Georgia has finished its statewide risk-limiting audit of the razor-thin presidential race, involving a hand recount that the Secretary of State’s Office said “upheld and reaffirmed the original outcome produced by the machine tally of votes cast,” with the Trump campaign disputing the result.
“The audit confirmed the original result of the election, namely that Joe Biden won the Presidential Contest in the State of Georgia,” the risk-limiting audit report states (doc). It shows Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden with 2,475,141 votes and President Donald Trump with 2,462,857, a margin of 12,284 votes, eroding Biden’s pre-audit lead by 496 votes.
“Georgia’s historic first statewide audit reaffirmed that the state’s new secure paper ballot voting system accurately counted and reported results,” Georgia’s Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said in a statement.
The Trump campaign dismissed the report, arguing that the hand recount did not include a signature matching process and so “simply recounted all of its illegal ballots.”
“We continue to demand that Georgia conduct an honest recount, which includes signature matching. We intend to pursue all legal options to ensure that only legal ballots are counted,” said Jenna Ellis, senior legal advisor to the Trump campaign, in a statement.
“Headlines are already falsely reporting that Joe Biden is declared the winner in Georgia. Sorry, media, that’s not how it works,” Ellis added, and urged the state not to certify the results.
Biden’s campaign hailed the audit results, with Jaclyn Rothenberg, Georgia communications director for the campaign, saying “the recount process simply reaffirmed what we already knew: Georgia voters selected Joe Biden to be their next president.”
“We are grateful to the election officials, volunteers and workers for working overtime and under unprecedented circumstances to complete this recount as the utmost form of public service,” she added.
The audit process also led to counties catching mistakes made in original counts, which Raffensperger’s office said occurred due to counties not uploading all memory cards.
“Those counties uploaded the memory cards and re-certified their results, leading to increased accuracy in the results the state will certify,” Raffensperger’s office said.
A county-level report (pdf) showed that a total of 5,262 uncounted ballots were discovered in the course of the audit, with 2,464 in Floyd County, 1,642 in Gwinnett County, 732 in Dekalb County, 634 in Fulton County, 120 in Hall County, and 117 in Fayette County, along with a handful of others at less than 100 ballots. The additional ballots in Floyd County favored Biden by 92, those in Gwinnett favored Trump by 285, those in Dekalb favored Biden by 560, and Fulton County favored Trump by 345.
Since the margin between the candidates remains less than 0.5 percentage points, the Trump campaign can request a recount after the results are certified, Raffensperger’s office said, noting that the recount would be conducted by rescanning all paper ballots.
Meanwhile, the Floyd County Board of Elections voted on Thursday to terminate its executive director after officials found over 2,400 uncounted ballots in the county during the third day of a statewide audit.
Floyd Chief of Elections Clerk Robert Brady was fired following a special meeting of the board on Thursday, Fox5 Atlanta reports, with the outlet citing officials as saying that Brady receiving multiple reprimands in the past six months weighed on the dismissal.
“It really is a matter of human error not of some big fraud or conspiracy and people make mistakes, but unfortunately I think this one falls at the feet of our elections director who I’ve been critical of this entire elections cycle,” said Rome City Commissioner, Wendy Davis, in remarks to Fox5 Atlanta.
Raffensperger earlier called for Brady’s resignation after officials found the uncounted ballots on Nov. 15.