It's official: the state of Georgia has confirmed Joe Biden's victory over Donald Trump.
Georgia became the first swing state Biden won to confirm its results on Friday when Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger officially made Biden defeat Trump by a little over 12,000 votes. It is by far the closest of all swing states – about 0.26 percentage points.
Georgia Republican Governor Brian Kemp announced Friday afternoon that he would formalize certification as required by law.
"I've worked as an engineer my whole life and live by the motto that numbers don't lie," Raffensperger said at a press conference on Friday morning. "The numbers reflect the judgment of the people, not a decision by the Secretary of State, the courts or either of the two election campaigns."
Usually, certification would be a formality. But President Trump has made unprecedented efforts to interfere with the mechanisms of electoral democracy in the United States, attempting to block the certification of results in the states Biden won and making unfounded fraud claims.
There was a bit of confusion earlier on Friday when the Georgian Foreign Minister announced at noon that the results had been certified, but a little over an hour later said that announcement was flawed and that certification had not yet taken place. But around 4 p.m. Eastern Friday, the office confirmed in a new version that it had been made official.
What's next in Georgia?
President Trump has attacked both Kemp and Raffensperger on Twitter, making false allegations of fraud and complaining about their compliance with certification deadlines set out in state law. “Hopefully Governor Kemp will see the light before it's too late. Must finally take responsibility! “Trump tweeted.
But Raffensperger resisted this pressure and confirmed Georgia's result on Friday. Kemp also announced that he would formalize this certification, officially designating Biden's electoral roll as the state representative for the electoral college.
Although the result has been confirmed, Trump has until Tuesday to request another Georgia recount. Raffensperger has already ordered a hand check of all results in the state and done the state – but Trump can request a machine count, which the state would pay for. No recount has ever erased anything near a 12,000 vote lead, and even Trump downplayed the chances that a recount would move him forward.
Finally, Trump's team has also argued that Republican lawmakers should step in and appoint Trump voters in the states that Biden won, which goes against the will of voters. Such a maneuver would be legally dubious at best.
But Georgia is the rare hand-to-hand combat state where the Republicans control both the governorate and the state parliament, which means that a party-political conspiracy here is at least theoretically conceivable. However, state lawmakers have not yet given any indication that they would attempt this. Currently, the 16 votes of Georgia appear on the right track to Biden.
This piece has been updated to reflect the latest information from the Georgian Foreign Minister.
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