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Georgia secretary of state announces statewide hand recount of presidential election

The state of Georgia will begin a full hand recount of the presidential election results, Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger announced Wednesday.

Speaking at a news conference, Raffensperger said the recount will be completed by Nov. 20 and will be an audit, recount, and recanvass all in one, WSB-TV reported.

"With the margin being so close, it will require a full, by-hand recount in each county," Raffensperger said Wednesday morning. "This will help build confidence. It will be an audit, a recount and a recanvass all at once. It will be a heavy lift but we will work with the counties to get this done in time for our state certification."

Former Vice President Joe Biden leads President Donald Trump in Georgia by 14,111 votes. The presidential race has not yet been certified as prominent Republicans have blasted the state secretary of state for "failures" in the election process.

"There have been too many failures in Georgia elections this year and the most recent election has shined a national light on the problems," Georgia Sens. Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue said in a joint statement. "The Secretary of State has failed to deliver honest and transparent elections. He has failed the people of Georgia, and he should step down immediately."

Controversies abound in several counties in Georgia where election chicanery is alleged. State officials are adamant that reports of widespread voter fraud are either misinformation or misunderstandings.

"A few items that happened over the weekend that for lack of a better word are different terminologies — 'fake news,' disinformation, misinformation, misunderstandings — and all those things that are feeding into the situation we see not just in Georgia, but across the country," Georgia's voting system implementation manager Gabriel Sterling told WAGA-TV. "The facts are the facts, regardless of outcomes."

In Spalding County, a viral video on social media claimed to show absentee ballots found discarded in a dumpster. Sterling said the video was false.

"There were no ballots there. We sent investigators down. What they found was empty security envelopes. So, there was nothing there that affected the outcome of the election," he explained.

Ballot counting delays in Gwinnett County were the result of a software malfunction that forced several thousand mail-in absentee ballots to be re-adjudicated before the results could be tabulated, county officials told TheBlaze. The adjudication process requires one Republican, one Democrat, and a nonpartisan elections officials to review each handwritten ballot that's unable to be scanned by the voting machine because of an error with how it was filed out, leaving no room for either party to illegally change ballots.

In Fulton County, county officials denied allegations that Trump campaign election observers were told on election night that ballot counting at State Farm Arena would end at 10:30 p.m., only to continue "counting ballots in secret until 1:00 a.m." A spokesperson for the county said "no one from the staff spoke to anyone observing the process to inform them that things were done for the night." Additionally, an election observer from the secretary of state's office was present while the votes were processed.

Secretary of State Raffensperger pledged to provide fair and accurate election results while thoroughly investigating any claims of voting irregularities.

"My office will continue to investigate each and every incidence of illegal voting. Double voting, felon voting, people voting out of state — if you report it we will investigate it. Every legal vote will count," Raffensperger said.

"We haven't found any widespread fraud. We will investigate every single case that voters bring to us," he added.

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