Georgia presidential recount begins today | David Wickert/The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

 

Election officials across Georgia will begin another count of votes in the presidential election Tuesday. The recount can begin at 9 a.m. Tuesday and must be completed by midnight Dec. 2, the secretary of state’s office announced. It will be the third tally of votes in a race decided by the narrowest of margins — Joe Biden defeated President Donald Trump by just 12,670 votes out of some 5 million ballots cast in Georgia. But election officials do not expect the third count to change the outcome of the race. Nor is it likely to dampen calls to revisit that outcome. Trump’s campaign has demanded what state election officials say is impossible — a recount that includes rechecking voter signatures to uncover potential fraud. On Monday, a top election official also poured cold water on calls by Georgia Republicans for an audit to double-check the signature matching efforts of local election workers. Gabriel Sterling, the state’s voting system manager, said such an audit would be technically feasible. But he said there is no specific evidence of wrongdoing to warrant more scrutiny of voter signatures, barring a court order. “We can’t open investigations based on generalized, `we’re not happy with the outcome’ ” of the election, Sterling said. “If somebody comes to us with specific evidence, we investigate that.” Gov. Brian Kemp and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger certified the election Friday. The move came after a hand recount of every ballot confirmed the outcome of the presidential race.

Full Article: Georgia presidential recount begins Tuesday

Georgia Republicans want ‘signature audit’ of absentee ballots. Why it likely won’t happen | Nick Wooten/Columbus Ledger-Enquirer

It’s unlikely the Georgia Secretary of State’s office will further examine absentee voter signatures despite calls from top Republicans ahead of the state’s recount, a top election official told reporters Monday. Top Republicans, including President Donald Trump and Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, have requested signature audits tied to Georgia’s absentee voting. Under state law, the identification or signature of voters is checked twice during the absentee voting process, and an accepted ballot can’t be traced back to a signed envelope once the two are separated. The process protects ballot secrecy. But county election officials keep the signed envelopes for two years. Currently, there’s no state law requiring or outlining the process for rechecking envelope signatures against the state database after those signatures were already confirmed, said Gabriel Sterling, the state’s voting system implementation manager. “If a court orders it or if we have specific investigatory reasons, you do it,” he said of auditing the signatures. “If we make a precedent of ‘I don’t like the outcome. Therefore, we should start investigating random parts of the process.’ …It’s a bad precedent.”

Full Article: How does Georgia verify signature on absentee ballots? | Columbus Ledger-Enquirer

Georgia counties set to start recount requested by Trump | Kate Brumback/Associated Press

After the Trump campaign requested a recount of the presidential ballots in Georgia, county election workers have just over a week to complete the new tally, a top elections official said Monday. The election results certified last week by Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger showed Democrat Joe Biden beating Republican President Donald Trump by 12,670 votes out of about 5 million cast, or about 0.25%. Under state law, a candidate can request a recount when the margin is less than 0.5%. The Trump campaign on Saturday sent a formal request for a recount to the secretary of state’s office. The counties can begin the recount at 9 a.m. Tuesday and must finish by 11:59 p.m. on Dec. 2, Gabriel Sterling, who oversaw the implementation of the state’s new voting system for the secretary of state’s office, said during a video news conference Monday. The counties are to give public notice of when during that period they will be counting so monitors from political parties and any interested members of the public can be there to observe, Sterling said. This will be the third time the votes in the presidential race have been counted in Georgia. After the initial count following Election Day, Raffensperger selected the presidential race for an audit required by state law. Because of the tight margin, he said, the audit required every vote in that contest to be recounted by hand. County election workers completed that hand tally last week. Because some previously uncounted ballots were discovered during the audit, several counties had to recertify their totals. Then the secretary of state certified the results and Gov. Brian Kemp certified the state’s slate of 16 presidential electors.

