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US Election Result 2020: State of Georgia Will Recount Razor-thin Vote as Biden Narrowly Leads Trump

Election observers sit in front of the media as vote counting in the general election continues at State Farm Arena on Thursday, Nov. 5, 2020, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

Election observers sit in front of the media as vote counting in the general election continues at State Farm Arena on Thursday, Nov. 5, 2020, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

The presidential candidates each had 49.4% of counted ballots, though Biden was ahead by 1,579 votes as of Friday morning with 4,169 left to count, Georgia's voting system implementation manager, Gabriel Sterling, said.

The US state of Georgia on Friday said it will recount votes from the election in which Joe Biden has eked out a razor-thin lead over President Donald Trump.

The presidential candidates each had 49.4% of counted ballots, though Biden was ahead by 1,579 votes as of Friday morning with 4,169 left to count, Georgia's voting system implementation manager, Gabriel Sterling, said.

"With a margin that small, there will be a recount in Georgia," Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger told reporters in Atlanta.

Raffensperger, the top elected official overseeing elections, said that the presidential contest in the state "remains too close to call".

Almost complete results as of Friday morning showed Biden leading by just over 1,500 votes in Georgia, where changing demographics and strong turnout from African-Americans have put in play a Southern state once seen as reliably backing Trump's Republicans.

Georgia is equally critical as it is the only state holding elections for both its Senate seats this year, meaning it will determine which party is in control. Under Georgia's system, Senate races go to a runoff if no candidate receives 50 percent in the first round.

"The final tally in Georgia at this point has huge implications for the entire country," Raffensperger said. "The stakes are high and emotions are high on all sides. We will not let those debates distract us from our work. We'll get it right and we'll defend the integrity of our elections."

He said that Georgia was letting observers from both campaigns watch the counting after Trump, with no evidence, alleged widespread fraud nationwide.

Officials said about 9,000 military and overseas ballots were still outstanding and could be accepted if they arrive on Friday and are postmarked on Tuesday or earlier.

Georgia has long been a Republican stronghold. Voters there haven’t swung for a Democratic presidential candidate since Bill Clinton in 1992. Trump beat Hillary Clinton there by 5 percentage points in 2016. And the state’s government is dominated by the GOP.

There are two ways of seeking a recount in Georgia. A presidential candidate who loses by 0.5% of the vote or less can force a recount by sending a written request to the secretary of state, or a candidate can ask the secretary of state to conduct one by alleging a “discrepancy or error” in the vote tabulation. In that case, state law gives the secretary discretion about whether to conduct a recount.

Local election officials in Georgia also can conduct recounts in their counties if they think there is a discrepancy in the results.

The Southern state switched to new touch-screen voting machines this year. After a voter makes their choices, the machine produces a marked paper ballot that’s fed into a scanner that counts the vote.

Absentee voters – hundreds of thousands this year – filled out the same ballots, which also were fed into the scanners. If the scanner cannot read the ballot, a bipartisan group of election officials reviews it to determine whether or how it should be counted.

A recount essentially repeats that process, and in the past has not made big changes in the results.

Because of that, a recount is considered unlikely to have a big effect on the state’s vote totals.

(With inputs from AFP and Reuters)


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