Georgia senior Hailey Bittles puts her absentee ballot in the official box at the ACC Library on Election Day, Nov. 3, 2020, in Athens, Georgia. (Photo/ Kathryn Skeean, kskeean@randb.com)

All 159 counties in the state of Georgia will begin the by-hand recount process to determine which presidential candidate receives the state’s 16 electoral votes. 

In a Thursday afternoon press conference, Voting System Implementation Manager Gabriel Sterling said president-elect Joe Biden currently leads President Donald Trump by 14,072 votes. 

Sterling reiterated that the risk-limiting audit was enacted to “instill confidence in the outcome of the election” and will be all about process and following the law, he said. 

“We’re working to make this process as transparent as we can,” Sterling said. The Secretary of State’s office has asked counties to try to livestream the recounts.

In Athens-Clarke County, the Board of Elections will count ballots on Nov. 13-14 and Nov. 16- 17 from 9:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m.

The audit will take place at the Athens Facilities Management Building, and it will be viewable through a livestream or by in-person reservation. 

Two people can observe at a time in 30-minute time slots to adhere to social distancing guidelines in the room. Appointment times for the general public are available every half hour, and residents can register for time slots online through a form or by calling 706-613-3150.

This will be the largest hand recount in the history of the U.S., Sterling said.

The greatest risk during the recount is the human factor, Sterling said. There will be counters, auditors, observers and bipartisan adjudicators who will come to an agreement if a counter can’t figure out a voter’s intent. 

The recount is scheduled to end at midnight on Nov. 18, however counties have until the state certification deadline of Nov. 20. The results of the recount will be the state’s certified results, Sterling said.  

Each county will bear the cost of the recount, however Sterling said the Secretary of State’s office is looking into obtaining federal funds to help out.