United States President-elect, Joe Biden has officially been declared the winner of the November 3 presidential election in the state of Georgia, flipping the historically Republican-voting state for the Democratic Party for the first time in 28 years.
The confirmation on Thursday evening means that Biden had secured Georgia’s 16 Electoral College votes, stretching his lead to 306 Electoral College votes compared to US President Donald Trump’s 232.
Bien had been declared the winner of the keenly contested US presidential elections on November 7 after the former vice president won key states of Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin, but the state of Georgia had been too close to call.
Georgia Secretary of State, Brad Raffensperger’s office announced that a manual audit of the presidential contest results had confirmed Biden’s narrow lead over Trump.
A hand tally of about five million votes was carried out under an audit required by a Georgia state law, and not due to any problems with election procedures or an official recount request.
The state has until Friday to certify results that have been certified and submitted by the counties.
The result of Georgia hand count came after the Trump campaign filed a series of lawsuits in key states across the US, as the Republican president has alleged, without any evidence, that widespread voter fraud marred the election.
Trump has continued to refuse to concede the race, with his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani telling reportes on Thursday that the campaign has “enough evidence to overturn” Biden’s victory.
However, Giuliani once again failed to provide any concrete evidence to back up his assertions.
Raffensperger welcomed the results of the state’s manual count on Thursday evening, calling the process “historic.”
“Georgia’s historic first statewide audit reaffirmed that the state’s new secure paper ballot voting system accurately counted and reported results.
“This is a credit to the hard work of our county and local elections officials who moved quickly to undertake and complete such a momentous task in a short period of time,” he said I’m a statement.
Raffensperger’s office said that because Biden’s margin of victory is less than 0.5 percent, the Trump campaign can request a recount after the results are certified.
“That recount will be conducted by rescanning all paper ballots,” the statement added.
The Trump campaign did not comment on the audit results.
Ben Adida, Executive Director of VotingWorks, a bipartisan non-profit group that helps states conduct election audits, said the Georgia audit confirming Biden as the winner “should give voters increased confidence in the results.”
“The difference between the reported results and the full manual tally is well within the expected error rate of hand-counting ballots, and the audit was a success,” Adida said in the Georgia Secretary of State’s statement.
Votes that had not previously been counted were found in several counties during the Georgia audit, which required recertification of the election results in those counties.
The audit revealed a few significant hiccups, with four counties — Floyd, Fayette, Walton and Douglas, discovering votes that were not part of the original count. Trump carried Floyd, Fayette and Walton Counties while Biden won Douglas County.
On Thursday, Floyd County’s Board of Elections voted unanimously to fire its chief election clerk, Robert Brady, according to Dr. Melanie Conrad, a board member. Brady was fired after officials found 2,600 ballots that were left uncounted before the county’s initial certification of votes.
The newly discovered ballots ate into Biden’s statewide lead, which stood at 14,156 votes when the audit began. But most of the state’s 159 counties saw only minor changes in their tallies, with the updated vote totals differing by single digits.
The state must certify the election results by 5 p.m. on Friday. The Trump campaign then has two business days to request a formal recount because of Biden’s narrow margin of victory. That would be conducted with high-speed scanners.