"There will be likely a recount:” It could be weeks before Georgia has presidential race winner

"There will be likely a recount:” It could be weeks before Georgia has presidential race winner

ATLANTA — Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger announced Friday he expects there will be a recount in the presidential election.

A recount means that it could be weeks before an official winner is decided in Georgia.

“Right now, Georgia remains too close to call. Of approximately 5 million votes cast, we’ll have a margin of a few thousand. The focus for our office and for the county election officials, for now, remains on making sure that every legal vote is counted and recorded accurately. As we are closing in on a final count, we can begin to look toward our next steps,” Raffensperger said at a news conference.

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“With a margin that small, there will be, likely, a recount in Georgia. Interest in our election, obviously, goes far beyond Georgia’s borders. The final tally in Georgia, at this point, has huge implications for the entire country. The stakes are high, and emotions are high on all sides. We will not let those debates distract us from our work. We’ll get it right.”

Channel 2 Action News will continue to bring you LIVE election coverage throughout the day.

GEORGIA ELECTIONS 2020:

By Georgia law, candidates can request a recount if the margin is within 0.5%.

Before any recount, the state must first do an audit. The counties need to certify their own elections by Nov. 13. The state has to certify the election by Nov. 20. Each of those steps takes time.

Then, the candidate can request the recount within two days of the certification. That means it will not just be days, but weeks before we have a final winner in Georgia.

Channel 2 investigative reporter Justin Gray spoke exclusively with Raffensperger live on Channel 2 Action News at 5 p.m. as the latest numbers came in.

“Obviously with an election this close, you’re allowed to have a recount and that recount process will likely take up to a week. That means scanning every single one of those paper ballots that we have,” he said. “For the first time in 18 years because we have a paper ballot, we can do a full statewide recount. We never thought it would happen in a race like this and of this importance."

Gray also asked Raffensperger about the calls from President Donald Trump’s campaign to investigate irregularities.

“There are run by the counties and many counties are run by Democrats. But what I have found that our county election officials, whether they’re Democrat or Republicans, they’re looking at how they are following the process.”

By late Friday or early Saturday, the state expects to have all the outstanding provisional and military/overseas ballots counted. Those had to be received the close of business Friday at 5 p.m.

Gabriel Sterling, the statewide Voting System Implementation Manager, said the margin could be less than the population of a large high school.

Sterling added the state has not seen any widespread voting irregularities.

“We are investigating any credible accusation with any real evidence behind it. But let me tell you one thing. When you have a narrow margin, little small things can make a difference. So everything is going to be have to be investigated to protect the integrity of the vote.”

Raffensperger also addressed concerns of election integrity. He said there have been complaints about monitors not being allowed to watch the ballots being counted.

He said in Georgia this will process has been and will remain open and transparent.

“If any member of the public raises legitimate concerns, we’ll investigate those. We are committed to doing anything and everything to maintaining trust in our election’s process for every Georgian, regardless of partisan preference,” he said.

How do recounts work?