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US Elections 2020: With Razor-Thin Margin, Georgia May Head for Historic Recount. Here are the Rules

A protester displays a sign in front of the CNN center Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2020 in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

A protester displays a sign in front of the CNN center Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2020 in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

Under Georgia law, if the margin between Joe Biden and Donald Trump is under half a percentage point of difference, a recount can be requested.

Democrat Joe Biden pulled ahead on Friday in the crucial battleground state of Georgia, US media said, with votes still left to count. The former vice president ate away at President Donald Trump's initial lead in the southern state and is now ahead by 917 votes, CNN and Fox News reported. Trump won Georgia by five percentage points in 2016.

Trump and Biden were locked in a tight contest to secure the 270 electoral votes needed to win the presidency. Georgia is a must-win state for Trump, who has a narrower path to victory than Biden. Trump prematurely declared he was winning it early Wednesday morning. Yet by late Thursday his lead over Biden had narrowed to less than 2,000 votes and collapsed on Friday.

There is a potential that the Georgia race could go to a recount. Under Georgia law, if the margin between Biden and Trump is under half a percentage point of difference, a recount can be requested.

GEORGIA'S POLITICAL PROFILE

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.

But the party's grip has loosened. As older, white, Republican-leaning voters die, they are being replaced by younger and more racially diverse cast of people, many of whom moved to the booming Atlanta area from other states — and brought their politics with them.

Overall, demographic trends show that the state's electorate is becoming younger and more diverse each year. Like other metro areas, Atlanta's suburbs have also moved away from Republicans. In 2016, Hillary Clinton flipped both Cobb and Gwinnett counties, where Biden is currently leading.

In 2018, Democrat Stacey Abrams galvanized Black voters in her bid to become the country's first African American woman to lead a state, a campaign she narrowly lost. Many political analysts say it's not a question of if, but rather when Georgia becomes a swing state.

That much was clear in the closing weeks of the campaign as Biden, his running mate. Sen. Kamala Harris, and former President Barack Obama barnstormed the state. Trump, too, visited the state to play defense.

RECOUNT RULES

Automatic recount: No

Recount law: A candidate can request a recount if the margin of victory is less than or equal to 0.5 percentage point.

Deadline: A recount must be requested within two business days after results have been certified.

Who pays: State law does not specify who is responsible for recount costs.


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