Full Article: Georgia counties set to start recount requested by Trump

Georgia: Trump requests recount; FBI, GBI investigate threats | David Wickert/The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

 

Georgia is preparing to tally about 5 million votes in the presidential election for a third time as the FBI and GBI investigate threats against some state election officials. On Saturday, President Donald Trump’s campaign filed a petition for the recount, which he is entitled to do under Georgia law because Joe Biden’s margin of victory is less than half a percent. “Today, the Trump campaign filed a petition for recount in Georgia,” the campaign said in the statement announcing the petition. “We are focused on ensuring that every aspect of Georgia state law and the U.S. Constitution are followed so that every legal vote is counted.” Meanwhile, the hotly contested election apparently has inspired threats against some Georgia officials. On Saturday, Gabriel Sterling, the state’s voting system manager, said on Twitter that he had received threats that prompted police protection around his home. He also cited “multiple attempted hacks of my emails.” On Sunday, Deputy Secretary of State Jordan Fuchs said the FBI and the GBI are investigating threats to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger and his team. She said she could not provide details. Trump’s request for a recount came a day after Raffensperger and Gov. Brian Kemp certified Biden’s victory. Biden won Georgia by more than 12,000 votes — a margin confirmed in an audit in which every ballot was recounted by hand. The hand recount showed small differences from the original machine count, which election officials said they expected.

Full Article: Trump formally requests recount in Georgia

Full Article: Trump formally requests recount in Georgia

Georgia’s top elections official says recount shows ‘verdict of the people’ as results certified | Mark Niesse and Greg Bluestein/The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Georgia’s Republican governor and secretary of state certified election results Friday that showed Joe Biden defeated President Donald Trump by over 12,000 votes, one of the closest margins in the country. By making Georgia’s presidential results official, Gov. Brian Kemp and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger validated two vote counts: an initial machine count of paper ballots, and a manual recount to audit the outcome. Biden received 12,670 more votes than Trump, according to the certified vote total of machine counts. The recount found a similar result, with Biden ahead by 12,284 votes. “Like other Republicans, I’m disappointed our candidate didn’t win,” Raffensperger said during a news conference at the state Capitol. “Working as an engineer throughout my life, I live by the motto that numbers don’t lie. As secretary of state, I believe that the numbers that we have presented today are correct. The numbers reflect the verdict of the people.” Kemp’s certification awards Georgia’s 16 electoral votes to Biden, as required of him by state law. Kemp criticized errors by county election officials that overlooked nearly 6,000 ballots until they were found during the manual recount and audit. Those ballots, which reduced Trump’s deficit by about 1,400 votes, were added to official totals before certification.

Full Article: Georgia’s top elections official says vote counts validate results

Georgia drawn into election conspiracy claims by Trump allies | Alan Judd/The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

 

Georgia was drawn into a vortex of conspiracy theories over the 2020 presidential election on Thursday as President Donald Trump’s lawyers and a prominent Atlanta supporter pressed unfounded claims that the state was a hotbed of fraud. In a hearing late Thursday, a federal judge in Atlanta rejected a request to bar state officials from certifying that former Vice President Joe Biden defeated Trump in Georgia. State law requires election results to be certified by Friday. U.S. District Judge Steven Grimberg, a Trump appointee, said he found no evidence of irregularities that affected more than a nominal number of votes. Biden beat Trump by more than 12,000 votes in Georgia. Grimberg said halting the election’s certification could have invalidated 1.3 million absentee ballots cast by Georgia voters. “It harms the public interest in countless ways, particularly in the environment in which this election occurred,” Grimberg said at the end of a nearly three-hour hearing. “To halt the certification at literally the 11th hour would breed confusion and significant disenfranchisement.”

Full Article: Trump allies draw Georgia into election conspiracy claims

Georgia: ‘Integrity still matters’: the unlikely Republican standing up to Trump’s voter fraud lies | Sam Levine/The Guardian

