Will Georgia’s recount by hand change the election results?
The election has been closely watched by citizens this year. Presidential elections always draw more attention than any other election, however this year seems to have drawn in even the most apathetic voters and retained everyone’s attention for longer. Nobody can seem to stop talking about it.
One of the biggest things on everyone’s mind at the moment is the recount in Georgia. The margin between the candidates, Donald Trump and Joe Biden, is small and for many days the state seemed as if it would be putting its electoral college votes toward Trump, however the scales eventually tipped in Biden’s favor.
Here’s what you need to know about why there’s a recount, and what the potential outcomes are.
Recounts in Georgia
Every state has its own rules about when you can and cannot have a recount. In Georgia elections officials can request a recount under certain circumstances. Candidates can also request one under certain circumstances.
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures website, Georgia’s rules are as follows: “Where paper ballots are used and it appears there is a discrepancy or error, the superintendent may order a recount, or any candidate or political party may petition for one.” As well as, “When results are within 0.5% of total votes cast for the office, a losing candidate may request a recount.”
This year Biden received 2,472,002 votes in Georgia, while Trump received 2,457,880 votes. This means the difference is less than 0.5%. As such, the Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, ordered a hand recount. The deadline for certifying statewide election results is November 20th.
Recounts and their effects
Recounts are pretty standard procedure in elections; they actually happen rather frequently. In most cases recounts usually reconfirm the original numbers a shifted outcome of about 0.024%. These small changes are usually only a couple hundred votes in one direction or another and often come about due to “differing judgments about how to count ballots marked by hand and other issues”.
In the last nineteen years there have been thirty-one state-wide recounts and the outcome only changed in three of these elections. The three changed elections were in Washington state, Vermont, and Minnesota for the positions of governor, state auditor, and U.S. Senate respectively.
Georgia’s presidential recount
Looking at these numbers it seems highly unlikely that Trump will see the outcome he’s hoping for once Georgia is done with their hand recount. While the results in the state are admittedly very close, in the first count Biden had a lead of 14,122 votes. Looking at the recent history of recounts, it seems near impossible for Trump to gain the lead with a recount.
Even if Trump did have more votes attributed to him in the recount, it seems highly unlikely he would have enough to overtake Biden. Meaning that Biden would still receive the Electoral College votes from Georgia.
Raffensperger said of the recount, “This will help build confidence. It will be an audit, a recount and a recanvass all at once”. He admitted that getting it all done before the deadline would be tough, but that everyone is working to get it completed before November 20th.
While it’s clear that Donald Trump is hoping that recounting the results of Georgia state will provide him with more Electoral College votes, it doesn’t appear as if this will happen. Even if by some strange occurrence Trump did receive more than 14,122 votes in the recount (which would be incredibly unusual) and received the Electoral votes for the state, he still wouldn’t have enough Electoral College votes to beat Joe Biden.