georgia capitol building in atlanta

The Georgia Statehouse in Atlanta. The tight margin between President Donald Trump and then-candidate Joe Biden automatically triggered a recount of the votes. Trump’s campaign requested a second one.

Georgia Completes Second Statewide Recount

By Amanda Zoch | Dec. 9, 2020 | State Legislatures Magazine

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger recertified the results of Georgia’s presidential election on Monday. The announcement came after not one but two statewide recounts.

The tight margin between President Donald Trump and then-candidate Joe Biden automatically triggered the first recount, which was conducted by hand as part of the state’s risk-limiting audit.

Trump’s campaign requested the second recount, which was completed by machines.

Both recounts upheld the race’s original outcome, with Biden winning the Peach State by about 12,000 votes.

The lack of change between the counts shouldn’t be surprising. Historically, only three of the 31 statewide recounts that occurred between 2000 and 2019 reversed the outcome of a race.

But even when recounts confirm, rather than alter, a race’s outcome, they increase confidence in democracy and reassure candidates and voters that our elections systems produce accurate counts of legally cast votes.

Recount processes vary by state, with some being triggered automatically and others occurring only if requested, and a handful of states don’t offer recounts at all. For an overview of these processes and a compilation of recent enactments on recounts, read the December issue of NCSL’s elections newsletter, “The Canvass.” Or visit our newly updated Election Recounts webpage for comprehensive data on all 50 states.

The December “Canvass” also includes an interview with Vermont Senator Jeanette White (D), an explanation of Alaska’s Measure 2 and other election news highlights.

And, if you like the December issue, you might want to become a “Canvass” subscriber.

Amanda Zoch is an NCSL policy specialist and Mellon/ACLS Public Fellow.

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