Georgia Declares Biden Winner as Election Results Are Certified, Triggering Potential Recount Request From Trump Campaign

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger on Friday certified President-elect Joe Biden's victory in the presidential election, after a laborious hand recount reaffirmed the Democrat's win over President Donald Trump.

"In certifying the results, the Secretary of State affirmed that all 159 counties have provided to the state the total values tabulated for each state and federal candidate," Raffensperger's office said in a statement.

"Further, the Secretary of State affirms that the statewide consolidated returns for state and federal offices are a true and correct tabulation of the certified returns received by this office from each county," the statement added.

According to data released by Raffensperger's office on Thursday, the recount confirmed that Biden won by more than 12,000 votes out of the 5 million cast in Georgia.

Ahead of formalizing the tallies, Raffensperger said, "Working as an engineer throughout my life, I live by the motto that numbers don't lie."

The Democrats were able to flip the Peach State by razor-thin margin of 0.2 percentage points. The last time Georgia voted for a Democratic presidential candidate was nearly three decades ago, in 1992, when the state elected Bill Clinton.

"As secretary of state, I believe that the numbers that we have presented today are correct," Raffensperger said during a Friday news conference. "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."

Now that Raffensperger has certified the state's election results, Governor Brian Kemp has until 5 p.m. Saturday to certify the state's 16 electors.

Kemp has refrained from commenting on the election results during the statewide audit but has previously urged the secretary of state to "take a serious look at any and all voting irregularity allegations that have been made." Trump has increasingly pressured the governor to "get tough" and "take charge."

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Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger holds a press conference on the status of ballot counting on November 6 in Atlanta. Raffensperger certified the state's election results on Friday, formalizing President-elect Joe Biden's victory in Georgia. Jessica McGowan/Stringer

The certification of Georgia's 16 electoral votes deals a major blow to the president's efforts to reverse the election's outcome.

Once Raffensperger signs the paperwork, Trump will be left with few options to challenge the state's results. His campaign will have two business days to request a recount, since Biden's margin of victory is still within 0.5 percentage points.

The hand tally was conducted not in response to an official recount request but as an audit required by a new state law to confirm that the voting machines correctly tabulated the ballots.

Raffensperger has come under harsh criticism from many of his fellow Republicans for his handling of the election, but he has repeatedly defended the integrity of the process.

"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," the secretary of state said Friday.

Earlier this week, Raffensperger told The Washington Post that Senator Lindsey Graham had asked him if he had the power to throw out all mail-in ballots in counties where there were relatively high rates of nonmatching signatures. In a Monday interview, Graham denied asking this, calling it "ridiculous."

Georgia's GOP senators, Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue, have called on Raffensperger to resign over "mismanagement and lack of transparency" of the elections.

"Let me start by saying that is not going to happen," Raffensperger said in a statement he released Monday in response. "The voters of Georgia hired me, and the voters will be the one to fire me."

Raffensperger told the two senators to instead focus on campaigning for their runoff elections in January.

The president has also attacked Raffensperger, tweeting, "Georgia Secretary of State, a so-called Republican (RINO), won't let the people checking the ballots see the signatures for fraud. Why? Without this the whole process is very unfair and close to meaningless. Everyone knows that we won the state."

The secretary of state has criticized GOP efforts to delegitimize the results of the presidential election.

"I don't think it's helpful when you create doubt in the election process," Raffensperger said Friday. "People might throw up their arms and say, 'Why vote?'"

Newsweek reached out to the Trump campaign for comment on whether it will request a formal recount but did not hear back before publication.