Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger certified Friday afternoon the presidential election results confirming President-elect Joe Biden’s win over President Donald Trump.
The official results have Biden edging out Trump by 12,670 votes, with the former vice president’s 2.47 million votes to Trump’s 2.46 million. The certification comes after Raffensperger ordered a full hand count of the 5 million ballots cast in the election with the audit showing no significant difference from the original electronic tally.
Republican Gov. Brian Kemp, who is supposed to sign off on the results by Saturday evening, is planning to provide an election update at 5 p.m. Friday, his office announced.
Raffenspeger said regardless of which party is complaining about the outcome and the election system’s integrity, the hand count verifies that the state’s new electronic voting system is working correctly. The state’s top election official has been under fire by Trump and other fellow Republicans over the integrity of an election. Biden is the first Democratic presidential candidate to win Georgia since Bill Clinton in 1992.
“The numbers reflect the verdict of the people, not a decision by the secretary of state’s office or of courts, or by other campaigns,” Raffensperger said at a Friday morning press conference at the state Capitol. “I want to do everything I can to build voters’ trust in our electoral system.”
Trump has until Tuesday to request a recount because of the thin margin. This time the recount would entail scanning paper ballots to see if they line up with the certified results.
Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani said Thursday that the Trump campaign planned to file a “major lawsuit” contesting the election results in Georgia on Friday.
The audit uncovered about 5,900 missing votes in Fayette, Floyd, Walton and Douglas counties, which netted Trump 1,400 votes and provided his supporters more fodder to cast doubt on Biden’s win. The Trump campaign also criticized the recount for not being able to re-check the signatures of absentee voters since the signed envelopes containing the ballots have been thrown away.
Raffensperger announced Friday that he plans to advocate for election legislation next session that would require photo ID verification for Georgians voting absentee.
Raffensperger also wants more control leading up to the election to remove voters from the roll if they are suspected of no longer being eligible for having moved out of Georgia or for other reasons. He also wants to give his office the ability to intervene in local counties if there are major election problems.
“The audit revealed that in some counties, not all the votes, have been counted,” Raffensperger said. “That doesn’t mean those counties had systemic problems, but it does raise a concern. We must implement a reconciliation process that prevents such errors from happening in the future.”
This article appears in partnership with Georgia Recorder