ELECTION 2020

Georgia Counties Set To Start Recount Requested By Trump

Nov 23, 2020, 3:40 PM
FILE: Georgia Secretary of State Ben Raffensperger holds a press conference on the status of ballot...
FILE: Georgia Secretary of State Ben Raffensperger holds a press conference on the status of ballot counting on November 6, 2020 in Atlanta, Georgia. The 2020 presidential race between incumbent U.S. President Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden was too close to call with outstanding ballots in a number of states, including Georgia. (Photo by Jessica McGowan/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jessica McGowan/Getty Images)

ATLANTA (AP) — After the Trump campaign requested a recount of the presidential ballots in Georgia, county election workers have just over a week to complete the new tally, a top elections official said Monday.

The election results certified last week by Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger showed Democrat Joe Biden beating Republican President Donald Trump by 12,670 votes out of about 5 million cast, or about 0.25%. Under state law, a candidate can request a recount when the margin is less than 0.5%.

The Trump campaign on Saturday sent a formal request for a recount to the secretary of state’s office.

The counties can begin the recount at 9 a.m. Tuesday and must finish by 11:59 p.m. on Dec. 2, Gabriel Sterling, who oversaw the implementation of the state’s new voting system for the secretary of state’s office, said during a video news conference Monday. The counties are to give public notice of when during that period they will be counting so monitors from political parties and any interested members of the public can be there to observe, Sterling said.

This will be the third time the votes in the presidential race have been counted in Georgia. After the initial count following Election Day, Raffensperger selected the presidential race for an audit required by state law. Because of the tight margin, he said, the audit required every vote in that contest to be recounted by hand.

County election workers completed that hand tally last week. Because some previously uncounted ballots were discovered during the audit, several counties had to recertify their totals. Then the secretary of state certified the results and Gov. Brian Kemp certified the state’s slate of 16 presidential electors.

A state election board rule mandates that the recount requested by the Trump campaign be done by machine. County election workers will create test decks of 100 ballots — 75 marked by touchscreen voting machines and 25 marked by hand — and count those ballots by hand, Sterling said. Then they run those ballots through a scanner to make sure the tallies match. Once they determine each scanner is counting accurately, every single ballot will be rescanned, he said.

Sterling also addressed a request the state Republican Party made Sunday urging the secretary of state to order an audit of the absentee ballots cast in the 2020 election, including verification of the signature match process.

When Georgia voters return an absentee ballot, they have to sign an oath on the outer envelope. County election office workers are required to ensure the signature matches the one on the absentee ballot application and the one in the voter registration system, Raffensperger has said. Once the signatures are verified, to protect ballot secrecy enshrined in Georgia law, the ballots are separated from the envelopes and can’t be matched back to individual voters.

Sterling said the secretary of state’s office is still reviewing whether any sort of investigation is appropriate, but he said there hasn’t been any specific claim that the signature match process was not done properly.

“We can’t really see a legal path that makes any sense because if you open up investigations on a generalized grievance without any evidence, that leaves it open for somebody else in the future to do the exact same thing,” Sterling said.

Also Monday, the state election board held a special called meeting and approved an extension of two emergency rules meant to accommodate the large number of absentee ballots expected because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. One rule authorizes absentee ballot drop boxes in each county. The other allows counties to begin opening and scanning absentee ballots about two weeks before the election, and the board added a requirement for them to begin that processing one week before Election Day.

The election board had planned to discuss another possible emergency rule on verification of residency during the voter registration process. But secretary of state’s office general counsel Ryan Germany told the board members that it turns out state law already addresses the issue, and the secretary of state’s office decided instead to send county election officials instructions reminding them of their authority and responsibilities under that law.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Election 2020

NEW YORK, NY - JULY 19: Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey speaks during a press conferenc...
STEVE LeBLANC Associated Press

Massachusetts’ Healey is 1st lesbian elected governor in US

Democratic Attorney General Maura Healey has been elected governor of Massachusetts, making history as the nation's first openly lesbian governor.
30 days ago
FILE - From left, Rachel Hamm, former California Secretary of State candidate, Audrey Trujillo, can...
NICHOLAS RICCARDI Associated Press

Election conspiracies frame contests for secretary of state

Among the myriad offices gaining attention on the ballot Tuesday, the normally obscure post of secretary of state stands out.
30 days ago
FILE - Members of the Oath Keepers on the East Front of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, in Washin...
MICHAEL KUNZELMAN and ALANNA DURKIN RICHER Associated Press

On stand in 1/6 trial, Oath Keepers boss says he’s a patriot

Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes took the witness stand Friday in his seditious conspiracy trial, telling jurors he is a patriotic American as he tries to counter allegations that his far-right extremist group planned an armed rebellion to stop the transfer of presidential power.
1 month ago
FILE: U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) speaks during a Senate Appropriations Committee hearing on th...
Associated Press

Supreme Court clears way for Graham testimony in Georgia

The Supreme Court has lifted a temporary hold on Sen. Lindsey Graham’s testimony in a Georgia investigation of possible illegal interference in the 2020 election by then-President Donald Trump and his allies in the state.
1 month ago
An upcoming ballot initiative will have Utah voters decide if the State government should have more...
Shelby Lofton

What Utah voters should know about Constitutional Amendment A

An upcoming ballot initiative will have Utah voters decide if the State government should have more money during emergency situations.
1 month ago
Salt Lake police arrested a man they say randomly attacked another man eating at a fast food restau...
MARK GILLISPIE, Associated Press

Two conservatives accused in 2020 general election hoax robocall scheme plead guilty

Two right-wing operatives have pleaded guilty in Cleveland to single felony counts of telecommunications fraud for placing thousands of hoax robocalls in Ohio during the 2020 general election.
1 month ago

Sponsored Articles

notebook with password notes highlighted...
PC Laptops

How to Create Strong Passwords You Can Actually Remember

Learn how you can create strong passwords that are actually easy to remember! In a short time you can create new ones in seconds.
house with for rent sign posted...
Chase Harrington, president and COO of Entrata

Top 5 reasons you may want to consider apartment life over owning a home

There are many benefits of renting that can be overshadowed by the allure of buying a home. Here are five reasons why renting might be right for you.
Festive kitchen in Christmas decorations. Christmas dining room....
Lighting Design

6 Holiday Decor Trends to Try in 2022

We've rounded out the top 6 holiday decor trends for 2022 so you can be ahead of the game before you start shopping. 
Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to choose what MBA program is right for you: Take this quiz before you apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Diverse Group of Energetic Professionals Team Meeting in Modern Office: Brainstorming IT Programmer...
Les Olson

Don’t let a ransomware attack get you down | Protect your workplace today with cyber insurance

Business owners and operators should be on guard to protect their workplace. Cyber insurance can protect you from online attacks.
Hand turning a thermostat knob to increase savings by decreasing energy consumption. Composite imag...
Lighting Design

5 Lighting Tips to Save Energy and Money in Your Home

Advances in lighting technology make it easier to use smart features to cut costs. Read for tips to save energy by using different lighting strategies in your home.
Georgia Counties Set To Start Recount Requested By Trump