November 6, 2020 at 7:18 AM EST
Biden takes narrow lead in Georgia on strength of absentee ballots
By John Wagner, Michelle Lee and Colby Itkowitz
Biden has taken a narrow lead over Trump in Georgia, a state Trump must carry to maintain a pathway to an electoral college win and that no Democrat has carried since 1992, on the strength of absentee ballots.
As of 6 a.m., Biden was leading by 1,096 votes out of nearly 4.9 million cast.
The state’s most populous and Democratic-leaning counties of Fulton, DeKalb and Chatham finished counting absentee ballots on Thursday, helping Biden overcome Trump’s lead.
But the vote-counting is not yet complete. There are 8,899 requested overseas and military ballots that may arrive by the Friday deadline, plus provisional ballots left to count.
As of late Thursday, 14,097 were still outstanding statewide, according to the secretary of state’s office.
The narrow margin makes a recount of the presidential vote increasingly likely in Georgia, according to Gabriel Sterling, the state’s voter information system manager. In Georgia, candidates can request a recount if the margin is 0.5 percent or below, and they must do so within two business days of the statewide certification of results, which is set to take place by Nov. 20.
Georgia last voted for a Democratic president in 1992, with Bill Clinton taking 44 percent of the vote to then-President George H.W. Bush’s 43 percent.
Georgia, which voted for Trump by five percentage points in 2016, would be a major pickup for Democrats, who have hoped to one day flip the state.
Biden campaigned in the state for the first time a week before the election, seeing possibility there, but never counting on its 16 electoral votes to deliver him the presidency.
Like other Sun Belt states, Georgia’s population has grown younger and more diverse, cutting into the long-held Republican advantage there.