Georgia Secretary of State Certifies Biden’s Victory After Audit

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger certified Joe Biden’s win in the state Friday, a day after completing a hand audit of more than 5 million ballots, starting the clock for electors to be named and any further recount demand from President Donald Trump’s campaign.

Biden won Georgia by a margin of 12,670 votes, or about 0.3 percentage point, marking the first time a Democrat has carried the state since 1992.

Georgia Secretary of State Certifies Biden’s Victory After Audit

“Numbers don’t lie. As secretary of state, I believe the numbers that we have presented today are correct,” Raffensperger said in a press conference ahead of the certification. “The numbers reflect the verdict of the people.”

Republican Governor Brian Kemp lamented the discrepancies found by the audit, but said he would sign off on the results as required by state law. He noted that the move paves the way for any further legal challenges.

Because the margin is less than 0.5 percentage point, Trump has until Tuesday to request a recount. Absent a court order, any recount would only require counties to feed ballots through scanners again instead of the more time-consuming process of tallying them by hand.

The Trump campaign has not said if it will request such a count, but Thursday night said it intends “to pursue all legal options to ensure that all legal ballots are counted.”

The Associated Press called the state for Biden when the audit was complete.

Certification is an important legal milestone because it’s the state’s official declaration of who won unless a court intervenes, and it also triggers the appointment of state electors to the Electoral College.

The president’s efforts to reverse the results of the election have launched lawsuits and demands for recounts in several states. A federal district court denied a Trump supporter’s bid to delay certifying the results in Georgia on Thursday.

In Georgia, the election and its aftermath have pitted Republican against Republican, including a call for Raffensperger to resign from Republican U.S. Senators Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue, both of whom face competitive run-off elections in January.

Raffensperger has defended the integrity of the vote. In an interview on Tuesday, he criticized what he called “a campaign of misinformation, disinformation and outright lies about the process in Georgia.”

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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