A hand recount of ballots in Georgia has confirmed that Joe Biden is the winner of the state in this year’s presidential race, defeating President Donald Trump.
While Trump was able to close the gap in votes between him and Biden through the recount, the former vice president (and now president-elect) still leads the current commander-in-chief by a margin of more than 12,000 votes. Georgia’s Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, a Republican, announced his intention during a press conference Thursday to certify the election results.
“Working as an engineer throughout my life, I live by the motto that numbers don’t lie. As secretary of state, I believe that the numbers that we have presented today are correct,” Raffensperger said. “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.”
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By law, Raffensperger must certify the results by 5 p.m. on Friday. By the same time on Saturday, Gov. Brian Kemp (R-Georgia) must certify the list of presidential electors, who will participate in the Electoral College vote.
Trump wrongly alleged after the election that the process was rife with fraud and that Raffensperger was sabotaging efforts to obtain an accurate count.
“Georgia Secretary of State, a so-called Republican (RINO), won’t let the people checking the ballots see the signatures for fraud,” Trump wrote in a tweet earlier this month.
In fact, no evidence exists to back Trump’s complaint, and a number of fact-checking websites have debunked the president’s claim.
As Georgia appears ready to certify its election results, Trump’s legal team and political allies elsewhere have continued to lose lawsuits challenging the vote across the country. State judges in Arizona and Pennsylvania rejected motions brought forward by Trump-aligned litigants on Thursday, and a federal judge in Georgia also rejected claims by a Republican elector that the election was fraudulent.
The Georgia judge, who was appointed by Trump himself, called the legal case before him “quite striking” for its attempt to disenfranchise millions of voters in the state.
“Just because the right to vote is fundamental does not mean that individual voters have the right to direct the manner in which votes will be cast, accepted or rejected,” Judge Steven Grimberg said of the litigant’s attempt to challenge rules that were agreed upon in the state by both major political parties in March.
Despite the spate of court losses, Trump and his legal team, including the president’s personal lawyer former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, continue to allege widespread fraud took place, without much evidence to back up their claims.
Trump tweeted on Thursday that ballots in Georgia couldn’t be trusted because of the fact that so many were accepted.
“Almost ZERO ballots rejected in Georgia this election. In years past, close to 4%,” he wrote. “Not possible.”
In fact, at least 2,000 absentee ballots were rejected because of invalid or missing signatures this year — the same rate of rejection that was seen in the 2018 midterm elections.
Giuliani repeated a version of this errant claim in a press briefing on Thursday. “There’s not a singular vote fraud in one state,” Trump’s lawyer said. “This pattern repeats itself in a number of states, almost exactly the same pattern.”
Giuliani said that this “suggests there was a plan from a centralized place to execute these various acts of voter fraud, specifically focused on big cities, and specifically focused on big cities controlled by Democrats.”
But the former federal prosecutor, much like other Trump lawyers, has had poorer successes in the actual courtroom arguing that fraud has changed the results of the election. A complaint he filed in Pennsylvania was filled with misspellings, typos and other errors.
Giuliani hasn’t fared too well during arguments before a judge, either, at times stating that there were substantial cases of fraud across the country but also arguing that the case he was making on behalf of Trump, in which he sought to completely toss out the election results in the state, wasn’t a fraud case at all.
Although a number of Trump-aligned Republicans refuse to recognize Biden as the victor, the former vice president is widely regarded as the president-elect, set to take office on January 20, 2021. The Democratic candidate for president won this year’s race against Trump by a margin of almost 6 million votes, attaining 51 percent of the popular vote, and winning the Electoral College by a count of 306 to Trump’s 232 votes.