A top Georgia official said Thursday that a handful of presidential polls have been completed and that the results confirm Democrat Joe Biden’s narrow lead over Republican President Donald Trump.
The hand count of about 5 million votes stemmed from a review required by a new state law and did not respond to suspected problems with the state’s results or an official request for recount. The state has until Friday to certify results that have been certified and submitted by the counties.
The counties were supposed to end the hand count at 23:59 on Wednesday. Gabriel Sterling, who oversaw the implementation of the state’s new voting system, said Thursday night that the review was complete and the results would soon be published on the state secretary’s website.
Once the state has confirmed the election result, the losing campaign has two working days to request a recalculation if the margin is within 0.5%. This recalculation would be done using scanners that read and tune the votes and would be paid for by the counties, Sterling said.
It was up to Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to choose the race to be examined, and he said the presidential race was most meaningful because of its importance and the narrow margin that separates the candidates. Due to the small margin, Raffensperger said that a complete hand count was necessary.
Votes that had not previously been counted were found in several counties during the review, which required a recertification of the election results in these counties.
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In Floyd County, more than 2,500 ballot papers were discovered during the investigation that had not been previously scanned, and the Secretary of State’s office had demanded the dismissal of the county’s Chief of Staff Robert Brady. The County Administrative Board on Thursday voted to issue a written reprimand to Brady and, as it was his second written reprimand within six months, to dismiss him in accordance with national policy, board member Melanie Conrad said in an email.
Several other counties found memory cards with votes that had not been charged and counted before the review.
Biden led Trump by a margin of about 14,000 votes. The previously uncounted votes discovered during the hand count will reduce the margin to about 12,800, Sterling said.
The Associated Press has not declared a winner in Georgia, where Biden led Trump by about 0.3 percentage points. There is no mandatory recalculation law in Georgia, but state law provides that alternative to a subsequent candidate if the margin is less than 0.5 percentage points. It is the AP’s practice not to call a race that is – or probably will be – the subject of a recalculation.