ATLANTA – President Donald Trump’s campaign said on Saturday it was seeking a second presidential vote recount in Georgia after the first failed to go in its favor.
Under state electoral rules, the campaign is within its rights; the first-hand recount, completed Thursday and certified Friday, was automatically triggered by new state law.
Campaigns may request an additional machine recount if the voting margin is less than 0.5%. The certified final results had Joe Biden at 49.51% versus Trump at 49.25% for a 0.26% margin.
“Today, the Trump campaign filed a petition for a recount in Georgia,” the campaign said in a statement. “We ensure that all aspects of Georgia State law and the US Constitution are observed so that every legal vote is counted.”
Unlike Wisconsin – where the Trump campaign had to pay $ 7.9 million upfront to cover the statewide cost – the bill for recounts in Georgia is borne by local taxpayer-funded jurisdictions .
State officials did not provide an estimate of the total costs, but Fulton County, Georgia’s most populous, estimates that a recount could cost around $ 200,000.
Jaclyn Rothenberg, communications director for President-elect Joe Biden’s campaign in Georgia, said in a statement on Saturday night: “Last week’s recount reaffirmed what we already knew: Georgian voters chose Joe Biden to be their next president. “
“There is no reason to believe that there are widespread errors or frauds and the Trump campaign has no evidence to support their baseless claims,” she said. “Regarding the signature match, both sides were aware of the rules set out months before the election and all signatures have already been matched. Any further recount will simply reaffirm Joe Biden’s victory in Georgia for a third time.
The campaign-requested recounts involve a re-digitization of paper ballots, which would fail to answer Trump’s call to “include signature matching.” The statewide audit did not verify the signatures because once the signatures on the outer envelope are verified before the votes are initially counted, they are separated from the ballots on the ballot. interior to maintain voter secrecy.
Republican Gov. Brian Kemp said on Friday he heard from Georgians concerned about the inability to match signatures during the manual recount audit of five million ballots.
“The Georgians I have heard of are extremely concerned about this, which is why I encourage Secretary Raffensperger to consider addressing these concerns,” he said. “It seems fairly straightforward to do a sample signature verification on absentee ballot envelopes and compare those to signatures on applications and in the records of the Secretary of State’s office.”
Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger has not said whether his office is considering such a plan.
Georgia Election Officer Gabe Sterling at a press conference earlier this week appeared to advocate for an end to Trump’s electoral challenges: “Look, you already have a recount. Nothing has changed. let’s not do that. “
Jester reported from Atlanta and Romero from San Diego.