Because of the small difference in votes between President Donald Trump and President-elect Joe Biden, Georgia is officially going to a hand recount. “This will help build confidence. It will be an audit, a recount and a recanvass all at once,” Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger announced Wednesday at a press conference. “It will be a heavy lift.”
Raffensperger said the presidential contest will undergo a risk-limiting audit, which will require a full hand recount in all of Georgia’s 159 counties. The presidential race there is currently separated by 14,112 votes, with Biden currently in the lead. The roughly 14,000-vote difference works out to 0.3% of the close to 5 million votes cast in Georgia. The winner of Georgia will secure 16 electoral votes.
Georgia law actually requires an auditing process in their elections before the state certifies results. The typical “risk-limiting audit” would include checking a random sample of ballots by hand and then comparing those against a machine tabulation. Raffensperger said that because the margin of this race was so slim, a random sample of ballots didn’t seem sufficient enough, so a full hand recount will now get underway.
In a typical vote-counting scenario, scanners read and tally the vote on each ballot. In a hand recount, election workers will hand-sort ballots into piles for each candidate and the machines will only be used to count those piles.
According to Raffensperger, the recount is expected to be completed and the winner certified by the deadline of November 20.