Georgia to conduct a full recount of election ballots

By Jason Lange and Julia Harte WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Georgia will re-count all paper ballots cast in the Nov. 3 presidential election by hand, the state's top election official said on Wednesday, a mammoth task that must be completed by Nov. 20

Reuters November 12, 2020 01:12:10 IST
Georgia to conduct a full recount of election ballots

Georgia to conduct a full recount of election ballots

By Jason Lange and Julia Harte

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Georgia will re-count all paper ballots cast in the Nov. 3 presidential election by hand, the state's top election official said on Wednesday, a mammoth task that must be completed by Nov. 20.

Democratic President-elect Joe Biden secured more than the 270 Electoral College votes needed by winning Pennsylvania on Saturday after four tense days of counting, delayed by a surge in mail-in ballots due to the coronavirus pandemic. Winning Georgia would only add to Biden's margin of victory.

Republican President Donald Trump has refused to concede defeat and has said - without citing evidence - that the voting was marred by fraud.

The vote count in Georgia showed Biden ahead of Trump by just 14,101 votes out of some 5 million across the state, and with the margin so small, a recount is needed, Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said at a news conference.

"You actually have to do a full hand-by-hand recount of all because the margin is so close," Raffensperger said. "We want to start this before the week is up."

"People will be working lots of overtime over the next coming weeks," he said.

A study by the non-partisan group Fair Vote found that out of 31 statewide recounts between 2000 and 2019, the outcome changed in only three of them. More often, the winner won by a tiny bit more. On average, they shifted the outcome by 0.024%, Fair Vote found - a much smaller margin than Trump would need. Biden is currently leading Trump in Georgia by 49.5% to 49.2%.

Georgia's two U.S. senators, David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler, both Republicans, on Monday called on Raffensperger, who is also a Republican, to resign over his management of the election in Georgia. Their statement presented no evidence of fraud, however.

(Reporting by Jason Lange and Tim Ahmann in Washington; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Sonya Hepinstall)

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