ATLANTA — Georgia election officials are gearing up for a recount of the Nov. 3 election following a request Saturday from President Donald Trump.
Gabriel Sterling with the secretary of state’s office said counties will begin re-tallying no earlier than 9 a.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 24. The process will conclude by midnight on Wednesday, Dec. 2.
“We’re going to go through the processes of trying to get it set up for tomorrow, but again, we got this over the weekend. We’re going into Thanksgiving,” Sterling said. “We’ve never done this before.”
[SPECIAL SECTION: Election 2020]
Last week, workers hand-counted over 500,000 ballots in the nation’s largest-ever, by-hand audit. The results confirmed that President-elect Joe Biden won the state of Georgia’s 16 electoral votes with a nearly 13,000-vote lead over Trump.
Sterling said this final recount would be the certified version moving forward.
Law allows Trump to request a recount because the margin between the candidates is less than .5%.
During the recount, ballots will be scanned on voting machines, rather than hand-counted. The state ordered special scanners in anticipation of a recount so counties can handle a large volume of ballots. Counties also will have monitors from each party to watch the process.
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“Fortunately, the counties have high speed scanners, so it goes relatively quickly, but it is 5 million pieces of paper,” Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said.
But the Trump campaign wants more. Trump has argued that signatures don’t match ballots in Georgia and that there was massive voter fraud. So far, his legal team has been unable to provide evidence of fraud.
Georgia Rep. Buddy Carter tweeted his support for the idea Monday saying a recount should include matching and verifying signatures.
State election officials say signature matching for mail-in ballots is not done during recounts because it is done in an earlier process.
“There’s no physical way to match a ballot back to the original envelope,” Sterling said. “So a generalized, ‘We don’t think signature match happened’ ... We can’t do anything with that. There’s no evidence that there’s any problems with that.”
Biden’s campaign also has responded to Trump’s signature match complaints.
“With regards to signature matching, both parties were aware of the rules set forth months before the election and all signatures have already been matched,” the campaign said.