NOEL KING, HOST:
Georgia has finished recounting by hand 5 million ballots that were cast in the presidential election. President-elect Joe Biden won the first count in Georgia by about 14,000 votes. Now, this recount is part of a legally required audit, and state officials say it will instill confidence in the results. Stephen Fowler is a reporter with Georgia Public Broadcasting. He's been following this one all the way through. Good morning, Stephen.
STEPHEN FOWLER, BYLINE: Good morning.
KING: When will we know the results of the recount?
FOWLER: So, Noel, state officials say they should have everything ready to make all of the data available and put out a report by noon. And they can be able to do so because there's a big paper trail that's been followed for the last week.
KING: OK. Did the recount turn up evidence of any irregularities?
FOWLER: Yes and no. The audit is supposed to count and verify that Joe Biden did, in fact, receive more votes than Donald Trump but not by how many votes. But during the process of this, four Georgia counties found ballots that they did not properly upload into the state's election system. In one case, it was a box of paper ballots that were just never scanned and entered. In other cases, it was memory cards that they had found and logged but failed to actually upload. It's about 6,000 or so ballots that, when all was said and done, ended up trimming the margin by about 2,000 votes. But it's not going to change the ultimate result because state officials say that it's the initial results that will stand. So hand counting being off here or there won't change the results.
KING: You know, election officials in Georgia, my guess is, are exhausted. I know that you've been talking to them. What are you hearing about all of the attention and the scrutiny that they've been facing?
FOWLER: Well, Noel, many of the officials and poll workers that I talked to knew that the 2020 election was going to be the most important in a long, long time. They just didn't know that it would keep going and going and going. We've had people working through the night entering in ballots in the days after the election. We've had people working hundreds and hundreds, if not thousands, working to hand recount 5 million ballots in Georgia. And they're still not done because there's another election. We've got two Senate runoffs coming. So it's a very, very long season and the eyes of the nation are on Georgia.
KING: Stephen, I wonder if you could explain something. I was reading earlier that there's a chance in Georgia that there could be another recount. Can you explain what's going on there?
FOWLER: Right. So what just happened was a risk-limiting audit that was required before the state can certify results. Normally, it just uses math to randomly sample ballots to figure out that the result is correct. But because the margin was so close, they did a hand recount, which is different than a recount in Georgia law, which a loser can request that would machine count 5 million ballots again. And because of the margin, President Trump could by next Tuesday ask for all of these votes to be counted yet again.
KING: Wow. Stephen Fowler of Georgia Public Broadcasting. Thank you, Stephen.
FOWLER: Thank you.
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