Democratic President-elect Joe Biden cleared a significant hurdle as Georgia confirmed the state’s vote in the Nov. 3 election, but the political drama in the state is far from over.
The hand audit of ballots was finished on Thursday, according to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, whose office has Biden winning by 12,284 votes. More than 5 million votes were cast in the state. The margin was cut from a Biden lead of about 14,000.
Uncounted ballots in four counties helped Trump’s numbers but not nearly enough. Raffensperger has until the end of Friday to certify the results. Gov. Brian Kemp would then sign off on a slate of electors.
If further challenges are unsuccessful, Biden would be the first Democrat to carry Georgia since Bill Clinton in 1992.
While this is a setback to Trump’s election results challenges, Georgia state law—given the narrow final margin—allows for a recount as soon as Georgia certifies the votes. That recount, if Trump’s team decides to move forward, would need to be requested by Nov. 24.
The Trump campaign on Thursday said, “This so-called hand recount went exactly as we expected because Georgia simply recounted all of the illegal ballots that had been included in the total.”
The contentious election and the fallout produced antagonism among the GOP in Georgia.
U.S. Sens. Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue are both preparing for a Jan. 5 runoff election that could determine control of the Senate. They are seeking the resignation of Raffensperger, also a Republican, citing claims of voter fraud.
Raffensperger has repeatedly defended the integrity of the vote. Earlier this week, he cited a “campaign of misinformation, disinformation and outright lies about the process in Georgia.”