Trump campaign seeks manual recount in Georgia, could get it

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ATLANTA – Republicans demand more from Georgia’s Chief Electoral Officer as they seek to overthrow Democrat Joe Biden’s 12,000-vote lead in the state’s presidential race. U.S. Representative Doug Collins, who heads U.S. President Donald Trump’s recount team in Georgia, and State Republican Party Chairman David Shafer on Tuesday sent a letter to Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger asking him to order a recount manual of Georgia’s nearly 5 million ballots before certifying The results.

The move comes a day after Republican U.S. Senators David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler called for Raffensperger’s resignation, claiming he had mismanaged the election but not citing any specific incidents of wrongdoing. Perdue will face Democrat Jon Ossoff and Loeffler will take on Democrat Raphael Warnock on January 5, which will likely determine which party controls the US Senate.

Raffensperger refused to resign and defended the way his office conducted the election. His office has refuted a number of allegations by Trump supporters.

“The process of reporting the results has been orderly and within the law,” Raffensperger said in a statement on Monday. “Where there have been specific allegations of illegal voting, my office has dispatched investigators. ”

“This is nothing more than a fair process and election,” Collins said in an interview with The Associated Press. “These are not sour grapes. This is nothing else. It’s just about saying, let’s restore integrity, because we have more elections here in Georgia in a very short period of time. ”

The presidential race in Georgia is too close to be called. On Tuesday, Biden led Trump by 12,651 votes out of nearly 5 million votes counted. Almost all of the ballots have been counted, although counties have until Friday to certify their results.

Georgian law describes several steps that must be taken before the results are official.

First, Raffensperger must decide whether or not to conduct an audit of the race. Under Georgian law, Raffensperger must select a Georgian breed to be audited and provide statistical evidence as to whether the vote count was accurate. The audit will include manually counting a random sample of ballots to verify accuracy. If he chooses the presidential race, the margin is so narrow that an audit would effectively require a state-wide manual count of each ballot, Raffensperger said Tuesday.

Raffensperger is expected to announce on Wednesday which race will be audited.

There is no mandatory recount law in Georgia. However, regardless of whether the presidential race is verified or not, Trump could likely call for an optional recount. State law provides this option to a candidate who follows if the margin is less than 0.5 percentage point. Biden’s lead was 0.25 percentage points on Tuesday afternoon.

Collins and Shafer also demanded that election officials recanvate the results for the Senate seat in Perdue and a State Civil Service Commission seat held by Lauren “Bubba” McDonald. The AP has called for a second round in the Perdue race and has yet to appeal in the McDonald’s race, where the Republican leads but has not reached a majority of the vote, as the requires Georgian law.

In addition, Collins and Shafer asked Raffensperger to verify the validity of signatures on 1.4 million mail-in ballots and confirm that the ballots include the correct notations, record the ballots in person and by mail to make sure no one deposits one of each, verify that no ineligible person was able to vote, and trace the chain of custody of ballots to confirm that they were legally cast.

There is no evidence of widespread fraud in the 2020 elections. In fact, election officials from both political parties have publicly stated that the election went well and international observers have confirmed that there is had no serious irregularities.

The problems reported by the Trump campaign and his allies are typical of every election: signature issues, as well as the possibility of a small number of erroneous or lost ballots. With Biden leading Trump by wide margins in key states, none of these issues would affect the election outcome.

Trump’s campaign also complained that poll observers were unable to review the voting process, including in Fulton County, Georgia. Many court challenges based on these complaints were dismissed by judges, some within hours of filing. None of the complaints indicate that the election result was affected.

Cathy Cox, dean of law school at Mercer University and former Georgia secretary of state, said the election law places the burden of proof on Trump and his allies to show evidence of electoral fraud.

“All I’ve heard is noise and innuendo, rumors and gossip,” said Cox, a Democrat who was the top election official in Georgia from 1999 to 2007. “It is enough. throw garbage on the wall to see if anyone will buy it. ”

Associated Press editors Ben Nadler and Russ Bynum in Savannah, Ga. Contributed to this report.

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