Hand Recount and Audit of Presidential Election in Georgia

"President Trump Travels to NC" (public domain) by The White House

Georgia’s Secretary of State, Brad Raffensperger, announced that they would conduct a hand recount of the nearly five million votes cast for the presidential election.

Election officials in Georgia announced that they would conduct an audit of presidential election results, which will trigger a full by hand recount. The Secretary of State then stated that his office wants the recount to begin by the end of the week and is expected to end on November 20.

In Georgia, President-elect Joe Biden leads President Trump by around 14,000 votes. This is out of the 5 million votes cast in the state. This week, nearly all the ballots cast were already counted, although counties have until Friday to certify the results.

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Election officers will work with the paper ballots per batches for the hand recount. The ballots will be divided into piles per candidate. Then the piles of the ballot will run through the machines to count the ballots for each candidate.

After the numbers from the hand recount are certified, the losing party can then request another recount, which will be performed by a machine.

Although there is no existing mandatory recount law in Georgia, the state law gives that option to a trailing candidate in case the margin is less than 0.5% points. As of Wednesday morning, Joe Biden’s lead in the state of Georgia stood at 0.28%.

According to Raffensperger, the tight gap means the audit will result in a full hand recount.

“U.S. Elections” (public domain) by GPA Photo Archive

This audit process is a new provision put in place by a law that was passed last 2019, which also provided the new voting machines purchased last year.

In addition to this, the state also chose to do a risk-limiting audit. This will be done by picking random samples of receipts produced by the voting devices and checking the receipts against the results generated by the vote tallying machine for accuracy.

When Raffensperger was asked if he chooses the recount for the presidential race because the Trump campaign called for a hand recount, he answered by saying, “No, we’re doing this because it’s really what makes the most sense with the national significance of this race and the closeness of this race.”

Raffensperger continued by saying that the recount process will have “plenty of oversight,” giving both parties opportunities to observe.

The vote recount represented some sort of public relations victory for the Trump campaign as it pushed until November 20, the final declaration.

Trump Campaign called the recount a “first step”

Last Wednesday, in a call with the press, Tim Murtaugh, Trump campaign communications director and Representative Dough Collins, R-Ga., referred to the recount process as a “first step” to victory for transparency.

Collins said, “This is a victory for integrity. This is a victory for transparency,” further noting that it was the Trump campaign that requested for the hand recount.

He then dismissed the allegations which say that the recount process is a tactic to drive up turnout in state before the runoff elections.

“I don’t think motivation of turnout is a problem down here in Georgia,” Collins said.

The “safe harbor” deadline of the Electoral College is on December 8. It is when states finalize their slates of electors. Afterward, the electors vote on December 14.