Georgia will certify Biden as state's 2020 winner

Georgia announced Friday that it will certify the results of the 2020 general election, following a hand recount of nearly 5 million votes that saw the majority of the state’s counties finding no change in their final tallies.

The Trump campaign has until Tuesday to request a machine recount. The state’s secretary of state, Brad Raffensperger, a Republican, reiterated the validity of the results on Friday.

“Close elections sow distrust, people feel their side was cheated, we saw this from the Democrats in 2018 and we see this from Republicans today,” he said to reporters. “As secretary of state, I believe that the numbers that we have presented today are correct. The numbers reflect the verdict of the people, not a decision by the secretary of state’s office or of courts or either campaign.”

Raffensberg also advocated for election reforms that would allow the state to intervene in county election administration and add a voter ID requirement for absentee ballots.

The hand count of nearly 5 million votes, required by a new state law, was completed on Thursday. Biden went into the recount ahead by 13,558 votes, according to votes tallied by NBC News. Previously uncounted ballots discovered during the hand count reduced his lead to 12,284 votes, the Georgia secretary of state’s office reported.

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 percent. That recount would be done using scanners that read and tally the votes, and it would be paid for by the counties, said Gabriel Sterling, who oversees Georgia’s voting systems.

“The recount process simply reaffirmed what we already knew: Georgia voters selected Joe Biden to be their next president,” Jaclyn Rothenberg, Georgia communications director for the Biden campaign, said on Thursday. “We are grateful to the election officials, volunteers and workers for working overtime and under unprecedented circumstances to complete this recount as the utmost form of public service.”

Trump’s campaign said in a statement that the recount went as it expected because it “recounted all of the illegal ballots that had been included in the total.”