ATLANTA, Ga (CW69 News at 10 / TBEN) – Georgia has completed its national election audit, confirming President-elect Joe Biden has beaten President Donald Trump, according to a press release from the Secretary of State’s office Brad Raffensperger.
The final audit results showed Biden beat Trump by 12,284 votes. This is a slight drop for Biden from the pre-audit results.
Officials have repeatedly said that the audit confirmed that there was no fraud or widespread irregularities in the elections.
Georgia is required by state law to certify its election results by Friday.
“Georgia’s first historic statewide audit reaffirmed that the state’s new secure paper ballot system accurately counts and reports results,” Raffensperger, a Republican, said in a statement.
“It is an honor to the hard work of our county and local election officials who acted swiftly to undertake and complete such a momentous task in a short period of time.”
Biden Campaign Communications Director for Georgia Jaclyn Rothenberg said in a statement Thursday evening that the recount result “simply reaffirmed what we already knew: Georgian voters chose Joe Biden to be their next president. . “
“We are grateful to election officials, volunteers and workers for working overtime and under unprecedented circumstances to complete this recount, as the ultimate form of public service,” she said.
The state is now the center of the political universe, as the two second-round US Senate elections will determine which political party controls the Senate.
The president continued to tweet unsubstantiated complaints about the voting software used in the state and opposed the recount as “bogus” by tweeting unsubstantiated claims about the state’s signature matching process.
Gabriel Sterling, responsible for the implementation of the voting system in Georgia, told TBEN’s Anderson Cooper on Thursday on “AC360” that “one of the main things you look for when doing this manual audit is to make sure that the things you see on the paper, on the ballot “correspond to what the computer says.
“Human beings are researching because, as you know, one of the big complaints is that these machines kind of reversed the votes, changed the votes, or did things. They didn’t, at least not in Georgia, ”Sterling said. “We have proven it.
During the week-long recount, officials from four counties found new batches of votes that were either not counted on election day or were not properly forwarded to the Secretary of State for tally. According to the Raffensperger press release, “The audit process also led counties to find errors they made in their initial count by not downloading all memory cards. These counties have downloaded the flashcards and recertified their results, which improves the accuracy of the results the state will certify. “
He also said: “The highest error rate in any county recount was 0.73%. Most counties found no change in their final count. The majority of the remaining counties recorded changes of less than ten ballots. “
In all, more than 5,800 uncounted votes were discovered, garnering nearly 1,400 new votes for Trump, who said the discoveries were evidence of wrongdoing. State officials emphasized that these were accidents caused by human error and that there was no sign of fraud or vote rigging.
Raffensperger’s office called the difference between the audit results and the original automatic count results “well within the range of human error expected when manually counting ballots.”
Ben Adida – the executive director of the nonprofit election security organization VotingWorks, which assisted Georgia in the audit – said in a statement: “Georgia’s first national audit has successfully confirmed the winner of the contest chosen and should give voters increased confidence in the results.
Raffensperger has been criticized by both Trump and incumbent GOP Senators David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler, who called on him to step down after accusing him of failing to “run fair and transparent elections.”
Raffensperger told TBEN’s Jake Tapper on Wednesday that the state had “not seen widespread voter fraud.” When asked about attacks by Trump and members of his own party, he defended his credentials as a “lifelong Republican” and “conservative Christian Republican.”
“I’m going to make sure we’re counting every legal and legal vote and we’re not going to count illegal votes,” Raffensperger said. “My record will stay on its own. We did a great job.
Governor’s signature required to finalize Biden’s victory
While Raffensperger is expected to certify the results on Friday morning, there is one more step in the process: Republican Gov. Brian Kemp has until 5 p.m. ET on Saturday to sign the documents that officially grant the 16 Georgian voters to Biden, according to state law.
TBEN asked Kemp’s office if they plan to do so without incident.
State law says the governor will “certify the lists of presidential voters receiving the highest number of votes,” and it is unclear what options Kemp would have to avoid signing the documents.
Kemp was relatively silent during the audit process, but issued a statement ahead of the audit urging Raffensperger to “seriously examine any allegations of improper voting that have been made.”
Trump mentioned Kemp in at least six tweets since polling day, encouraging him to “get tough” and rock the Republican “state.” He also encouraged Kemp to “take charge” after it became clear that the audit did not reveal widespread irregularities.
In other tweets, the president adopted a more hostile tone, accusing Kemp of a legal deal the state made earlier this year with Democratic groups over postal votes. Raffensperger’s office said Trump had misinterpreted the agreement, known as the Consent Order, that he falsely claimed weakened verification rules for postal votes.
© 2020 TBEN Broadcasting Inc. All rights reserved. TBEN contributed to the story.