Georgia confirms Biden victory and finds no widespread fraud after statewide audit

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger speaks during a news conference on Wednesday, Nov. 11, 2020, in Atlanta.

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger certified the results of the November 3 General Election Friday afternoon. The final results give President-elect Joe Biden the state's 16 votes in the Electoral College and solidify his position as president-elect. But the counting of votes may not be over yet.

The full results can be found here.

Secretary Raffensperger's office said Friday afternoon that by certifying the results, he "affirmed that all 159 counties have provided to the state the total votes tabulated for each state and federal candidate. Further, the Secretary of State affirms that the statewide consolidated returns for state and federal offices are a true and correct tabulation of the certified returns received by this office from each county."

Governor Brian Kemp spoke Friday evening saying, "state law now requires the governor's office to formalize the certification which paves the way for the Trump campaign to pursue other legal options in a separate recount if they choose." The final certification will take place by Saturday at 5 p.m.

Just before talking about the state law requiring him to formalize the certification, Kemp said Georgians had doubts about the signatures on absentee ballots, which is an unfounded conspiracy theory echoed by President Donald Trump.

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"It’s important to note this only looked at ballots not at the signatures on the absentee applications or the signatures on the ballot envelopes. So I encourage Secretary Raffensperger to address these concerns," Kemp said. "It seems simple enough to conduct a sample audit of signatures on the absentee ballot envelopes and compare those to the signatures on applications and on file at the Secretary of State’s office."

Kemp has also been under fire from President Trump to "get tough" and "take charge" as it became clear he would not win the state. But in the tweets, Trump has criticized Kemp, blaming him for a legal agreement the state reached earlier this year with Democratic groups regarding absentee ballots. Raffensperger's office has said Trump is mischaracterizing the agreement, known as a consent decree.

Georgia has been at the center of a political storm since the polls closed on November 3. The state's count took multiple days as counties had to process over a million absentee ballots this year. The Secretary of State's office provided continual updates each day about the status of the count and which counties were having trouble.

A hand-tally audit of the presidential vote was ordered after the unofficial results were announced and President-elect Joe Biden was projected to win the state by multiple agencies. During the hand count, Raffensperger was targeted by President Donald Trump with pressure over the results that didn't turn out in President Trump's favor. The secretary said repeatedly that he was a Trump supporter and conservative, but he would let the numbers dictate what happened in the state's results.

A few thousand votes were discovered during the hand count and retallied by the counties. No widespread issues were found during the hand count audit, Raffensperger and Lt. Gov Geoff Duncan have repeatedly said.

A federal judge on Thursday dismissed a lawsuit to delay Georgia's certification. The case was brought by one of the potential Republican electors, and the Trump campaign was not officially involved. Lin Wood, who brought the lawsuit, would have served as a pro-Trump elector if Trump won Georgia.

Kemp referenced the runoff elections coming up on January 5 and said any discrepancy during the election must be addressed.

"We demand complete explanations for all discrepancies identified so that our citizens will have complete confidence in our elections," Kemp said. "In the runoff election, we cannot have lost memory cards or stacks of uncounted ballots. We must have full transparency in all monitoring and counting. Every legal vote must be counted and the security of the ballot boxes must be protected."

Copyright 2020 WGCL-TV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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