After a historic recount of the five million votes cast in Georgia, Republican leaders confirmed on Friday that President-elect Joe Biden had in fact defeated President Donald Trump in the state, despite unsubstantiated claims to the contrary by Trump and his colleagues. supporters.
But the beleaguered governor of the state and his chief electoral officer differed widely in how they relayed the news.
In brief remarks Friday night from Atlanta, Governor Brian Kemp said under state law he had to certify Biden as the winner. But the Trump-backed Republican, who has faced immense pressure from the president and his base to do something globally about his electoral loss, has coated the post with criticism of the electoral process and insisted that the Trump campaign could still fight the outcome.
Certification of the outcome allows the Trump campaign to demand an official, machine-driven vote recount and “other legal options” through that process, Kemp said. While Georgia election officials have defended the integrity of the system in recent weeks, Kemp has focused on the fact that the audit revealed several thousand previously uncounted votes, a finding that outraged Trump supporters even. if the new votes have hardly moved the state’s margin. race.
Calling this “totally unacceptable”, Kemp said Georgians “deserve better”.
The governor also suggested that election officials do more to match the signatures on the mail-in ballots with the signatures on file – a request repeated by Trump and his allies – even as Brad Raffensperger, Secretary of State Georgian, insisted that the guarantees in place are stronger than ever. .
Raffensperger, meanwhile, has borne the brunt of Trump and his base’s fury for the Georgia election, even receiving death threats for simply upholding the integrity of the system. The morning before Kemp’s conference, Raffensperger was candid about what had happened – that Biden had won Georgia.
“Like other Republicans, I am disappointed that our candidate did not win Georgia’s electoral votes,” he said at a press conference on Friday. “The numbers don’t lie.”
After November 3, following intense pressure from Trump and his Georgian allies, Raffensperger announced that he would make the unprecedented decision to audit every vote cast in Georgia, giving counties about nine days to get there.
Updates from election officials throughout this process left little indication that this would significantly change the outcome. The audit process encountered several counties where slices of previously uncounted votes were found, but in the end margins hardly increased and officials defended their finding as proof that the audit process was working. in fact.
On Thursday, Gabriel Sterling, an election spokesperson, tweeted that the audit had confirmed Biden won and there was virtually no variation. Initially, Georgia election officials reported that Biden led Trump by 12,780 of the five million votes cast. After the audit, Biden’s lead was reduced to 12,670, a difference of 496 votes.
With the result officially certified, Trump has the option to continue with a traditional recount, as Kemp noted, as Biden’s 0.26% margin of victory is within the 0.5% range where recounts are allowed. , under state law. Unlike the audit, which recounted all the votes by hand, this recount would be carried out by re-analyzing the ballots by machine.
Officials say such a process would be virtually guaranteed to produce the same result as the Nov. 3 election and subsequent audit, but the Trump campaign could demand the recount – which would be paid for by the state of Georgia – of here Tuesday.
In a tweet hours before the announcement, Trump tried to pre-kill the results with a series of unsubstantiated allegations of voter fraud and appeared to accuse Georgia’s election officials of rushing to publish the tally instead of meeting a deadline.
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