Georgia’s secretary of state is ordering a full hand recount of the state’s presidential election race, as he noted that the vote differential between President Donald Trump and Democrat Joe Biden is just 14,111.
Biden does not need Georgia to win the presidential election. He was pushed over the 270 electoral vote threshold by Pennsylvania on Saturday morning, when media outlets called the race for the Democrat.
On a call with reporters, the Trump campaign confirmed they asked for the recount and officials said they are still aiming to overturn Georgia and a number of other states and get the president back into the White House for a second term.
“With the margin being so close, it will require a full, by hand recount in each county. This will help build confidence,” Brad Raffensperger, the secretary of state of Georgia, told reporters at a press conference on Wednesday.
The Republican official noted that some 5 million votes were cast in the southern state.
“This race has national significance, national importance, we get that,” he said, in explaining why he chose to recount the presidential election rather than other down-ticket races.
Georgia could become important if other states also somehow flip, which is very unlikely, though the Trump campaign is aiming to make that happen.
It is unclear how many votes a recount would change, with history indicating not enough to push Trump to victory in the state with 16 electoral votes. Raffensperger says he wants the recount done by November 20, so the state can certify its election results on time.
“This is an important first step in the process,” said Tim Murtagh, a spokesman for the Trump campaign.
Raffensperger said he would investigate all allegations of voter fraud, though he did not indicate there was evidence of widespread irregularities.
Georgia has taken on special importance, as the fate of control in the Senate will depend on the state. In a rarity, both of Georgia’s seats in the Senate were up for grabs this year and both are heading to a run-off in January.
With Republicans holding a very narrow majority in the upper chamber of Congress, they need to win the races to give themselves leverage in the coming years, while the Democrats want the seats so they can proceed with their policy agenda with fewer roadblocks.
Trump has been arguing the national election was rigged against him, even as his lawyers have lost the major lawsuits they have filed so far, and have been unable to produce evidence of major fraud.
Biden, meanwhile, has begun to move ahead with his transition, despite no cooperation from the Trump administration, which seems to be aiming to cling to power.
The Democrat is widely seen as the president-elect domestically, including by some members of Trump’s Republican party.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison was among the latest in a list of world leaders who have this week telephoned to congratulate the politician they assume will be in the White House come January.
Biden also spoke with the South Korean President Moon Jae In on topics including the country’s strong coronavirus pandemic response, North Korea and climate change, his transition team said.
He telephoned Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, who himself has led the country through a transition in the first two month of his leadership, and spoke about defence alliances between the countries, among other things.