Of all the Republicans to push back on Donald Trump’s baseless claims about voter fraud, Brad Raffensperger, the mild-mannered top election official in Georgia, did not seem like a likely candidate. It was just a few months ago that civil rights groups called on Raffensperger, Georgia’s secretary of state, to resign from his position after voters spent hours waiting to vote in the primary election. He also faced criticism for declining to mail an absentee ballot application to all voters for the general election – something he did in the primary. And he raised alarms by creating an election fraud taskforce and trumpeting potential voter fraud prosecutions with little context. But after Trump lost Georgia to Joe Biden by around 13,000 votes, Raffensperger has emerged as one of the few Republican officials across the US who has aggressively disputed Trump’s baseless claims that fraud tainted the election result in the state. Trump, who endorsed Raffensperger in 2018, is now directing his ire at the secretary of state, and Georgia’s two Republican senators, both locked in separate runoff contests against Democrats, have called on Raffensperger to resign. Raffensperger, who is quarantining after his wife tested positive for Covid-19, continued to push back on the attacks against his office on Wednesday, saying Trump’s loss in the state – long considered a Republican stronghold – was the candidate’s fault.

Full Article: ‘Integrity still matters’: the unlikely Republican standing up to Trump’s voter fraud lies | US news | The Guardian

Georgia: Lindsey Graham’s alleged interference in election is felony election fraud | Mark Joseph Stern/Slate

Since narrowly losing Georgia to Joe Biden, President Donald Trump has promoted baseless claims of voter fraud in a desperate effort to overturn the results of the election. So far, however, the only individual credibly accused of a fraudulent effort to steal the election is South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham. On Monday, Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger—who, like Graham, is a Republican—told the Washington Post that Graham asked him if he could throw out all mail ballots from counties with a high rate of signature mismatch. Raffensperger later clarified that he believed Graham wanted his office to throw out valid, legally cast ballots. The senator has contested this account. Graham’s alleged request is unseemly and corrupt. But is it criminal? In short, yes, according to multiple Georgia election law experts. If Raffensperger’s account is true, there is virtually no doubt that Graham committed a crime under Georgia law. The more difficult question is whether Graham will suffer any consequences for his alleged offense. Because he is a Republican and a sitting U.S. senator, Graham likely won’t face an investigation, let alone prosecution, for conduct that would get almost anyone else arrested. It might be tempting to dismiss Graham’s alleged interference as unscrupulous strategizing blown out of proportion. But Georgia has a sordid history of prosecuting putative voter fraud involving far more innocent conduct. Graham does not deserve a pass simply because he is a wealthy white senator.

Full Article: Lindsey Graham’s alleged interference in Georgia’s election is felony election fraud.

Georgia vote discrepancies reconciled on last day of recount | Mark Niesse/The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Election officials corrected vote counting mistakes and explained an allegation by the Republican Party about miscounted DeKalb County ballots on Wednesday, the final day of Georgia’s manual recount. The latest unofficial count puts Joe Biden 12,781 votes ahead of President Donald Trump, who gained about 1,400 votes this week that county election officials initially failed to count. There’s no indication of broader problems beyond three counties that didn’t load all votes from memory cards and one county that didn’t rescan all ballots after an optical scanner was replaced because of a technical issue, said Gabriel Sterling, Georgia’s voting system manager. Three of the four counties that had issues are Republican-leaning politically. When the recount and audit exposed issues, election workers fixed them before results are finalized, Sterling said. “The system is working the way it’s intended,” Sterling said. “These people are operating under the highest level of stress, in the most contentious election in their work life in the United States and in Georgia. So for the most part they are doing a really good job on this.”

Full Article: Georgia recount: Minor counting errors corrected as recount nears end

Georgia elections chief: ‘Emotional abuse’ to mislead voters about fraud | Jonathan Easley/The Hill

The top election official in Georgia on Wednesday raged at what he described as politicians giving false hope and ginning up anger over unsubstantiated allegations of systemic voter fraud, calling it “emotional abuse” to mislead voters into thinking that the election was stolen from President Trump. In an exclusive interview with The Hill, Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, a self-described “conservative Republican,” declined to directly blame Trump for spreading baseless claims about voting machines altering ballots or “illegal” votes being counted. But Raffensperger unloaded on Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.) and other GOP politicians he said were creating a dangerous environment — including threats of violence aimed at him and his wife – because he’s disputed the notion that systemic fraud was behind President-elect Joe Biden’s victory in Georgia. “There’s just people who are really angry and they’re being spun up,” Raffensperger said. “It’s really the spinners that should be ashamed for playing with people’s emotions. Politicians of both sides should never play with people’s emotions. It’s one thing to motivate people, I get that. But to spin people up and play with their emotions, it’s emotional abuse and they ought to grow up and start acting with integrity.” The Hill pointed out that Trump, who has attacked Raffensperger as a “Republican in name only,” is responsible for spreading discredited information about voter fraud. However, the secretary of state declined to directly criticize the president. “I’m a Republican, I’m a conservative one, and I don’t like the idea that President Trump is not going to win,” Raffensperger said. “But at the end of the day, I want every voter to know we’re going to do our job and make sure every legal vote is counted.”

