Georgia Secretary of State’s Office certifying election results Friday

The statewide audit is now complete and Georgia is expected to certify its election results Friday.

The Secretary of State’s Office held a news conference Friday morning assuring that the votes counted were accurate.

“I believe the numbers we are presented with today are correct,” Secretary Brad Raffensperger said.

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The largest hand count of ballots in American history reaffirmed that Joe Biden won the state of Georgia. That’s according to the risk-limiting audit report finished by the secretary of state’s office Thursday.

“Georgia’s historic first statewide audit reaffirmed that the state’s new secure paper ballot voting system accurately counted and reported results,” Raffensperger said. “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.”

Biden led President Donald Trump by 14,156 votes heading into the audit and finished with a lead of 12,284.

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“Just the differences that you’d have between a hand count versus the machine count. It’s so close. It’s not a thimble full of difference,” Raffensperger told WSB.

The audit found just under a 0.1% difference in the statewide total vote count. More than 5,000 ballots were discovered in Floyd and Fayette counties and added to the total.

The audit also found a 0.0099% change in the margin between the two candidates. On Thursday, a federal judge denied an attempt by a Trump supporter to stop the state’s certification of the results.

State officials say they are on track to certify by Friday’s deadline and found no evidence of widespread fraud.

“We will track down every single piece of credit, credible evidence that we see we just haven’t seen it yet,” Raffensperger said.

In Paulding County, they finished re-tallying all the votes on Wednesday. The supervisor of elections told WSB′s Matt Johnson they found 28 fewer votes compared to their original total, not enough to change the outcome.

“We do believe that because of just you know, human error, we touched over 85,000 pieces of paper and things can happen like that,” Deidre Holden said.

Holden called the Georgia audit a success and hope it restores faith in the system for people who criticized it.

“That’s the most important job that we can have is to make sure that our voters have the confidence and I said that they need to be able to come and cast their vote,” she said.

But University of Georgia political science professor Charles Bullock said Trump’s criticisms of the Georgia audit may continue past certification.

“It’s the fact that this is one of the narrowest elections within the nation, and the unwillingness of the president to acknowledge defeat, and so he’s looking to make any kind of argument that he possibly can,” Bullock told Johnson.

Trump can still request a recount of his own once Georgia’s results are certified on Friday.

Peach County Election Supervisor Adrienne Ray told Johnson that she’s already preparing for a recount.

“I think if we had to do it again, I think, you know, now that we have done it, it will be hopefully easier,” Ray said.

Election officials across the state are also preparing for two Senate runoff races in January. They said they plan to prepare just like they did on Election Day.

“We put in a lot of long hours to make sure we were organized and ready for this election from the very beginning,” Ray said.

Gov. Brian Kemp has until Saturday at 5 p.m. to certify the state’s 16 electors. Those are the ones who will officially cast the state’s vote for Biden when the electoral college meets in December.

>>Read more here.

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