The US state of Georgia has committed to recounting by hand every vote cast in the presidential election – but it won’t change the fate of the president.
President-elect Joe Biden won Georgia by 14,111 votes.
On Thursday morning (Australian time), Georgia’s state secretary Brad Raffensperger ordered all 159 counties to conduct a full hand recount.
It will begin by the end of the week and take until November 20.
With incumbent president Donald Trump continuing to make baseless claims of electoral fraud, Mr Raffensperger said he hoped a recount “will help build confidence”.
But it won’t change the fact that Mr Biden will take office in January. Mr Trump, however, is not backing down in casting doubt on the election results and continues to maintain he won.
Also on Thursday morning, the Trump team took another step in its legal strategy to upend the election loss by filing a lawsuit in Michigan.
They have gone to federal court to try to block the mid-western battleground state he won in 2016 from certifying the November 3 election results.
He trails by roughly 148,000 votes, or 2.6 percentage points, in unofficial vote totals in Michigan.
The lawsuit has alleges misconduct in the voting, with the focus on the Democratic stronghold of Wayne County, which includes Detroit.
Jake Rollow, a spokesman for the Michigan Department of State, said the Trump campaign was promoting false claims to erode public confidence in Michigan’s elections.
“It does not change the truth: Michigan’s elections were conducted fairly, securely, transparently and the results are an accurate reflection of the will of the people,” Mr Rollow said.
In Georgia, the original count shows Mr Biden won by a small margin. But he did not need that southern state to win the presidential election.
The result could become important if other states also somehow flip, which is unlikely.
“This race has national significance, national importance, we get that,” Mr Raffensperger said.
Mr Biden was pushed over the 270 electoral vote threshold by Pennsylvania early on Sunday (Australian time) when US media called the race for the Democrat.
Mr Raffensperger said he would investigate all allegations of voter fraud although he did not indicate there was evidence of widespread irregularities.
Mr Trump has been arguing the US election was rigged against him but has been unable to produce evidence of major fraud.
The New York Times spoke with election officials in 45 US states representing both the Republican and Democratic parties. None reported any major voting issues.
The publication said there was no evidence to substantiate Mr Trump’s voter fraud claims.
Ohio’s state secretary Frank LaRose, who is a Republican, said: “There’s a great human capacity for inventing things that aren’t true about elections.”
“The conspiracy theories and rumours and all those things run rampant. For some reason, elections breed that type of mythology,” he told The NY Times.
Postal worker takes back voter fraud claims
Meanwhile, Pennsylvania postal worker Richard Hopkins, who claimed ballots were tampered with, has retracted his statement. He has admitted to investigators that he signed a false affidavit.
Mr Hopkins, who works for the United States Postal Service, had created a GoFundMe page requesting people to donate money because his job was on the line due because of his claims of voter fraud.
He even said he would testify under oath that ballots were being backdated.
“Your donations are going to help me in the case I am wrongfully terminated from my job or I am forced into resigning due to [sic] ostrizization by my coworkers,” the GoFundMe page stated.
“It will help me get a new start in a place I feel safe and help me with child support until I am able to get settled and get a job.”
However, after contacting Mr Hopkins, USPS investigators informed the House Oversight Committee that he had recanted his original allegations.
The Washington Post reported that the 32-year-old had admitted to the investigators that he had made up the allegations, but he did not explain why.
Mr Trump retweeted the Washington Post article, saying Mr Hopkins “stays with the truth, his original story”.
Trump makes his first formal public appearance
Mr Trump has returned to the public eye for the first time since news broke that he had been defeated in the election.
Marking Veterans Day, Mr Trump laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia on Wednesday.
The Tomb represents all American soldiers who have been killed or remain missing in action.