Georgia recount confirms Biden win, again, but Trump still battling

The third tally of votes in the presidential race in Georgia is over, and Democrat Joe Biden won — again.

The secretary of state’s office certified the recount results Monday — even as it continued to fend off allegations of widespread voting fraud in Georgia.

“It’s been a long 34 days since the election on Nov. 3,” Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said at a press conference Monday morning. “We have now counted legally cast ballots three times, and the results remain unchanged.”

The final results show Biden’s margin of victory was 11,779 votes out of some 5 million ballots cast. In the recount, Biden’s margin shrank by 891 votes from the initial count.

Most of the change in President Donald Trump’s favor occurred in Fulton County, where about 880 fewer ballots were recorded. Fulton election officials couldn’t explain the discrepancy but said it’s not unusual to have different vote counts when dealing with so many ballots — about 525,000 in the state’s most populated county.

”The gold standard is whether there’s a discrepancy large enough to change the outcome of the race, and we are very far from that,” Fulton Board of Elections Chairwoman Mary Carole Cooney said before certifying the county’s results on Friday.

The secretary of state’s office said Fulton needs to improve its election procedures and avoid repeated problems.

”Fulton County has been a notable national disaster for 20 years. It’s far time for them to change out their management team and bring in professionals,” Deputy Secretary of State Jordan Fuchs said.

The results bring to a close an arduous process that included a hand audit of every ballot ordered by Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger. But they likely will not end the unproven cries of “voter fraud” from Trump and his supporters.

On Monday, a federal judge dismissed one challenge to the election results, while a federal appeals court dismissed another on Saturday. But the president’s supporters continue to press their case in court and in the public square.

On Thursday, the president’s attorneys took their claims of fraud to a state Senate Judiciary subcommittee, where they tried to persuade lawmakers to overturn the election results. On Sunday, four Republican state senators petitioned their colleagues to hold a special session of the General Assembly on Tuesday. Gov. Brian Kemp and Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan said that would violate Georgia law.

“Continuing to make debunked claims of stolen elections is hurting our state,” Raffensperger said at Monday’s press conference.

The secretary’s office is investigating about 250 cases of alleged improprieties involving 2020 elections. On Friday, Raffensperger announced the GBI will assist in those investigations. But investigators have found no evidence of widespread fraud that would affect the outcome of the election.

“We will continue to take steps to ensure that only legally registered Georgians will be casting ballots,” Raffensperger said.

Trump requested the recount as he is entitled to do under Georgia law because Biden’s margin of victory was by less than half a percent. But election officials have said for weeks that the audit and recount would likely not change the outcome of the presidential race.