WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Georgia confirmed Democratic President-elect Joe Biden as the winner of the Nov. 3 election in the state as it completed a hand audit of ballots on Thursday, Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said.
The audit, launched after unofficial results showed Biden leading Republican President Donald Trump by about 14,000 out of more than 5 million votes cast, ended with Biden winning by 12,284, according to data from Raffensperger’s office.
“The audit confirmed that the original machine count accurately portrayed the winner of the election,” the secretary of state’s office said in a statement on Thursday evening.
The changes to the vote totals were “well within the expected margin of human error that occurs when hand-counting ballots,” it said.
Biden was the first Democratic presidential candidate to carry Georgia since Bill Clinton in 1992. Biden has captured 306 electoral votes to Trump’s 232 in the state-by-state Electoral College that determines the winner of the election, well above the 270 needed for victory.
Raffensperger, a Republican, is expected to formally certify Biden’s victory on Friday, despite pressure from Trump, who has claimed without evidence that there were widespread irregularities and fraud in states that he lost to Biden, including Georgia.
The state’s Republican U.S. senators, David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler, who both face runoff elections in January, have joined with Trump in accusing Raffensperger, without evidence, of overseeing a flawed election, an allegation Raffensperger has disputed.
Raffensperger told a local TV station that the Trump campaign had not produced evidence to back up its claims of fraud in the state.
“We have not seen any evidence they have given us, anything that supports – it just doesn’t show up,” Raffensperger told WSB-TV.
Trump’s campaign can still request a recount in Georgia after the results are certified because the margin of victory was less than 0.5%.
(Reporting by Simon Lewis; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman, Peter Cooney and Grant McCool)