ATLANTA (NewsNation Now) — Georgia’s top election official on Wednesday said the state will conduct a recount of all paper ballots cast in the Nov. 3 presidential election.
“Mathematically, you actually have to do a full hand-by-hand recount of all because the margin is so close,” Georgia’s Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said at a news conference. “We want to start this before the week is up.”
Raffensperger said his office wants the process to begin by the end of the week.
President-elect Joe Biden leads President Donald Trump by about 14,000 votes out of nearly 5 million votes counted in the state, according to the Associated Press. Nearly all ballots have been counted, though counties have until Friday to certify their results.
The Secretary of State then has until Nov. 20 to certify the votes. Raffensperger said he expects it to take until the certification deadline to recount the votes.
For the hand recount, election officers will work with the paper ballots in batches, dividing them into piles for each candidate. Then they will run the piles through machines to count the number of ballots for each candidate. The scanners will not read the data on the ballots.
After results from the hand recount are certified, the losing campaign can then request another recount, which will be performed by machine, Raffensperger said.
There is no mandatory recount law in Georgia, but state law provides that option to a trailing candidate if the margin is less than 0.5 percentage points. Biden’s lead stood at 0.28 percentage points as of Wednesday morning.
Raffensperger said they have not found any widespread fraud.
“My office will continue to investigate each and every incidence of illegal voting,” Raffensperger said. “Double voting, felon voting, people voting out of state — if you report it we will investigate it. Every legal vote will count.”
All disputes over the counts in each state must be complete by Dec. 8. Members of the Electoral College vote on Dec. 14. The House and Senate hold a joint session on Jan. 6, 2021, to count the electoral votes in each state.
The Associated Press, Reuters and Nexstar Media Wire contributed to this report.