It’s official: the state of Georgia has certified Joe Biden’s victory over Donald Trump.
Georgia became Biden’s first swing state to certify results on Friday, as Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger made it official that Biden beat Trump by just over 12,000 votes. By margin, this is the closest to any swing state – about 0.28 percentage point.
“As an engineer throughout my life, I live by the motto that numbers don’t lie” Raffensperger said at a press conference on Friday morning. “The numbers reflect the verdict of the people, not a decision of the Secretary of State’s office or the courts or either campaign.”
Normally, certification would be a formality. But President Trump has made an unprecedented effort to interfere with the workings of electoral democracy in the United States, trying to block certification of results in states Biden has won, making baseless allegations of fraud.
What comes next in Georgia
The next step in the process is to come from Governor Brian Kemp (right), who is to certify the nomination of Biden voters – the actual people who will vote in the constituency for the state in December.
Kemp must certify voters at 5 p.m. (Eastern time on Saturdays). He has said little about Trump’s attempt to overturn election results so far, but a spokesperson told The Associated Press this week that Kemp would “make a decision in his mind if he saw” evidence of widespread fraud. Raffensperger has repeatedly said that there is no such evidence.
“We hope Governor Kemp will see the light before it’s too late. Must finally take matters in hand! Trump tweeted this week.
Moreover, even though the result has been certified, Trump has until Tuesday to request another recount in Georgia. Raffensperger has already ordered, and the state has performed, a manual audit of all results in the state – but Trump can request a machine recount, which the state would pay for. However, no recount has ever erased a lead of nearly 12,000 votes, and even Trump downplayed the odds that a recount would put it forward.
Finally, Trump’s team also argued that the Republican legislatures of the states Biden won should step in and nominate Trump’s voters, defying the will of the voters. Such a move would be legally questionable at best.
But Georgia is the rare near transitional state where Republicans control both the governor and the state legislature, which means a partisan plot here would at least be theoretically conceivable. However, the leaders of the state legislature gave no indication that they would try this again. For now, Georgia’s 16 electoral votes appear to be on track to go to Biden.