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Georgia secretary of state predicts recount as Biden takes narrow lead

Georgia’s top elections official predicted on Friday that there will be a recount in the state, as ballot returns showed former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenChinese apps could face subpoenas, bans under Biden executive order: report OVERNIGHT ENERGY:  EPA announces new clean air advisors after firing Trump appointees |  Senate confirms Biden pick for No. 2 role at Interior | Watchdog: Bureau of Land Management saw messaging failures, understaffing during pandemic Poll: Majority back blanket student loan forgiveness MORE overtaking President TrumpDonald TrumpChinese apps could face subpoenas, bans under Biden executive order: report Kim says North Korea needs to be 'prepared' for 'confrontation' with US Ex-Colorado GOP chair accused of stealing more than 0K from pro-Trump PAC MORE there by fewer than 1,600 votes.

Speaking at a press conference, Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (R) said that with fewer than 5,500 ballots left to be counted in a handful of counties and 8,890 military ballots outstanding, the race for president in Georgia remained “too close to call.”

“As we are closing in on a final count, we can begin to look toward our next steps,” Raffensperger said. “With a margin that small, there will be a recount in Georgia. Interest in our election obviously goes far beyond Georgia’s borders. The final tally in Georgia at this point has huge implications for the entire country.”

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Raffensperger’s remarks came hours after updated vote counts showed Biden taking a narrow 1,579-vote lead over Trump in the state. Under Georgia law, candidates can request a recount of votes if the race is decided by a margin of 0.5 percentage points or less. Biden currently leads by less than 0.1 percentage points.

A loss for Trump in Georgia appears increasingly fatal for his prospects of a second term in the White House. Biden took the lead in Pennsylvania Friday morning, and while the race remains too close to call, a victory there would put him over the 270 electoral vote threshold needed to secure the presidency. 

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Trump, meanwhile, has alleged widespread fraud and cheating on the part of Democrats as his path to reelection has narrowed. His campaign has already indicated it will request a recount in Wisconsin, where he currently trails Biden by fewer than 21,000 votes, or less than 1 percentage point.

The outstanding ballots in Georgia could potentially turn the tide of the race. Many of the ballots left to be counted are in Democratic-leaning counties, like Gwinnett County and Cobb County in the Atlanta area. Other ballots remain to be counted in Republican-leaning Floyd County and Cherokee County.

The 8,890 military ballots that are still outstanding must be delivered to election officials by close of business on Friday to be counted, and it’s unclear how many will be received by that deadline and whether they swing the outcome of the race.