The Trump campaign on Saturday requested a formal recount of the 5 million presidential votes in Georgia in an apparent effort to exhaust its options for challenging the result in a state that narrowly backed President-elect Joe Biden.

Biden’s victory in Georgia was certified Friday by the secretary of state and governor after a painstaking audit that involved a manual hand recount. It found no evidence of widespread fraud or irregularities that would change the outcome of the race. But because Biden’s margin of victory was less than 0.5 percent of votes cast, the losing candidate can request a recount of the results under state law.

Election officials are now set to rescan the ballots that they reviewed during the hand recount. The rescanning of ballots through counting machines will probably take less time than the week-long audit, which was the largest of its kind in U.S. history in terms of ballots manually recounted. Officials across the state had anticipated Trump’s request and have been preparing equipment and staff to respond accordingly.

The Post's Jon Swaine analyzes the Trump Campaign's last ditch legal attempts to get the result of the 2020 election overturned. (The Washington Post)

But the machine recount will probably, in some ways, pose greater logistical and financial challenges to county election officials, who have been laboring virtually nonstop since the Nov. 3 election amid challenging circumstances such as the coronavirus pandemic. In addition, local and state elections officials are busy preparing for upcoming special elections, including the two U.S. Senate runoff elections in January.

Georgia state law does not require the campaign to pay for the recount, meaning the state’s taxpayers are set to finance the recount for the second time.

“Today, the Trump campaign filed a petition for recount in Georgia,” the Trump campaign said in a statement released Saturday night. “We are focused on ensuring that every aspect of Georgia State Law and the U.S. Constitution are followed so that every legal vote is counted.”

The Trump campaign said it continues to “insist on an honest recount in Georgia, which has to include signature matching and other vital safeguards,” and it again alleged, without evidence, that “illegal ballots” were counted.

But the signatures for mail ballots in Georgia have already been verified twice to ensure that each voter only voted once, according to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, who has fiercely rejected claims from Trump and other Georgia Republicans questioning the integrity of the election in his state.