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After third count, Georgia again certifies Biden’s election win

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger
Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger speaks in Atlanta on Wednesday.
(Alyssa Pointer / Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Georgia’s top elections official recertified the state’s election results Monday after a recount requested by President Trump confirmed once again that Joe Biden won the state. The governor then recertified Georgia’s 16 presidential electors.

“We have now counted legally cast ballots three times, and the results remain unchanged,” Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said during a news conference at the state Capitol before the results were officially recertified.

Georgia law allows a losing candidate to request a recount if the margin between the candidates is within 0.5%. Trump requested the recount after the results certified by Raffensperger showed that Biden led by a margin of 12,670 votes, or 0.25% of the roughly 5 million ballots cast.

During the third count, which was done using scanners that read and tally the votes, there were discrepancies in vote totals in some counties. Since the results of a recount become the official results, those counties had to recertify their results. Once that was done, Raffensperger recertified the statewide results, his office said in a statement.

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GOP Gov. Brian Kemp then recertified the state’s slate of 16 presidential electors — all prominent Democrats — as required by state law, spokesman Cody Hall said. The recertification of results comes before the federal “safe harbor” deadline Tuesday, under which electors named by that date in accordance with state law cannot be disregarded by Congress.

The recount was the third tally of votes in the state’s presidential race. After the initial count following election day, Raffensperger selected the presidential race for an audit required by state law. The tight margin meant that the audit required the roughly 5 million votes in that contest to be recounted by hand, he said. That count also affirmed Biden’s victory.

Republicans need Trump to boost turnout for Georgia’s Senate runoffs, but his attacks on state GOP leaders and false claim of vote fraud risk backfiring on the party.

The total number of votes in the machine-recount results certified Monday and posted on the secretary of state’s website was 766 fewer than the number certified when the ballots were first tallied after the election. Biden’s lead dropped from 12,670 to 11,779. The slight reduction appears largely to be due to a discrepancy in Fulton County, the state’s most populous county, which includes most of Atlanta.

Fulton County’s recount results showed 880 fewer votes than the results certified after election night, with an overwhelming majority of those votes coming from Biden’s total in the county. Gabriel Sterling, who oversaw the implementation of the state’s new voting system, called the discrepancy in the county “a little worrisome” but said it was a big county that’s had managerial issues.

He also noted that the difference was not enough to change the overall outcome of the election.

Also Monday, a federal judge dismissed a lawsuit filed on behalf of would-be Republican presidential electors by former Trump lawyer Sidney Powell. The suit alleged widespread fraud and sought to decertify the results of the presidential race in Georgia, among other things.

Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler blasts Democratic challenger Raphael Warnock as a radical while continuing to deny President Trump lost the election.

In the lawsuit, “the plaintiffs essentially ask the court for perhaps the most extraordinary relief ever sought in any federal court in connection with an election. They want this court to substitute its judgment for that of 2 and a half million Georgia voters who voted for Joe Biden and this I am unwilling to do,” U.S. District Judge Timothy Batten wrote as he dismissed the suit following a hearing.

Separately, an election challenge filed Friday by Trump, his campaign and Georgia Republican Party Chairman David Shafer was rejected by the Fulton County Superior Court because the paperwork was improperly completed and it lacked the appropriate filing fees.

Even as lawsuits filed by Trump and his allies have been rejected around the country, the president has continued to make repeated baseless claims of widespread fraud. In Georgia, he has rained criticism on Raffensperger and Kemp, both fellow Republicans. Raffensperger has been steadfast in his defense of the integrity of the election in the state, and Kemp has said he has no power to intervene in elections.

“I know there are people that are convinced the election was fraught with problems, but the evidence, the actual evidence, the facts tell us a different story,” Raffensperger said during the news conference Monday.

Hours before coming to Georgia for a rally Saturday night, Trump phoned Kemp and asked him to call a special legislative session. The governor declined.

In a tweet Sunday, Trump criticized Kemp and Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan for inaction and again called for a special session.


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