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Georgia Secretary of State’s Office says 2020 election results will be certified today

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Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger has issued a correction and saying it will certify the results of the 2020 General Election later Friday.

Earlier, his office announced that they had already certified the results.

“Working as an engineer throughout my life, I live by the motto that numbers don’t lie,” Raffensperger said during a news conference at the state Capitol. “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 of either campaign.”

The largest hand count of ballots in American history reaffirmed that Joe Biden won the state of Georgia. That’s according to the risk-limiting audit report finished by the secretary of state’s office Thursday. Raffensperger also said Friday he plans to propose election-law changes aimed at increasing trust in the results, by allowing state officials to intervene in counties that have systemic problems in administering elections, requiring photo ID for absentee voting and enabling more challenges to voters who might not live where they say.

Biden led President Donald Trump by 14,156 votes heading into the audit and finished with a lead of 12,284.

“Just the differences that you’d have between a hand count versus the machine count. It’s so close. It’s not a thimble full of difference,” Raffensperger told Channel 2 Action News on Thursday.

The audit found just under a 0.1% difference in the statewide total vote count. More than 5,000 ballots were discovered in Floyd and Fayette counties and added to the total.

The audit also found a 0.0099% change in the margin between the two candidates. On Thursday, a federal judge denied an attempt by a Trump supporter to stop the state’s certification of the results.

“We will track down every single piece of credit, credible evidence that we see we just haven’t seen it yet,” Raffensperger said.

In Paulding County, they finished re-tallying all the votes on Wednesday. The supervisor of elections told Channel 2′s Matt Johnson they found 28 fewer votes compared to their original total, not enough to change the outcome.

“We do believe that because of just you know, human error, we touched over 85,000 pieces of paper and things can happen like that,” Deidre Holden said.

Holden called the Georgia audit a success and hope it restores faith in the system for people who criticized it.

“That’s the most important job that we can have is to make sure that our voters have the confidence and I said that they need to be able to come and cast their vote,” she said.

But University of Georgia political science professor Charles Bullock said Trump’s criticisms of the Georgia audit may continue past certification.

“It’s the fact that this is one of the narrowest elections within the nation, and the unwillingness of the president to acknowledge defeat, and so he’s looking to make any kind of argument that he possibly can,” Bullock told Johnson.

Trump can still request a recount of his own once Georgia’s results are certified on Friday.

Peach County Election Supervisor Adrienne Ray told Johnson that she’s already preparing for a recount.

“I think if we had to do it again, I think, you know, now that we have done it, it will be hopefully easier,” Ray said.

Election officials across the state are also preparing for two Senate runoff races in January. They said they plan to prepare just like they did on Election Day.

“We put in a lot of long hours to make sure we were organized and ready for this election from the very beginning,” Ray said.

Gov. Brian Kemp has until Saturday at 5 p.m. to certify the state’s 16 electors. Those are the ones who will officially cast the state’s vote for Biden when the electoral college meets in December.

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