The secretary of state of Georgia, a key battleground state where President-elect Joe Biden currently holds a slim lead of little more than 14,000 votes over President Donald Trump, has announced an audit of election results that will trigger a full hand recount of all ballots cast there.

Brad Raffensperger, the secretary of state, said during a Wednesday news conference that he wants the process to begin by the end of this week. He said it will end by November 20, the state’s deadline to certify its final vote count.

“Mathematically, you actually have to do a full hand-by-hand recount of all because the margin is so close,” Raffensperger said. “We want to start this before the week is up.”

Raffensperger, along with election officials across the country, has been the focus of ire from Trump and his allies in the aftermath of the election, which the Associated Press and other news agencies called in favour of Biden on Saturday. In the US, it is the norm for presidents to concede based on those projections.

The Trump campaign has since launched a raft of lawsuits in pivotal states and plans to request recounts in others. However, with Biden currently holding 290 electoral votes without including Georgia’s 16 electoral votes, the Trump campaign would need to overturn results in several states concurrently to whittle Biden’s lead to under 270 electoral votes – the threshold for victory.

On Wednesday, during a call with reporters, White House spokesman Tim Murtaugh offered an optimistic assessment of the recount: “With regard to whether we think these individual cases will turn the election, every time we take a step along this process we believe we are getting closer to our goal and that is the president winning these states and ultimately being re-elected.”

A lawyer for Trump’s campaign hailed the recount as allowing “us to have individuals lay eyes on every piece of paper for a manual hand recount”.