ATLANTA (NewsNation Now) — Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said the battleground state will conduct a vote recount because of the small election margin.
“Georgia remains too close to call,” he said at a Friday news conference. “There will be a recount.”
Gabriel Sterling, Georgia’s voting system implementation manager said election officials are working to complete the vote-count by Friday, but it may carry over to Saturday.
Joe Biden took the lead over President Donald Trump in Georgia early Friday as ballot counting continued, with just over 1,000 votes separating the candidates after about five million votes were cast in the state.
Sterling said their top priority is to “protect the integrity of the vote.”
“We’re not seeing any widespread irregularities. when you have a narrow margin little small things will make a difference. We are literally looking at a margin of less than a large high school,” Sterling said.
Ballots were still being scanned Thursday in the Atlanta-metro area counties of Fulton, Cobb and Gwinnett. Chatham County, home to Savannah, also had a large number still being tallied, but that was completed Thursday night.
“The effort here is to make sure that everyone’s legal vote is counted properly,” Sterling said. “This is the first time we’ve used paper ballots in this state for 20 years, so this is going to take a little more time. These close elections require us to be diligent and do everything right.”
The outstanding absentee ballots don’t include provisional ballots and ballots that need to be “cured” before being scanned. Sterling also noted that ballots cast before Election Day by military voters and citizens living overseas and received by 5 p.m. Friday will be tallied.
“I think if anybody was going to try to rig a system they might have seen something a little less close than this,” Sterling said. “In this state in particular we take security very seriously. We’re going to have a recount for president more than likely and the people will see that the outcome will stay essentially the same.”
On Wednesday, the Trump campaign filed a lawsuit in Georgia seeking to pause vote count in key battlegrounds, according to the Associated Press. His campaign also filed lawsuits Wednesday in Pennsylvania and Michigan and announced it would ask for a recount in Wisconsin, a state The Associated Press called for Democrat Joe Biden Wednesday afternoon.
Early Wednesday, Trump prematurely claimed he carried Georgia.
“It’s clear that we have won Georgia. We’re up by 2.5%, or 117,000 (votes) with only 7% (of the vote) left to count,” Trump said during an early morning appearance at the White House.
He also said he planned to contest the U.S. presidential election before the Supreme Court. It was unclear exactly what legal action he might pursue.
The Trump campaign and Georgia Republicans are holding a news conference in Atlanta Friday afternoon to discuss the “status of the election integrity.”
The states that have not been called by the AP are Pennsylvania, Nevada, North Carolina, Alaska and Georgia.
NewsNation’s television broadcast and digital properties relies on the AP for all vote counting and race calls. NewsNation chose to rely on the AP because they call races based on the facts.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.