Georgia’s secretary of state ordered every county in the state to conduct a hand recount and audit of millions of ballots cast in the presidential race.
With several counties still counting votes, the current margin between President Donald Trump and Democrat candidate Joe Biden is just over 14,000 votes. Almost 5 million ballots have been cast in the state.
“With the margin being so close, it will require a full by hand recount in each county,” Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said during a press conference in Atlanta. “This will help build confidence.”
Raffensperger said the move will be an audit, a recount, and a recanvas simultaneously, adding that final county certifications must be reported before the state moves to a “risk limiting audit.”
“My office will continue to investigate each and every instance of illegal voting. Double voting, felon voting, people voting out of state. If you report it, we will investigate it. Every legal vote will count. We will continue to follow and enforce the law.”
Raffensperger denied that the audit is moving forward because of the Trump campaign’s request.
“We’re doing this because it’s really what makes the most sense,” he said. “With the national significance of this race, and the closeness of this race, we have to run a statewide audit.”
If the margins are within .05 percent after results are certified on November 20, a candidate is entitled to a recount, but it would be done by machines.
The move comes in the midst of multiple lawsuits by the Trump campaign alleging voter fraud and suppression.
“We are concerned about the lack of transparency in the tabulation process, especially given the reports of irregularities and improper ballot harvesting in Georgia,” Matt Morgan, Trump 2020 general counsel, said in a statement. “In order for Americans to have full faith and confidence in our elections, every legal vote must be counted and every illegal or fraudulent vote must be excluded.”
On Saturday, a number of media outlets declared Joe Biden the presumptive presidential-elect despite the growing concerns of fraud waged by the Trump campaign.
Republican Representative Doug Collins, who is leading the Trump campaign’s recount effort in Georgia, released a statement Tuesday that included formal requests for Secretary of State Raffensperger:
“First, there must be a full comparison of absentee ballots cast and in-person and provisional ballots cast throughout the state. Second, there must be a check for felons and other ineligible persons who may have cast a ballot. Third, and most importantly, the Secretary of State should announce a full hand-count of every ballot cast in each and every county due to widespread allegations of voter irregularities, issues with voting machines, and poll watcher access.”