Recount affirms Joe Biden won Georgia

3rd count of 5 million ballots finds Joe Biden 11,769 ahead of Donald Trump

Fulton County Ga. election chief Richard Barron listens to a question during a press conference while workers scan ballots behind him as the presidential recount began. (Ben Gray, Ben Gray)

On Friday, preliminary results of a machine recount of the Nov. 3 presidential election posted on the Georgia Secretary of State’s website showed Joe Biden won the state by less than 12,000 votes -- about 900 fewer than a hand count of the ballots found last month.

The recount -- the third tally of Georgia’s nearly 5 million votes -- was done at the request of President Donald Trump’s campaign since Biden’s margin of victory was smaller than 0.5%.

As of 5:17 p.m. Thursday, all 159 Georgia counties had submitted their vote totals to the state. If there is even a one-vote difference following the rescanning of the ballots, the counties must recertify the election. As of 5 p.m. Friday, Coffee County was the only one that had not yet recertified.

The unofficial results on the state’s website show Biden 11,769 votes ahead of President Donald Trump out of 5 million votes, although results of some absentee or provisional ballots may not be included in the total yet. After a hand-count of all the ballots in the two weeks after the election, Biden’s lead was 12,670.

In the unofficial tally of the recount early Friday evening, Biden had 865 fewer votes and the count for Trump remained the same as the previously certified results.

The state was expected to finalize and certify the statewide results sometime Friday, but it was still waiting for the final county to certify.

The political and legal fight over the election won’t end with the certification. There were dueling state Senate hearings Thursday. One hearing featured representatives from the Secretary of State’s Office answering questions from members of the Government Oversight Committee and explaining how the election worked, what can help it work better in the future and why there is no conspiracy to manipulate Georgia’s outcome.

State elections officials said any further review of the ballots would need to come through a court order.