Recount laws in Georgia: Who pays for a recount

Laws concerning recounts vary from state to state and Georgia has unique laws pertaining to how a recount is triggered and who pays for it.

Unlike some states, Georgia does not automatically initiate a recount. However, if a candidate falls within a 0.5% margin, a recount can be requested.

RELATED: Georgia to hand-count votes in statewide presidential election audit

Georgia law also states that a recount must be requested within two business days following the certification of results. State law does not specify who pays for the recount. According to the Secretary of State's Office, for recounts authorized under Title 21, the petitioners are not responsible for any of the costs incurred by election officials.

Other common situations where a recount may be requested include:

  • If there is a suspected error or discrepancy in the returns, an election official can ask for a recount.
  • If a candidate for federal or state office petitions the Secretary of State regarding a suspected error or discrepancy, the Secretary of State can ask for a recount.

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Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger announced Wednesday that the state will do a full recount of votes by hand in the state's 2020 presidential election results. 

If after the hand-count and the certification President Donald Trump and President-elect Joe Biden are still within .5% of each other in vote totals, the Trump campaign could ask for a second recount, but it would be done electronically.

RELATED: Georgia Secretary of State finds no sign of widespread fraud in election

Raffensperger had previously defended the integrity of the election and his work amid calls from U.S. Senators Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue for him to step down. Both Loeffler and Perdue are likely headed to runoff on January 5, 2021 against Democratic challengers Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff, respectively.

Raffensperger said his office will conduct a full audit, as required by Georgia law. He indicated it would be near the deadline of November 20 before he certifies the results.