Full Article: Georgia elections chief: ‘Emotional abuse’ to mislead voters about fraud | TheHill

Georgia manual recount won’t replace official election results | Mark Niesse/The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Georgia election officials said Tuesday they no longer intend to make the results of the state’s manual recount the official tally in the presidential race, with a couple of exceptions. The decision leaves little chance for election results to change much after the recount concludes Wednesday. Joe Biden led President Donald Trump by 14,000 votes, according to unofficial results. But some votes that weren’t originally counted will be added to the state’s totals. Election officials in Floyd and Fayette counties discovered ballots they hadn’t previously been tabulated, and those votes will be included in final counts. After accounting for those ballots, Biden’s lead will shrink to about 13,000 votes. The change in how the recount is handled came after lawyers for the secretary of state’s office reviewed Georgia law and concluded that the new hand count shouldn’t replace the original machine count of scanned ballots, said Gabriel Sterling, the state’s voting system manager. The recount, ordered by Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger last week, is moving forward under a law calling for the first statewide audit of an election. “The whole intent of the audit is to verify the results we already saw,” Sterling said. “We thought we were going to go down a path and then we kind of rethought it and said, ‘You know, the more legally stable way to do this is to do it this way.’” If the audit uncovers serious discrepancies, as it did when ballots were found in Floyd and Fayette counties this week, county election officials will redo their original machine counts and then report a new total that will become a part of the official count. The audit is intended to verify which candidate won rather than determine a perfect vote count, he said.

Full Article: Georgia recount: Officials say audit results won’t replace earlier election count

Georgia recount: Voting machines audit finds no hack | Sommer Brokaw/UPI

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said Tuesday an audit of the state’s voting machines found no evidence of tampering. Raffensperger said in a statement announcing the completion of the audit that there was “no sign of foul play.” He ordered Pro V&V, a U.S. Election Assistance Commission-certified testing laboratory, to conduct the audit on a random sample of Dominion Voting Systems machines statewide, which used forensic techniques and verification processes to confirm no tampering, cyberattacks or election hacking. “Pro V&V found no evidence of the machines being tampered,” the secretary of state’s office said. “We are glad but not surprised that the audit of the state’s voting machines was an unqualified success,” Raffensperger said in a statement. “Election security has been a top priority since day one of may administration. We have partnered with the Department of Homeland Security, the Georgia Cyber Center, Georgia Tech security experts, and wide range of other election security experts around the state and country so Georgia voters can be confident that their vote is safe and secure.” President-Elect Joe Biden led incumbent President Donald Trump by more than 14,000 votes in Georgia after the Nov. 3 election, leading to projections that he will win Georgia’s 16 electoral votes. However, Biden’s lead was within a 0.5% margin of Trump, triggering a recount under state law upon request. A statewide risk-limiting audit prompting a full hand recount of nearly 5 million votes in Georgia’s 159 counties began Friday with a deadline to finish by midnight Wednesday.

