numbers are unlikely to change significantly. A 2004 Georgia judicial race in which the candidates were separated by fewer than 400 votes went to a recount, but the margin of victory only changed by 15 votes. And in 2017, a recount took place in the Atlanta mayoral race between Mary Norwood and Keisha Lance Bottoms, but Norwood did not gain any additional votes and Bottoms remained the victor.

It’s important to note that Georgia will not decide the presidency: With a win in Pennsylvania, Joe Biden already has 273 electoral votes, more than the 270 required to win the election.