ATLANTA, Georgia – Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger certified the election results on Friday afternoon officially, following completion of the statewide vote audit. Raffensperger held a brief press conference in which he validated the results of the recount and indicated that election integrity could be improved upon.
“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,” he said.
Raffensperger also stated that he intended to work with Governor Brian Kemp and the legislature to improve election procedures. He acknowledged the surge of mail-in ballots overwhelmed the state’s current security measures, and he supported future laws implementing photo ID for absentee voting.
According to the risk-limiting audit report, the recount only discovered about a .11 percent variation in the differences between total vote counts and a .0099 percent variation in the overall margin. Currently, Biden’s lead is 12,284. Prior to the recount, Biden led Trump by 14,101 votes – over a 1,800 vote difference.
The audit incited criticism initially due to the impossibility of signature matching for absentee ballots and the limited number of monitors allowed to oversee the recount. Skepticism grew after two discoveries totaling over 5,000 previously uncounted votes. Both discoveries were dismissed as human error. A majority of those lost votes were for Trump.
A bipartisan cohort of legislators and activists have called the audit a “fake.” They have demanded that Raffensperger implement a thorough review of the absentee ballots beyond counting and increase oversight to one monitor per table.
Another incident occurred according to eyewitness testimony of multiple ballot-counting machines used though they were reported as missing security seals. Those seals are meant to show a machine hasn’t been tampered with, and are both sturdy and difficult to remove. Officials also claim that the seals are tamper-evident, but past researchers have proved that to be false using simple tools such as a modified soda can.
Republican Party of Georgia Chair David Schafer reported that Fulton County election officials continued to count ballots in secret after telling the media and Republican observers that they were shutting down their tabulation center for the night.
In a press conference following Raffensperger’s official certification of the votes, Kemp stated that he shared concerns with other legislators and constituents about the integrity of the election. However, Kemp explained that he was required to adhere to state law.
“Following Judge Ginsburg’s ruling yesterday, 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 in a separate recount if they choose,” the governor said. “Georgia has runoff elections for two U.S. Senate seats, and a public service commissioner scheduled to occur over the next several weeks. We demand complete explanations for all discrepancies identified 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.”
Kemp added that Raffensperger should consider a sampling audit comparing ballot signatures to registration signatures, and that legislators should consider applying the same photo ID standards to mail-in ballots.
The governor’s certification of the results marked the first time since Election Day that he has spoken out on the integrity of the election.
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Corinne Murdock is a reporter at The Georgia Star News and the Star News Network. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Brad Raffensperger” by Brad Raffensperger. Background Photo “Georgia Capitol” by Autiger. CC BY-SA 2.0.