Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger certified the results of the state’s presidential election on Friday, making President-elect Joe Biden’s victory there official after a days-long hand recount and ongoing efforts by President Trump to sow doubt in the election results.
“Numbers don’t lie. As secretary of state, I believe the numbers that we have presented today are correct,” Raffensperger said at a press conference earlier on Friday. “The numbers reflect the verdict of the people.”
The vote certification came less than a day after the results of the hand recount confirmed Biden’s lead in Georgia, giving the president-elect a 12,284-vote edge over Trump and making him the first Democratic presidential candidate to win the state since 1992.
Biden was declared the winner in Georgia and the overall presidential race earlier this month after amassing a clear Electoral College majority. But Trump has so far refused to concede the election and has continued to propagate the false claim that the results were tainted by widespread voter fraud and systemic irregularities.
Raffensperger, a Republican, has come under fire from members of his own party for defending the accuracy of the vote tally in Georgia. He alleged this week that Republicans had sought to pressure him to toss out legal ballots in an effort to swing the election in Trump’s favor.
Speaking at a news conference on Friday morning, Raffensperger called himself a “proud Trump supporter” and acknowledged his disappointment in the president’s defeat, but reiterated his confidence in the vote count and vowed to certify the results of the election.
The audit of the state’s vote turned up no evidence of fraud or foul play. It did, however, uncover several flaws in the voting system. Election workers in three counties found more than 3,300 votes stored on memory cards that had not been previously uploaded to state election computers.
Officials also discovered a trove of about 2,600 ballots in deep-red Floyd County that had previously gone unscanned. That discovery led to the county board of elections voting unanimously on Thursday to oust its chief elections clerk.
Raffensperger was required by law to certify the election results by 5 p.m. on Friday. With that step out of the way, the results now go to Gov. Brian Kemp (R) who has until 5 p.m. on Saturday to accept them.
With the results of the election certified, the Trump campaign will have until Tuesday to request a recount. Georgia law allows for a candidate to request a recount if the election is decided by 0.5 percentage points or less. Biden and Trump are currently separated by about a quarter of a percentage point.