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Data: FairVote; Table: Axios Visuals

The Trump campaign says it will seek recounts in several key states, but that's highly unlikely to change the outcome.

Why it matters: Statewide recounts have historically only changed electoral margins by an average 430 votes, according to the nonpartisan election reform group FairVote. Joe Biden's lead in several states is thin, but it's not that thin.

Driving the news: Each state has its own rules about when a recount can be triggered, whether it has to be requested by a campaign and who foots the bill.

  • Georgia's secretary of state announced Friday that the race is so close that a recount is inevitable. It's unlikely to change the state's final outcome, but FairVote senior research analyst Deb Otis said it's more realistic in Georgia than in other states.
  • The Pennsylvania race is currently within the 0.5% margin that would trigger an automatic recount, but that could change as more votes are counted.
  • The Trump campaign has said it will ask for a recount in Michigan and Wisconsin, where the president is down by tens of thousands of votes.
  • The only way to get a recount in Arizona is if the margin is within 0.1%.

The big picture: There have only been 31 recounts in the past 20 years, out of more than 5,700 statewide general elections, according to FairVote's analysis.

  • Three of those recounts overturned results, but they only shifted the final margin by 239-440 votes.
  • The median margin shift after a recount is 0.015% of the total count. The largest margin shift ever seen in a statewide race was 0.11% — much smaller than what Trump would need in order to hang onto the White House.
  • High turnout and millions of Americans voting by mail for the first time in 2020 could lead to more human error in ballot counting, but it's not likely to be enough to make a difference, Otis said.

Go deeper

Off the Rails

Episode 2: Barbarians at the Oval

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images

Beginning on election night 2020 and continuing through his final days in office, Donald Trump unraveled and dragged America with him, to the point that his followers sacked the U.S. Capitol with two weeks left in his term. This Axios series takes you inside the collapse of a president.

Episode 2: Trump stops buying what his professional staff are telling him, and increasingly turns to radical voices telling him what he wants to hear. Read episode 1.

President Trump plunked down in an armchair in the White House residence, still dressed from his golf game — navy fleece, black pants, white MAGA cap. It was Saturday, Nov. 7. The networks had just called the election for Joe Biden.

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Senate action on stimulus bill continues as Dems reach deal on jobless aid

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Democratic leaders struck an agreement with Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) on emergency unemployment insurance late Friday, clearing the way for Senate action on President Biden's $1.9 trillion stimulus package to resume after an hours-long delay.

The state of play: The Senate will now work through votes on a series of amendments that are expected to last overnight into early Saturday morning.

Capitol review panel recommends more police, mobile fencing

Photo: Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images

A panel appointed by Congress to review security measures at the Capitol is recommending several changes, including mobile fencing and a bigger Capitol police force, to safeguard the area after a riotous mob breached the building on Jan. 6.

Why it matters: Law enforcement officials have warned there could be new plots to attack the area and target lawmakers, including during a speech President Biden is expected to give to a joint session of Congress.