Georgia announces manual recount of ballots

Washington, Nov 11 (efe-epa).- The state of Georgia announced Wednesday that it will perform a manual recount of all ballots cast in last week’s presidential election because of the narrow advantage held at present by President-elect Joe Biden over incumbent President Donald Trump.

At a press conference, Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger announced the decision and said that he expects the process to be completed by Nov. 20, the deadline for certifying the election results in the southeastern state.

“We will work with the counties to get this done in time for our state certification,” Raffensperger said on the steps of the state Capitol. “We have all worked hard to bring fair and accurate counts to assure that the will of the voters is reflected in the final count and that every voter will have confidence in the outcome, whether their candidate won or lost.”

With 99 percent of the ballots counted, Biden is currently leading in the state’s ongoing vote tally by 14,112, a 0.3 percent advantage over Trump.

Georgia authorities had predicted last week that the result of the election in their state would be so tight that a recount would have to be performed, almost certainly requested by whichever campaign lost there.

However, Raffensperger confirmed on Wednesday that there would be two recounts and that the first of them will begin immediately and be a manual recount of all ballots cast in Georgia.

If that process confirms that the margin of victory of the winning candidate is less than 0.5 percent, the loser’s campaign will have the right, under state law, to request a new count of the ballots, which would mean scanning them all again by computer, he said.

The manual recount will affect the almost five million votes cast in Georgia for the Nov. 3 election and will mean reviewing each ballot and once again placing them into piles to corroborate the machine count.

That process will be combined with an audit of the results that was already scheduled and which instead of being performed on just a sample of the ballots will now be performed on all the ballots cast.

Raffensperger thus responded to pressure from the Trump campaign, which had asked for a manual count of the ballots and complained – albeit without providing any evidence – that fraud had been committed in the election in Georgia and other key states, including an unproven allegation that certain Georgia residents voted in place of deceased voters.

Raffensperger, who is a Republican, went on to say that no evidence of generalized election fraud had been found, but nevertheless Georgia election authorities will investigate each alleged instance brought to them by voters.

Even if Georgia ultimately were found to have voted for Trump, Biden would still have at least 290 electoral votes, 20 more than are needed to win the presidency, compared with the 217 that Trump has at present.

Georgia is also crucial in terms of defining the makeup of the Senate, where Republicans won or retained 50 seats and Democrats 48.

There are two Senate runoff elections in Georgia, where Democrats are running against incumbent Republicans, and if both seats were to be won by the challengers this would flip the Senate to Democratic control, given that Vice President Kamala Harris would be able to cast tiebreaking votes.

Everything, however, points to the strong possibility that the GOP will retain control of the upper house, but that will not be confirmed until Jan. 5, when the Georgia runoff elections will be held for those two Senate seats, given that no candidate received more than 50 percent of the votes in the Nov. 3 balloting.

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