After largely staying on the sidelines within the GOP feud, Republican Gov. Brian Kemp mentioned on Friday that he would observe state legislation, which requires him to just accept the secretary of state’s licensed outcomes by 5 p.m. Saturday. On Friday, his workplace confirmed that he had formally licensed the outcomes.
“As secretary of state, I consider that the numbers that we have now introduced immediately are right,” Raffensperger mentioned in a press release Friday. “The numbers mirror the decision of the folks, not a call by the secretary of state’s workplace or of courts or of both marketing campaign.”
Among the many handful of states by which Trump is mounting a authorized problem, Georgia is the primary state to certify — or formalize — its election outcomes. However the controversy over the result within the state shouldn’t be but over.
Trump’s lawyer, Rudolph W. Giuliani, has mentioned the marketing campaign is getting ready to file a lawsuit in Georgia difficult its election administration. And the Trump marketing campaign has till Tuesday night to request one other recount of the outcomes, which might launch a course of to re-scan the presidential ballots which have already been hand-recounted and audited.
The certification of election outcomes is often an administrative measure finished with little fanfare as soon as election officers have verified the accuracy of the result — lengthy after the general public has moved on from the election.
However the course of has come underneath the nationwide highlight this yr in Georgia and different battleground states the place Trump is combating election outcomes as a result of it is likely one of the solely remaining avenues by way of which the finalization of election outcomes could possibly be delayed.
In a mirrored image of the heightened curiosity on this arcane course of, the secretary of state’s workplace Friday caught nationwide consideration when it prematurely despatched out a information launch touting the completion of the certification course of. Inside 40 minutes, the workplace issued a correction, clarifying that the certification course of was nonetheless underway.
However in the long run, the secretary of state issued its last bulletins by 4 p.m., an hour earlier than the deadline.
“In certifying the outcomes, the Secretary of State affirmed that each one 159 counties have offered to the state the entire votes tabulated for every state and federal candidate,” the ultimate announcement learn. “Additional, the Secretary of State affirms that the statewide consolidated returns for state and federal places of work are a real and proper tabulation of the licensed returns acquired by this workplace from every county.”
The announcement got here only one week after counties started the laborious and dear process of hand-recounting every of the 5 million votes solid for president in Georgia. Election officers from completely different states traveled to Georgia to assist, and workers in different county departments have been quickly reassigned to assist with the recount.
Raffensperger had ordered the hand recount as part of the statewide risk-limiting audit course of, as a result of Biden’s margin of victory was so skinny. He has since come underneath strain from fellow Republicans, together with Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (S.C.), who he mentioned questioned the validity of legally solid absentee ballots, in an effort to reverse President Trump’s slim loss within the state.
Election officers discovered discrepancies in a handful of counties that made a slight distinction within the last presidential margin, however not almost sufficient to reverse the result. Ultimately, there was no proof of widespread irregularity, state election officers mentioned: There was only a 0.0099 p.c variation within the total presidential margin.
Nonetheless, there have been sufficient troubling findings within the audit that Raffensperger on Friday made three suggestions for state legislators to enhance the state’s election administration.
Raffensperger requested state laws that enables the state to intervene in counties which have systemic issues with election administration, together with in counties that didn’t rely all of the votes that have been solid.
He referred to as for an overhaul of Georgia’s absentee poll legal guidelines, recommending further safety measures for mail voting in an effort to extend public belief in how the state verifies its mail-in ballots. He additionally really useful stricter state necessities that may permit officers to analyze suspected instances of voters who could also be on the state’s voter rolls however are not eligible to vote in Georgia.
On Friday, Kemp mentioned he believed “the overwhelming majority of native election staff did their job effectively underneath unprecedented circumstances.” However he mentioned the errors uncovered in 4 counties by way of the statewide audit course of have been “merely unacceptable,” together with an occasion the place about 2,600 ballots in a single county weren’t scanned within the authentic tally.
In a quick assertion Friday afternoon, Kemp mentioned he deliberate to observe the state’s requirement for him to certify the outcomes.
“State legislation now requires the governor’s workplace to formalize the certification, which paves the best way for the Trump marketing campaign to pursue different authorized choices and a separate authorized possibility in the event that they select,” he mentioned in a press release.
“As governor, I’ve a solemn duty to observe the legislation, and that’s what I’ll proceed to do.”
Amy Gardner contributed reporting.