Georgia governor calls for audit after state certifies election results

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Georgia’s Republican Governor Brian Kemp certified the state’s election results Friday, saying that now that the results are certified, the Trump campaign can pursue other legal options to call for a recount. Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, also a Republican, told reporters Friday morning that President-elect Biden had definitively won the state, after the state’s hand recount was completed Thursday.

But Kemp didn’t endorse the results, instead calling for another full hand recount. Kemp, who served as Georgia secretary of state before Raffensperger, has not publicly defended the state’s election process from accusations from the president and his campaign. He alleged Friday that the audit revealed significant errors made in several counties, including Floyd, Douglas and Walton. 

Kemp said the audit only looked at ballots, not the signatures on the absentee applications or the signatures on the ballot envelopes. He called for Raffensperger to “consider addressing these concerns” and conduct a “sample of audit of signatures on absentee ballot envelopes and compare those to the signatures on applications and on file that the secretary of state’s office.”

The Georgia Secretary of State’s office has said repeatedly that at this point in the process it is not possible to match signatures — which already took place as a part of a two-step signature verification process — because ballots are separated from envelopes to ensure the secrecy of voters’ selections.

Kemp’s press conference will come after a strange series of events Friday afternoon, starting with Raffensperger issuing a statement saying the results had been certified, then making a corrected statement within a half-hour that they would be certified later Friday. He certified the results around 4 p.m., an hour before Kemp was set to hold his press conference.  

Meanwhile, Mr. Trump on Friday in tweet accused Kemp and Raffensperger of refusing to “let us look at signatures which would expose hundreds of thousands of illegal ballots” which he alleged would give the “Republican Party and me, David Perdue, and perhaps Kelly Loeffler, a BIG VICTORY.”   

“Why won’t they do it, and why are they so fast to certify a meaningless tally?” Mr. Trump tweeted.   

Since the results of the hand recount were still within the 0.5% margin, the Trump campaign may request another recount within two business days. If the Trump campaign does ask for another recount, it will be a machine recount.

Georgia was one of five states Mr. Biden flipped from Mr. Trump‘s 2016 victory. The state has not voted to send a Democrat to the White House since former President Bill Clinton won it in 1992.  

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