Georgia’s Republican secretary of state, Brad Raffensperger, authorized a hand recount of the state’s election on Wednesday — a move championed by President Trump but one state elections officials have said was unlikely to erase President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s narrow but significant lead there.
The recount, which will use the paper printouts created under Georgia’s new electronic voting system and goes further than the “scan” recount required by law, will apply to only the presidential election. It will not affect the outcome of the state’s two Senate races, which will be decided in a runoff on Jan. 5 and will determine whether Republicans maintain control of the Senate.
Mr. Biden currently leads Mr. Trump in Georgia by more that 14,000 votes, with almost all of the absentee and in-person ballots counted.
“With the margin being so close, it will require a full by-hand recount in each county,” Mr. Raffensperger told reporters in Atlanta, saying he made the decision because of the “national significance” of the outcome in a state with 16 electoral votes.
“It will be a heavy lift,” he said, but added that the hand recount would give skeptics an indisputable accounting by the Nov. 20 deadline for officially certifying the election of the nearly 5 million ballots cast in the state.
Observers from both parties will be present at every step of the process, Mr. Raffensperger added.
Even if Mr. Trump were to win Georgia, Mr. Biden, who currently has 279 electoral votes, will still have won the national election.
Mr. Raffensperger has come under heavy pressure from Mr. Trump and his allies, who have claimed, without evidence, that Mr. Biden won through massive fraud.
“Anecdotes and stories doesn’t work; we need something we can investigate,” said Mr. Raffensperger, who asked anyone with evidence of fraud to step forward immediately.
State officials, including Mr. Raffensperger, have previously said they saw no preliminary evidence of widespread fraud.
Representative Doug Collins, a Republican who is representing Mr. Trump’s team in Georgia, sent a letter to Mr. Raffensperger on Tuesday requesting a hand recount, a more intensive process than a typical recount that would use a computer scanner.
The move comes days after Senators David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler, the two Republican incumbents from the state, called for Mr. Raffensperger’s resignation. He said he had no intention of resigning.
— Glenn Thrush