Georgia’s top elections official said he will certify that Joe Biden won the state’s presidential election after a hand tally affirmed the Democrat’s lead over Republican President Donald Trump.
“Working as an engineer throughout my life, I live by the motto that numbers don’t lie,” Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said during a news conference at the state Capitol.
“As secretary of state, I believe that the numbers that we have presented today are correct. The numbers reflect the verdict of the people, not a decision by the secretary of state’s office or of courts or of either campaign.”
In the end, the hand count affirmed Biden won by more than 12,000 votes out of about 5 million cast, according to data released by Raffensperger’s office on Thursday.
State law says Raffensperger must certify the election results by 5 p.m. Friday. Then, Gov. Brian Kemp has until 5 p.m. Saturday to certify the state’s slate of 16 presidential electors.
Once Raffensperger certifies the results, Trump’s campaign will have two business days to request a recount since the margin is within 0.5 percent.
That recount would be done using scanning machines that read and tally the votes and would be paid for by the counties, the secretary of state’s office has said.
The hand count produced some slight differences from the previous machine tally, but no individual county showed a variation in margin larger than 0.73 percent, and the variation in margin in 103 of the state’s 159 counties was less than 0.05 percent, the secretary of state’s office said.
During the audit, several counties discovered previously uncounted ballots.
Raffensperger also said Friday that he plans to propose legislative changes aimed at increasing trust in the results, including allowing state officials to intervene in counties that have problems administering elections, requiring photo ID for absentee voting and adding stricter controls to allow for challenges to voters who might not live where they say.
“These measures will improve the security of our elections, and that should lead to greater public trust,” he said.
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