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Georgia Race Tightens, Officials Will Conduct Recount

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

All right, we're going to pivot now and go to Georgia because the secretary of state in Georgia has called for a recount. NPR's Sarah McCammon was at the press conference where this announcement just came down. Sarah, what more can you tell us about what came from this press conference?

SARAH MCCAMMON, BYLINE: Well, we're hearing that this election isn't over yet, that it's very, very close - I mean, down to the wire, razor-sharp margins here in Georgia. As we've heard, former Vice President Joe Biden does appear to be ahead in the current count by a little more than a thousand votes, but several thousand votes remain to be counted.

Georgia's Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger - who, by the way, is a Republican - was really - he took the stage here, the podium here, at the Georgia state Capitol a moment ago and seemed to be calling for calm, presented a very calm demeanor and insisted that we will - that the state will be protecting the integrity of the election results. But it is very close, with several thousand votes more to count, absentee votes and also roughly 8- or 9,000 military overseas ballots still coming in.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

BRAD RAFFENSPERGER: With a margin that small, there will be a recount.

MCCAMMON: So as we heard, it's so close that the secretary of state says they're going to need to do a full recount here in Georgia.

MARTIN: Do we have any idea at this point what that looks like, how long something like that would take?

MCCAMMON: Well, we've heard that the race could be certified within the next couple of weeks. They spent a lot of time talking, officials did just now, here in Georgia, about how meticulous this process is. They promised transparency. And they said that, you know, every vote will be counted. Just to go back, Rachel, to how close this is - the secretary of state said there were more than roughly 5 million votes cast in Georgia, and it's going to come down to just a few thousand votes. That's why a recount is necessary.

MARTIN: So meanwhile, Sarah, the Trump campaign continues to make false claims about fraud in this election. What are Georgia officials saying about that?

MCCAMMON: Well, again, they're saying that there are no widespread irregularities being reported and that any reports of voting issues are being investigated, will be investigated. Officials stressed at this press conference that this is a nation of laws and that those laws will be followed. They said if there are any questions or concerns, people should call - you know, in Georgia, they should call the secretary of state's office. In their own state, they should call their state officials. But, really, a very methodical tone here from election officials in Georgia. And I want to mention again that this is a Republican-led secretary of state's office.

But as close as this race is, there is a lot of scrutiny on it, and we heard that acknowledged as well. I want to play a clip I think we have from Gabe Sterling, who is a Georgia election official, really putting that into focus. Actually, I don't think we have that clip. But what he said was, quote, "We are literally looking at a margin of less than a large high school," Rachel. So it's understandable that there is a lot of scrutiny on this state right now.

MARTIN: NPR's Sarah McCammon with that update from the state of Georgia, where the secretary of state has called for a recount. Thank you.

MCCAMMON: Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.