19 November 2020 22:30
The results of a hand count of the Georgia election results are set to be announced with expectations they will confirm Democrat Joe Biden's narrow lead over Republican President Donald Trump. The hand tally of about five million votes stemmed from an audit required by a new state law and was not in response to any suspected problems with the state's results or an official recount request. Going into the recount, Mr Biden led Mr Trump by a margin of about 14,000 votes. The claims of fraud in Georgia have sparked infighting among Republicans, with Mr Raffensperger stating categorically that the election was fair and secure. ATLANTA — Georgia election officials expect to release a report Thursday on a hand tally of the presidential race, and they have repeatedly said they expect it to affirm Democrat Joe Biden's narrow lead over Republican President Donald Trump.
The hand tally of about 5 million votes stemmed from an audit required by a new state law and wasn't in response to any suspected problems with the state's results or an official recount request. Gabriel Sterling, who oversaw the implementation of the state's new voting system, said he expected the secretary of state's office to put out a report on the results by midday Thursday. Once the state certifies the election results, the losing campaign has two business days to request a recount if the margin remains within 0.5%. That recount would be done using scanners that read and tally the votes and would be paid for by the counties, Sterling said. It was up to Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to select the race to be audited, and he said the presidential race made the most sense because of its significance and the tight margin separating the candidates.
President Trump has claimed baselessly that the recount of some five million ballots in Georgia is rigged and the state would "flip" to him if authorities conduct a fairer process. Trump nevertheless dispatched his lawyer Rudy Giuliani to give a press conference Thursday where he read affidavits claiming fraudulent voter activity in multiple states and said the campaign would file a new lawsuit in Georgia. Giuliani, a former mayor of New York, also brazenly accused Democrats of being "crooks" who committed massive fraud in several battleground states "to steal an election from the American people." As Giuliani and other Trump lawyers outlined their claims, the president--apparently watching the televised proceedings--took to Twitter to applaud them for laying out "an open and shut case of voter fraud." Earlier in a tweet Trump said the Democrats "got caught" in Georgia, without explaining what he was referring to, and claimed far more votes were about to be added to his column than he needed to reverse the result there. Biden was declared the winner in Georgia last week after a tumultuous election that saw the veteran Democrat prevail overall by 306 electoral votes to 232, denying Trump a second term. In Michigan, controversy simmered after a Republican canvassing board official who had refused to certify the election result in a heavily Democratic county then reversed her vote, before saying Thursday that she had received a call from Trump.
Meanwhile Trump's campaign Thursday withdrew a federal lawsuit in Michigan that was aimed at blocking final certification of the state's election results. Biden won Michigan by 155,000 votes, more than ten times Trump's margin of victory there in 2016. Some discrepancies were found in Republican leaning counties, according to Gabriel Sterling, Georgia's voting system manager who helped monitor the so-called risk-level audit. Georgia's Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, who like Sterling is a Republican, said there was no widespread voter fraud and expressed virtual certainty that the recount did not change the outcome. By promoting the voter fraud claims, Trump and his allies could be feeding a narrative that the election is being stolen, which may prompt Georgia Republicans to vote in large numbers. © 2020 AFP The U.S. presidential election battleground state of Georgia is expected on Thursday to affirm Joe Biden's victory over Donald Trump after a painstaking recount, which would deal yet another setback to the president's attempts to cling to power. Georgia's top election official, a Republican, has said the manual recount of almost 5 million votes is unlikely to erode Biden's initial 14,000 winning margin by enough to hand Trump victory in the state. That would leave Republican Trump with a dwindling number of options to overturn the results of an election in which Democrat Biden won 5.8 million more votes nationwide. In the state-by-state Electoral College that determines the winner, Biden has captured 306 electoral votes to Trump's 232, well ahead of the 270 needed for victory. Flipping Georgia's 16 votes would still leave Trump at least two closely contested states away from overturning Biden's victory. Georgia officials say they expect to release results on Thursday ahead of a certification deadline on Friday. In Pennsylvania, where Biden won by 82,000 votes, the Trump campaign is asking a judge to declare him the winner there, saying its Republican-controlled legislature should choose the state's slate of 20 Electoral College voters. Trump's campaign has filed lawsuits in a number of other states, including Michigan, with scant success so far. His administration has so far refused to recognize Biden as the winner, which has held up funding and security clearances to ease the transition from one president to another ahead of the Jan. 20 inauguration. Trump's campaign has filed lawsuits in a number of states with scant success so far (File) The US presidential election battleground state of Georgia was expected on Thursday to affirm Joe Biden's victory over Donald Trump after a painstaking recount, as Trump's re-election campaign said it was withdrawing a lawsuit in Michigan. The official in charge of implementing Georgia's voting systems, Gabriel Sterling, told Fox News the state's audit and recount were nearly complete and on track to verify Biden's advantage. In the state-by-state Electoral College that determines the winner of the election, Biden, a Democrat, has captured 306 electoral votes to Republican Trump's 232, well ahead of the 270 needed for victory. Trump's campaign has filed lawsuits in a number of states with scant success so far. Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani said on Thursday the campaign was withdrawing its lawsuit challenging the vote results in Michigan, where this week Biden was certified as the winner in a tangled series of events. Trump has a dwindling number of options to overturn the results of an election in which Biden won 5.8 million more votes nationwide. In Pennsylvania, where Biden won by 82,000 votes, the Trump campaign is asking a judge to declare him the winner there, saying its Republican-controlled legislature should choose the state's 20 Electoral College voters. In Wisconsin, the Trump campaign has paid for or a partial recount, even though election officials there say that will likely only add to Biden's 20,000-vote advantage in a state that carries 10 electoral votes. Trump said on Twitter on Thursday that lawyers would discuss a "viable path to victory" at a news conference at noon ET (1700 GMT). Arizona's top election official, Democrat Katie Hobbs, said she and her family had been getting violent threats and urged Trump to stop casting doubt on the result, in which he lost by just over 10,000 votes.