Georgia certifies election results showing Biden won

Atlanta: Georgia’s top elections official has recertified the state’s election results after a recount requested by President Donald Trump confirmed once again that Democrat Joe Biden won the state, his office said.

“We have now counted legally cast ballots three times, and the results remain unchanged,” Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said on Monday during a news conference at the state Capitol before the results were 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 recount, 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 the secretary of state recertified the statewide results, his office said in a news release.

Next, the governor has to recertify the state’s slate of 16 presidential electors, all prominent Democrats. A spokesman for Republican Governor Brian Kemp said in a text message on Monday afternoon that he didn’t have any information about when the governor planned to do that.

Tuesday is the federal safe harbour deadline — 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 presidential race in the state. After the initial count following Election Day, Raffensperger selected the presidential race for an audit required by state law. The tight margin meant 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.

The total number of votes in the 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. That appears to be largely due to a discrepancy in Fulton County, the state’s most populous county that 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’s a big county that’s had managerial issues. He also noted the difference isn’t enough to change the overall outcome of the election.