The results of a hand count of the Georgia election results are set to be announced with expectations they will confirm Democrat Joe Biden’s narrow lead over President Donald Trump.
The hand tally of about five million votes stemmed from an audit required by a new state law and was not in response to any suspected problems with the state’s results or an official recount request.
The state has until Friday to confirm results that have previously been certified and submitted by the counties.
The counties were supposed to finish the hand count by 11.59pm on Wednesday.
Gabriel Sterling, who oversaw the implementation of the state’s new voting system, said he expected the secretary of state’s office to put out a report on the results by midday on Thursday.
Once the state certifies the election results, the losing campaign has two business days to request a recount if the margin remains within 0.5%.
That recount would be done using scanners that read and tally the votes and would be paid for by the counties, Mr Sterling said.
It was up to Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to select the race to be audited, and he said the presidential race made the most sense because of its significance and the tight margin separating the candidates.
Because of that small margin, Mr Raffensperger said a full hand recount was necessary.
Going into the recount, Mr Biden led Mr Trump by a margin of about 14,000 votes. Previously uncounted ballots discovered in four counties during the hand count will reduce that margin to about 12,800, Mr Sterling said.
Other counties found slight differences in results as they did their hand counts, and state election officials had consistently said that was to be expected.
The claims of fraud in Georgia have sparked infighting among Republicans, with Mr Raffensperger stating categorically that the election was fair and secure.
Georgia’s two Republican US senators, David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler, have demanded Mr Raffensperger’s resignation.
The pair both face run-offs against their Democratic challengers on January 5 in crucial contests that will decide which party controls the Senate.
The Associated Press has not declared a winner in Georgia, where Mr Biden led Mr Trump by about 0.3 percentage points.
There is no mandatory recount law in Georgia but state law provides that option to a trailing candidate if the margin is less than 0.5 percentage points.
It is AP’s practice not to call a race that is — or is likely to become — subject to a recount.