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Georgia's Recount Confirms Biden's Lead; AP Declares Him State's Winner

Gwinnett County election workers handle ballots on Nov. 16 as part of the recount for the 2020 presidential election.
Megan Varner
Getty Images
Gwinnett County election workers handle ballots on Nov. 16 as part of the recount for the 2020 presidential election.

Georgia election officials have released a report on the hand tally recount of the presidential election, affirming that Joe Biden maintains his lead in the state.

The full hand recount of the state's 5 million presidential votes resulted in a narrowing of Biden's lead over President Trump in Georgia, but not nearly enough to change the result.

The recount, formally known as a risk-limiting audit, is intended to verify the contest's winner. As GPB's Stephen Fowler reported, four counties uncovered a few thousand previously uncounted votes, which subsequently cut into Biden's margin of victory.

Douglas, Walton, Fayette and Floyd counties all experienced issues with missing or unscanned votes related to human error — but the numbers weren't significant enough to change the outcome of the election.

Although there is no mandatory recount law in Georgia, state law does allow for a recount if the margin is less than .5%. It currently stands at .3%.

The Associated Press, which NPR and others rely on for race calls, has not yet declared Biden the winner. As a rule, the AP does not declare a winner when the margin between candidates is tight enough to lead to a recount.

Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger announced the hand audit last week, citing the close margin of the race.

The four counties with new vote totals must recertify their results. Statewide election results must be certified by Friday. The Trump campaign then has until Tuesday to request an additional recount, which would be by machine rather than by hand.

Trump has repeatedly questioned the integrity of Georgia's vote counting, calling it both a "joke" and a process that led to "fraudulent votes" being found.

But Gabriel Sterling, Georgia's voting system implementation manager, said on Wednesday that the system is working exactly the way it is intended.

"The irony of [Trump] saying 'fraudulent votes have been found' — he has gained in the finding of these votes," he explained.

Secretary of State Raffensperger has said he's been pressured by top Republicans to find ways of disqualifying ballots that hurt the Trump campaign.

"They say that as pressure builds, it reveals your character, it doesn't change your character. Some people aren't behaving too well with seeing where the results are," Raffensperger told NPR's Ari Shapiro on Tuesday.

"At the end of the day, I want voters to understand that when they cast their ballot in Georgia, it will be accurately counted. You may not like the results and I get that. I understand how contentious it is. But you can then respect the results."

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Barbara Sprunt is a producer on NPR's Washington desk, where she reports and produces breaking news and feature political content. She formerly produced the NPR Politics Podcast and got her start in radio at as an intern on NPR's Weekend All Things Considered and Tell Me More with Michel Martin. She is an alumnus of the Paul Miller Reporting Fellowship at the National Press Foundation. She is a graduate of American University in Washington, D.C., and a Pennsylvania native.
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