Nearly all of the roughly 5 million votes cast by Georgians in the presidential race have been reviewed, with fewer than 21 of the 159 counties left to finish their tallies and transmit their data as of Wednesday afternoon, a state election official said.
So far, officials found discrepancies in just four counties that made a difference in the vote margin, decreasing Biden’s lead to 12,781 votes from 14,156, according to the secretary of state’s office. The rest of the counties either had no discrepancies, or their differences fell within the standard deviation and did not make a noticeable dent in the margin, according to Gabriel Sterling, who manages the voting information system in Georgia.
“There’s nothing that’s really moving the ball around” in those other counties, he said Wednesday.
County officials have until midnight Wednesday night to wrap up their hand recount. The state then would perform quality-control checks on the results before certifying them by Friday. The Trump campaign has two business days after the certification — by Tuesday evening, at the latest — of results to request a recount.
Sterling said while he hopes that the hand-recount audit, which is the largest of its kind in U.S. history, would instill confidence in the results, election officials were preparing for a request from the Trump campaign to re-scan the audited results.
State officials are aiming to provide a county-by-county breakdown of the audited results on Thursday afternoon.
“We feel good about where we stand right now. We feel comfortable about the direction of the audit,” Sterling said. “I’m prayerful that we can get through this, and that we can find a way to have everybody, at the end of the day — Republicans, Democrats, Libertarians, socialist, whatever — have faith in the outcome of the election, regardless of how it came out.”
Later Wednesday, in an interview on CNN, Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (R) said he believes Biden will remain the winner of the state after the audit is complete.
He noted that 24,000 Republicans who voted absentee in the June primary did not vote in the general election, amid Trump’s relentless attacks on voting by mail. If those Republicans had voted, they would have put Trump over the top.
Raffensperger also maintained the state is tallying every legal vote, and he pushed back against those, such as Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.), who have called on him to resign and questioned his GOP credentials.
“I’m a conservative, Christian Republican,” Raffensperger said, pointing to his record and his endorsements from a slew of right-leaning groups. “So people who say I’m not Republican, it’s crazy talk.”