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Georgia Election Officials Conduct Statewide Risk Limiting Audit, Not Official Recount

Georgia RLA live stream.jpg
Screenshot of a live stream of Georgia election workers counting ballots in Atlanta.

Election workers across the state of Georgia are conducting a hand count of every ballot cast for president during the general election. While it’s often being reported in the news as a recount, what’s happening is actually a kind of post-election audit that was not triggered by the closeness of the race, or by a candidate challenging the outcome, but because of a new Georgia State Law.

These relatively new Risk Limiting Audits, which are conducted by hand, are designed to provide strong evidence that the machine-tabulated results are consistent with voter intent. After the election results are certified, an actual recount could possibly then occur if the margin is less than 0.5 percentage points. Joe Biden currently leads by less than .5 percentage points, so President Trump could still request a recount later but that would be a re-scanning of the ballots and not conducted by hand.

To learn more about Risk Limiting Audits, and what exactly is unfolding in Georgia, we talk with Mark Lindeman, Interim Co-Director of Verified Voting, a nonprofit, non-partisan organization focused on the role technology plays in election administration.

Mike Kiniry is producer of Gulf Coast Live, and co-creator and host of the WGCU podcast Three Song Stories: Biography Through Music. He first joined the WGCU team in the summer of 2003 as an intern while studying Communication at Florida Gulf Coast University.
Julie Glenn is the News Director and the host of Gulf Coast Live. She joined the WGCU team in November of 2016 to expand the Gulf Coast Live call-in radio show from once a week to five days a week. Since then, the show has been recognized in state and regional competitions and has featured artists, political leaders, historians, environmental experts, doctors, local reporters, and national and international scholars. After leading the station's award-winning coverage of Hurricane Irma in September of 2017, Julie was named Interim News Director. In January of 2018, she launched WGCU's first podcast: Grape Minds.