Georgia’s governor certifies presidential electors for Biden

November 21, 2020 7:57 am

ATLANTA : Gov. Brian Kemp of Georgia on Friday certified 16 presidential electors for Joseph R. Biden Jr., after his office accepted the certification of the results showing that the former vice president won the state by 12,670 votes.

The formality most likely seals Mr. Biden’s victory in the Southern state, although President Trump may still demand a machine recount.

It was an early milestone in the state-by-state process of making Mr. Biden’s victory final, a process that is set to unfold in the coming days as Mr. Trump continues to deny his defeat and cry fraud and his campaign and its surrogates inundate the courts with largely baseless lawsuits that have so far been unsuccessful.

The governor’s move came after Georgia’s secretary of state, Brad Raffensperger, announced Friday afternoon that his office had certified the election results.

State law mandates that the governor then take the step of certifying the selection of the state’s 16 electors.

“I live by the motto that numbers don’t lie,” Mr. Raffensperger, Georgia’s top election official and a Republican, said at a Friday morning news conference.

But Mr. Kemp, a Republican who was elected to office in 2018 with the backing of Mr. Trump, did not declare Mr. Biden the winner of the election in his brief speech. Rather, he focused on the fact that a hand-recount of the state’s five million ballots, which had been completed earlier in the week, found several hundred ballots had been erroneously left out of the first count — discoveries that slightly reduced Mr. Biden’s margin of victory.

“This is simply unacceptable,” Mr. Kemp said.

Indeed, much of Mr. Kemp’s speech was given over to concerns about the integrity of the election in Georgia, which Mr. Trump has repeatedly claimed was rife with fraud, without presenting evidence. Mr. Raffensperger has maintained that the results of the election were valid.

Mr. Kemp noted that Georgia was facing competitive runoff elections for its two Senate seats, which are currently held by Republicans Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue. He said that Georgia needed to solve the problems with uncounted ballots that the hand-recount identified.

“We demand complete explanations for all discrepancies identified so that our citizens will have complete confidence in our elections,” he said.

Mr. Kemp also seemed to address Mr. Trump’s unfounded concern that it was “impossible” for Georgia officials “to check & match” voters’ signatures on absentee ballots.

Mr. Kemp called upon Mr. Raffensperger to conduct a sample audit to determine potential problems with the state’s protocol that establishes the validity of voters’ signatures on absentee ballot envelopes.

Because Mr. Trump lost the Georgia race by less than half a percentage point, he has the legal right to demand, within two days, a second recount, this one performed by optical-scanning machines.

The news that Georgia’s results had been certified came on Friday several hours after Georgia officials mistakenly made a premature announcement that the certification was complete.

“We had a staffer who sent out the wrong press release,” said Jordan Fuchs, Georgia’s deputy secretary of state.

The New York Times

          November 21, 2020 7:57 am | English

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