Georgia’s top elections official certified Joe Biden’s historic victory in the traditionally deep-red state on Friday, dealing a major blow to President Trump’s desperate attempt to overturn the results of the 2020 election.
Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, a Republican, said he made Biden’s win official after a hand recount of the vote affirmed this week that the Democrat’s razor-thin lead over Trump was “true and correct.”
“I live by the motto that numbers don’t lie,” said Raffensperger, who has become a political punching bag for Trump-loyal Republicans who are defending the president’s unprecedented refusal to concede the election. “The numbers reflect the verdict of the people, not a decision by the secretary of state’s office or of courts or of either campaign.”
The hand count, which took place over the course of this week, confirmed Biden won the state by more than 12,000 votes out of about 5 million cast, according to data from Raffensperger’s office. Biden is the first Democratic presidential candidate to win Georgia since Bill Clinton in 1992.
With Raffensperger’s certification in the books, the results now head to Republican Gov. Brian Kemp, who has until 5 p.m. Saturday to name the electors who will represent the state when the Electoral College meets on Dec. 14.
Trump’s campaign has the opportunity to request another recount in Georgia due to the tight margin. That request must be filed within two business days of certification.
Trump, who maintains without evidence that Democrats rigged the Nov. 3 election against him, has sought to put public pressure on Kemp and Raffensperger to refrain from certifying the results. It’s unlikely that Kemp will attempt to override Raffensperger’s decree, though the governor has stayed conspicuously tight-lipped on the matter.
In a parallel effort that critics say borders on treasonous, Trump is asking Republican legislators from Michigan and other Biden-won battleground states to subvert the will of the voters and certify him as the winner ahead of the Electoral College meeting. Trump’s campaign, meanwhile, is engaging in a string of baseless court battles to invalidate millions of votes cast for Biden.
Raffensperger described himself as a “proud Trump supporter,” but said certifying Biden’s victory is a decision that should transcend politics.
“Like other Republicans, I’m disappointed our candidate didn’t win,” Raffensperger told reporters at the state capitol in Atlanta. “(But) as secretary of state, I believe that the number we present today are correct.”
The win awards Biden 16 Electoral College votes.
That puts Biden’s total Electoral College count at 306 while Trump trails far behind with 232. When Trump beat Hillary Clinton by a similar margin in the 2016 election, he called his victory a “landslide.”
Biden ultimately didn’t need Georgia to win the presidency, as only 270 Electoral College votes are required to clinch the election, but the Peach State prize expands his margin and makes Trump’s various legal and technical efforts to overturn the election all but implausible.