ATLANTA — Donald Trump says he has formally requested a recount in the presidential race in Georgia.

The president's campaign released a statement Saturday night saying it had filed a petition for the recount, which he is entitled to do under Georgia law because of Joe Biden's margin of victory is less than .5%.

"Today, the Trump campaign filed a petition for recount in Georgia," the campaign said in the statement. "We are focused on ensuring that every aspect of Georgia state law and the U.S. Constitution are followed so that every legal vote is counted."

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The move comes a day after Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger and Gov. Brian Kemp certified Biden's victory. The victory by more than 12,000 votes was confirmed in an audit in which every ballot was recounted by hand. The hand recount showed small differences from the original machine count, which election officials said they expected.

Trump has blasted Kemp and Raffensperger on Twitter, writing that another review of voter signatures on absentee ballot envelopes could have found "illegal ballots." County election officials verify signatures when they receive absentee ballots, but after that point, it's impossible to match ballots back to voters due to ballot secrecy protections guaranteed by the Georgia Constitution.

On Saturday Trump's campaign continued to make unsubstantiated claims that Georgia's official results are tainted.

"Let's stop giving the people false results," the campaign said. "There must be a time when we stop counting illegal ballots. Hopefully it is coming soon."

Biden campaign spokeswoman Jaclyn Rothenberg said a recount "will simply reaffirm Joe Biden's victory in Georgia a third time."

"Last week's recount reaffirmed what we already knew: Georgia voters selected Joe Biden to be their next president," Rothenberg said. "As the secretary of state said, there is no reason to believe there are widespread errors or fraud and the Trump campaign has no evidence to back up their baseless claims."

The recount is expected to begin next week. It's unclear how long it will take to complete.

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(c)2020 The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (Atlanta, Ga.)

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