Georgia recount complete, affirms Biden win

Georgia recount complete, affirms Biden win

Friday, November 20, 2020

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WASHINGTON, DC, United States (AFP/AP) — The US state of Georgia has completed a manual recount of all the ballots cast there in the presidential election, and the results confirm Joe Biden's win in the state, a local official announced yesterday.

“The audit confirmed that the original machine count accurately portrayed the winner of the election,” a statement posted on the website of Georgia secretary of state Brad Raffensperger said.

The confirmation makes Biden the first Democratic presidential candidate to win the southern US state in almost three decades, despite his rival Donald Trump's claims of fraud.

The victory gives Biden Georgia's 16 electoral votes, an extraordinary victory for Democrats who pushed to expand their electoral map through the Sun Belt.

The win by Biden pads his Electoral College margin of victory over Trump. Biden was declared the winner of the presidential election on November 7 after flipping Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin to the Democrats' column.

Biden now has 306 electoral votes to Trump's 232.

Trump won Georgia by 5 percentage points in 2016 over Democrat Hillary Clinton.

In 2020, Democrats had focused heavily on the state, seeing it in play two years after Democrat Stacey Abrams narrowly lost the governor's race. Both of Georgia's Senate seats were on the ballot this year, further boosting the state's political profile as well as spending by outside groups seeking to influence voters. Those two races are headed to a January runoff.

Georgia hadn't voted for a Democratic presidential candidate since Bill Clinton in 1992.

The hand tally of about five million votes stemmed from an audit required by a new state law and wasn't in response to any suspected problems with the state's results or an official recount request. The state has until today to certify results that have been certified and submitted by the counties.

The counties were supposed to finish the hand count by 11:59 pm Wednesday. Gabriel Sterling, who oversaw the implementation of the state's new voting system, said yesterday evening that the audit was complete.

No individual county showed a variation in margin larger than 0.73 per cent, and the variation in margin in 103 of the state's 159 counties was less than 0.05 per cent, Sterling said.

“Every single vote was touched by a human audit team and counted,” he said. “Obviously, the audit confirms the original result of the election, namely that Joe Biden won the presidential contest in the state of Georgia.”

The results that will be certified are the totals certified by the counties, not those resulting from the audit.

Once the state certifies the election results, the losing campaign has two business days to request a recount since the margin remains within 0.5 per cent. That recount would be done using scanners that read and tally the votes and would be paid for by the counties, the secretary of state's office has said.


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