On Friday, Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, a Republican, said the state would have a recount because of the slim vote margin. The margin is currently  0.2% with 99% of votes counted. The state had about 4,169 votes left to count, according to Gabriel Sterling, Georgia’s voting system implementation manager. A recount could take until the end of the month, he noted.
Sterling said counties will hand-count a deck of ballots as a test, which will then be sent through high-speed scanners located at the central county elections office. If the tallies match and the election workers determine the scanner is working accurately, every single ballot will then be rescanned. According to AP’s research, there have been at least 31 statewide recounts since 2000. And of those, only three changed the outcome of the election. The initial margins in those races were all under 300 votes.
The laws governing recounts  vary by state and a handful of states do not offer a recount process at all. Here are the rules in key states:
An automatic recount is triggered in Arizona if the margin between candidates is less than or equal to 0.1% of the votes cast or 200 votes, whatever is less.
Neither candidates nor voters can directly request recounts in Arizona. Recounts can only be conducted by court order.
Where paper ballots are used and it appears there is a discrepancy or error, the superintendent may order a recount, or any candidate or political party may petition for one.
A losing candidate may request a recount when results are within 0.5% of total votes cast for the office.
“The request must be made within two business days following certification of the results,” according to the National Association of Secretaries of State.
The deadline for certifying results in Georgia is 14 days after the election, in this case Nov. 17.
Deadline to request non-mandatory recount: Within two business days after county certification.
Who pays for a requested recount: State.
Deadline for completion: No set deadlines.
A recount is automatically triggered in Michigan when the election is determined by a difference of 2,000 votes or less. A candidate can also ask for a recount if they have a “reasonable chance of winning the election.”
Deadline to request non-mandatory recount: Within 48 hours after the canvass.
Who pays for a requested recount: The requester.
Deadline for completion: No later than 30 days after either the last day to file counter petitions or the first day that recounts may begin.
Nevada does not have an automatic trigger for a recount. A candidate at any election, or any registered voter of the appropriate political subdivision can request a recount.
Deadline to request non-mandatory recount: Within three business days of canvass.
Who pays for a requested recount: The requester.
Deadline for completion: Within 10 days of the request.
North Carolina
A candidate can request a recount if the vote difference for the election is at 10,000 or 0.5% of the votes cast, whichever is smaller.
Deadline to request non-mandatory recount: No later than on the second business day after the canvass.
Who pays for a requested recount: There is no mention in state law, but the general practice is that the state covers the cost of a requested recount.
Deadline for completion: No set deadline.
Automatic recount is triggered if the margin of victory is 0.5% of the vote or closer. Candidates cannot request a recount but can appeal the “order or decision of any county board regarding the computation or canvassing of the returns of any primary or election, or regarding any recount or recanvass thereof.”
In individual precincts or election districts, a recount can be requested if at least three voters make such a request in the court of common pleas.
Deadline to request non-mandatory recount: Within five days of the election or within five days after the computational canvass if requested through the court.
Who pays for a requested recount: The requester.
Deadline for completion: Not specified. An automatic recount must be done no later than the first Tuesday after the third Wednesday following the election, or in this case by Nov. 24.
If the race stays within 1 percentage point, the losing candidate can force a recount. Before any decision could be made on a recount, the official results need to be finalized over the coming weeks.
Deadline to request non-mandatory recount: On the first business day following the canvass.
Who pays for a requested recount: If the margin is greater than 0.25%, the requester pays.
Deadline for completion: Within 13 days of the order for the recount.
Sources: USA TODAY research, NCSL, Ballotpedia.org.
Contributing: Donovan Slack and Grace Hauck