Tags: 2020 Elections | Election 2020 | Georgia

Ga. Gov Will Certify Election for Biden, but Demands Answers on Discrepancies

Ga. Gov Will Certify Election for Biden, but Demands Answers on Discrepancies
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Friday, 20 November 2020 05:36 PM

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp on Friday said he was certifying his state’s presidential election results for Democrat Joe Biden because he was legally bound to do so. But the Republican lawmaker, walking a fine line in discussing allegations of voter fraud, urged a thorough investigation into any voting irregularities and asked Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to check signatures on ballots ahead of a Jan. 5 runoff election for two key Senate races that'll determine if the GOP or Democrats control the Senate.

"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 and a separate recount if they choose,'' Kemp said Friday during a press conference from his office.  

''Georgia has runoff elections for two U.S. Senate seats. … We demand complete explanations for all discrepancies identified so that our citizens will have complete confidence in our elections. 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 box must be protected.''

The word came after the secretary of state certified the vote on the heels of a meticulous hand recount — an action that itself grew more complicated after that certification was itself issued prematurely.

The results certified by Raffensperger had Biden with 2.47 million votes, President Donald Trump with 2.46 million votes and Libertarian Jo Jorgensen with 62,318.

That leaves Biden leading by a margin of 12,670 votes or 0.25%.

The certification of results reported by the state’s 159 counties followed a meticulous hand count of the 5 million ballots cast in the race. The hand tally 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 audit was meant to confirm that the voting machines correctly tabulated the votes.

"As governor, I have a solemn responsibility to follow the law, and that is what I will do,'' Kemp said.

''It is important for Georgians to know that the vast majority of local election workers did their job well under unprecedented circumstances. … However, it is quite honestly hard to believe thousands of uncounted ballots were found weeks after a razor-thin outcome in a presidential election. This is simply unacceptable. … We demand complete explanations for all discrepancies identified."

Amid the recount, several thousand uncounted ballots were found in a handful of Georgia counties. They ultimately were not enough to flip the state to President Donald Trump, but did shave votes off Biden's ultimate margin of victory.

The Recount

Raffensperger during a news conference elier Friday backed up the results.

"Working as an engineer throughout my life, I live by the motto that numbers don’t lie,'' he said. ''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.''

Raffensperger’s office stumbled earlier in the day when it prematurely announced the certification while it was still unfinished. Forty minutes afterward, a corrected news release was sent out saying that the results would be released later. The momentary slip was yet another moment of drama in a race that has been fraught with accusations.

Biden is the first Democratic presidential nominee to carry the state since 1992.

Now that the results are certified, Trump’s campaign will have two business days to request a recount since the margin is within 0.5%. 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.

Further Changes

Raffensperger said he plans to propose legislative changes aimed at increasing trust in the results, including allowing state officials to intervene in counties that have systemic problems in 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.

Raffensperger, a self-described ''passionate conservative,'' has endured criticism and insults from fellow Republicans — from the president to the chair of the state Republican Party — over his handling of the election. He acknowledged their feelings on Friday.

''Like other Republicans, I’m disappointed our candidate didn’t win Georgia’s electoral vote. Close elections sow distrust. People feel their side was cheated,'' he said.

But Raffensperger, as he had repeatedly done before, defended the integrity of the process and the results.

The Associated Press and Newsmax's Jeffrey Rubin contributed to this report.

© Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


   
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Grorgia Gov. Brian Kemp on Friday said he was certifying his state's presidential election results for Democrat Joe Biden. But the Republican lawmaker, walking a fine line in discussing allegations of voter fraud, urged a thorough investigation into any voting...
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Friday, 20 November 2020 05:36 PM
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