Georgia's secretary of state said Friday that there will be a recount of votes from the election in which Joe Biden has taken a razor-thin lead over President Donald Trump.
"With a margin that small, there will be a recount in Georgia," Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger told reporters in Atlanta.
Raffensperger, the top elected official overseeing elections, said that the presidential contest in the state "remains too close to call."
"The final tally in Georgia at this point has huge implications for the entire country," Raffensperger said.
"The stakes are high and emotions are high on all sides. We will not let those debates distract us from our work. We'll get it right and we'll defend the integrity of our elections."
He said that Georgia was letting observers from both campaigns watch the counting after Trump, with no evidence, alleged widespread fraud nationwide.
Almost complete results as of Friday morning showed Biden leading by just over 1,500 votes in Georgia, where changing demographics and strong turnout from African-Americans have put in play a Southern state once seen as reliably backing Trump's Republicans.
The Secretary of State’s office said several thousand absentee ballots were still being counted Friday. Also, 8,900 unreturned ballots sent to military and overseas voters could be counted if received by 5 p.m. Friday. Counties also have provisional ballots to review and possibly add to their totals, along with absentee ballots that need to be "cured" by voters by day's end.
There are still "an unknowable amount of ballots" that could be counted, said Gabriel Sterling, who has overseen the implementation of Georgia’s new electronic voting system.
He said counties have been working diligently to finish tabulating their results, and he emphasized his confidence in the legitimacy of the process. Any evidence-backed complaint will be investigated, he added.
"When you have a narrow margin, little, small things can make a difference. So everything's going to have to be investigated to protect the integrity of the vote," he said.
Under Georgia law, if the margin between Biden and Trump is under half a percentage point of difference, a recount can be requested.
After each county certifies its total, the state will perform an audit before certifying the results. Counties must certify their results by Nov. 13 and the state must certify the results by Nov. 20.
Georgia also is the only state holding elections for both its Senate seats this year, meaning it will determine which party is in control.
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