Nov. 19 (UPI) — Georgia announced Thursday that its manual recount of ballots reaffirmed President-elect Joe Biden as the first Democrat to win the state in nearly 30 years.
The audit results showed Biden won the state with 2,475,141 votes to President Donald Trump‘s 2,462,857, a 12,284-vote margin. Under the initial count, Biden won by a 12,780 margin, giving Trump a gain of 496 votes in the recount.
Most electoral recounts typically vary by a few hundred votes, experts say.
“Georgia’s historic first statewide audit reaffirmed that the state’s new secure paper ballot voting system accurately counted and reported results,” Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said. “This is a credit to the hard work of our county and local elections officials who moved quickly to undertake and complete such a momentous task in a short period of time.”
Raffensperger ordered the recount last week, saying it was necessary because the margin between Biden and Trump was less than a half-percent.
Close to 5 million Georgians voted in the 2020 election.
Included in the new tally were about 5,800 uncounted votes that were discovered on memory cards in a few counties — about 3,600 for Trump and 2,200 for Biden.
“I don’t believe at the end of the day it will change the total results,” Raffensperger told CNN on Wednesday, adding that no evidence of voter fraud has been uncovered.
Biden was projected as the winner in Georgia by most major news outlets. He is the first Democrat to win in the state since then-candidate Bill Clinton in 1992. The state awards 16 electoral votes.
State law calls for Raffensperger to certify the election results by Friday. Once he does so, the certified results will be sent to Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp for his signature. The Trump campaign can then request a machine recount of the ballots using high-capacity scanners.
Earlier Thursday, the Trump campaign dropped a lawsuit seeking to halt the certification of election results in Michigan’s Wayne County, which contains Detroit, where nearly 80% of the population is Black.
Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani announced the move after two Republican members of the Wayne County Board of Canvassers signed affidavits stating they wanted to rescind their votes to certify the results.
“This morning we are withdrawing our lawsuit in Michigan as a direct result of achieving the relief we sought: to stop the election in Wayne County from being prematurely certified before residents can be assured that every legal vote has been counted and every illegal vote has not been counted,” Giuliani said in a statement.
Canvassing board members Monica Palmer and William Hartmann initially voted not to certify Wayne County’s results, voicing concerns about unproven “irregularities,” and deadlocked the board vote in a 2-2 tie.
After widespread criticism that they were attempting to disenfranchise the county’s Black voters, Hartmann and Palmer switched their votes to confirm the results. They later signed affidavits saying those votes were made under pressure and sought to rescind them.
Palmer told NBC News that President Donald Trump called her and Hartmann the day before they sought to rescind their votes, but that didn’t influence their request.
The president “called to make sure I was OK, that I was safe and to check on me,” Palmer told NBC News. “I appreciated that knowing how busy he is.”
The two Republican board members denied racism and said in affidavits that they were promised an independent audit of Wayne County, which lead them to certify the votes, but they now believe the audit will not take place, The Detroit Free Press reported. The audit has yet to be formally requested.
Giuliani’s assertion that certification in Wayne County was “stopped” is inaccurate, state officials said.
“There is no legal mechanism for them to rescind their vote,” Tracy Wimmer, a spokeswoman for Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, told The Detroit Free Press. “Their job is done and the next step in the process is for the Board of State Canvassers to meet and certify.”
The Michigan suit is one of more than 20 filed by the Trump campaign challenging election results in the battleground states of Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Georgia, Nevada and Arizona. Many have been dismissed or withdrawn.
Repeated claims of fraud by the campaign have been consistently refuted by experts and election officials, many of whom say they are a clear and direct threat to American democracy.
“There’s nothing inherently legitimate about filing these lawsuits,” Harvard University law professor Nicholas Stephanopoulos told the Harvard Crimson Thursday. “There’s simply no evidence to support the allegations of fraud, non-compliance with state law, faulty software or glitches, etc.”
“A fair number of lawsuits are frivolous, in the quite technical sense that it would [be] appropriate for a judge to impose sanctions such as fines on the [attorneys] who filed them,” added Harvard Professor Emeritus Mark Tushnet.
U.S. Election 2020
Balloons and signs fill the fence between Black Lives Matter Plaza and Lafayette Park near the White House on Monday. Photo by Ken Cedeno/UPI | License Photo