Photo: MediaNews Group/Reading Eagle via Getty Images / Contributor (Getty Images) Despite losing the November election by a healthy margin in the Electoral College and by a historic proportion in the popular vote, Donald Trump’s legal team has launched a number of thus-far futile efforts to gift the president a second term.

Since November 3, Trump’s lawyers have incurred a string of defeats in federal courts in Pennsylvania, Georgia, Wisconsin, and Michigan. Now the White House is exploring recounts of the final voting results in the states of Georgia—where president-elect Joe Biden won by a 14,000-vote margin —and in Wisconsin , where Biden reclaimed territory the Democrats lost in 2016 by a more convincing 20,000 votes.

Recounts historically don’t change much about election results, especially when the winner has won by tens of thousands of votes. So what, then, is the logic behind recounting a vote? What is an election recount?

The answer is simple. An election recount is when the votes in an election are recounted because the initial result was either too close to decisively call, or when one candidate, group of voters, or another party requests a recount, usually because they’ve lost.

The process of actually requesting a recount is a bit more involved and varies according to state law—there’s no overriding set of rules for how these things are conducted on a federal level. Requested recounts vs. automatic recounts

Some states have statutory provisions that trigger automatic recounts. If the result was razor-thin, or if there was a […]