Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said Wednesday that a third counting of presidential election ballots is trending toward again confirming President-elect Joe Biden’s victory over President Donald Trump.
Raffensperger said he plans to certify the presidential election results Friday after county elections staff spent the last week counting more than 5 million ballots cast in the election.
Raffensperger’s office reported Wednesday afternoon that none of the 130 counties that completed their recount showed any substantial changes. Election workers in the state’s other 27 counties continued working throughout the evening with an aim to finish counting by the midnight Wednesday deadline.
Trump would need to overcome a 12,760 vote deficit in the recount in order to win the state’s 16 electoral votes, an unlikely proposition, Raffensperger said.
“It looks like Vice President Biden will be carrying Georgia and he is our president-elect,” he said during a press conference Wednesday at the state Capitol.
This recount is the third time votes were tabulated for the presidential election, including Election Day tallying and a subsequent hand count that served as an audit.
Trump and many of his supporters have lodged unfounded accusations of voting fraud in Georgia.
On Wednesday, Raffensperger pointed out that Attorney General William Barr said this week that the U.S. Justice Department did not find any widespread voting fraud in the presidential election.
“President Trump’s Justice Department has seen no widespread fraud and we’ve had multiple investigations and our investigators have seen no widespread fraud,” Raffenspeger said. “Even after this office requested President Trump try to quell some of the violent rhetoric being borne out of these continuing claims of winning the states that he obviously lost, he tweeted out ‘expose the massive voter fraud in Georgia.’”
By the time the final absentee ballots were counted in the days following Nov. 3, Biden led Trump by about 14,000 votes.
The audit did uncover about 6,000 missing votes, mostly stored on memory cards that had not been properly uploaded during the election, but the additional votes Trump did gain still left him significantly behind.
Raffensperger celebrated the results of the audit, which showed a statistically insignificant difference from the electronically tabulated results, as proof of Georgia’s secure election.
He initially certified election results on Nov. 20, and a day later Trump requested this latest recount since the margin remained within half a percent.
This time election workers used high speed scanners to process every ballot again.
There have been some setbacks during the machine recount. In Fulton County, election workers rescanned thousands of ballots after a technician caused a server to crash over the weekend.
But if the expected recount outcome is unchanged, Biden will be the first Democratic presidential nominee to win Georgia since Bill Clinton defeated George H.W. Bush in 1992.
Georgia will remain in the national spotlight over the next month with multiple lawsuits contesting the election still in court and with the Jan. 5 U.S. Senate runoffs pitting Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler against Democrat Rev. Raphael Warnock and GOP Sen. David Perdue against Democratic investigative journalist Jon Ossoff.
Trump held a rally in Macon ahead of the election and is scheduled to make a return trip to Georgia Saturday when he’ll visit Valdosta for a rally to support Loeffler and Perdue, who have called on Raffensperger to resign over unspecified election failures.