Full Article: Georgia recount: Voting machines audit finds no hack – UPI.com

In Georgia Recount, a Republican Feud With Trump at the Center | Richard Fausset and Jonathan Martin/The New York Times

There is no worse time for Georgia Republicans to be engulfed in a civil war. Their presidential candidate just narrowly lost the state, which has long been a conservative safe space, while two competitive runoff races are looming in January that could determine control of the U.S. Senate — and the direction of the country for the first part of this decade. And yet the war has come, full of double-crossing, internecine accusations of lying and incompetence, and a bitter cleavage into factions over the question of how much fealty should be shown to President Trump — and the extent to which Republicans should amplify his false argument that the election in this fast-changing Southern state was stolen from him. Republicans in Georgia and elsewhere are now faced with a stark choice. They can stick by Mr. Trump and his rash claims of fraud, and risk alienating moderate voters who may have had their fill of Trumpism — including the thousands who helped turn Georgia blue this month. Or they can break with Mr. Trump, invite his wrath and risk throwing the political equivalent of a wet blanket on conservative turnout for the Senate runoffs in January. “This is clearly a divisive issue for Republicans in Georgia,” said Ashley O’Connor, a Republican strategist. “But the balance of the Senate is at stake here for Republicans so everybody would do better reminding themselves what’s at stake.” The hostilities here involve a tangle of overlapping rivalries among statewide and national Republicans. Last week, in an extraordinary intraparty attack, the incumbent senators facing tougher-than-anticipated runoffs, Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue, released a joint statement calling on Brad Raffensperger, the Republican secretary of state, to step down. They said the election he oversaw — one in which Mr. Trump trailed Joseph R. Biden Jr. by about 14,000 votes — was an “embarrassment.” Ms. Loeffler and Mr. Perdue are both ardent Trump supporters.

Full Article: In Georgia Recount, a Republican Feud With Trump at the Center – The New York Times

Georgia: Second county finds previously uncounted votes | Kate Brumback/Associated Press

A second Georgia county has uncovered a trove of votes not previously included in election results, but the additional votes won’t change the overall outcome of the presidential race, the secretary of state’s office said Tuesday. A memory card that hadn’t been uploaded in Fayette County, just south of Atlanta, was discovered during a hand tally of the votes in the presidential race that stems from part of a legally mandated audit to ensure the new election machines counted the votes accurately, said Gabriel Sterling, a top official in the secretary of state’s office. The memory card’s 2,755 votes are not enough to flip the lead in the state from Democrat Joe Biden to Republican President Donald Trump. The breakdown of the uncounted ballots was 1,577 for Trump, 1,128 for Biden, 43 for Libertarian Jo Jorgensen and seven write-ins, Sterling said. Election officials on Monday said Floyd County, in north Georgia, had found more than 2,500 ballots that hadn’t been previously scanned. Both counties will have to recertify their results, and the margin between Trump and Biden will be about 13,000 votes when those previously uncounted votes are accounted for, Sterling said.

Full Article: Second Georgia county finds previously uncounted votes

Georgia Secretary of State says fellow Republicans are pressuring him to find ways to exclude legal ballots | Amy Gardner/The Washington Post

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said Monday that he has come under increasing pressure in recent days from fellow Republicans, including Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (S.C.), to question the validity of legally cast absentee ballots in an effort to reverse President Trump’s narrow loss in the state. In a wide-ranging interview about the election, Raffensperger expressed exasperation over a string of baseless allegations coming from Trump and his allies about the integrity of the Georgia results, including claims that Dominion Voting Systems, the Colorado-based manufacturer of Georgia’s voting machines, is a “leftist” company with ties to Venezuela that engineered thousands of Trump votes to be left out of the count. The atmosphere has grown so contentious, Raffensperger said, that both he and his wife, Tricia, have received death threats in recent days, including a text to him that read: “You better not botch this recount. Your life depends on it.” “Other than getting you angry, it’s also very disillusioning,” Raffensperger said of the threats, “particularly when it comes from people on my side of the aisle. Everyone that is working on this needs to elevate their speech. We need to be thoughtful and careful about what we say.” He said he reported the threats to state authorities. The pressure on Raffensperger, who has bucked his party in defending the state’s voting process, comes as Georgia is in the midst of a laborious hand recount of about 5 million ballots. President-elect Joe Biden has a 14,000-vote lead in the initial count.

Full Article: Ga. secretary of state says fellow Republicans are pressuring him to find ways to exclude legal ballots – The Washington Post

Georgia: As Tensions Among Republicans Mount, Recount Proceeds Smoothly | Richard Fausset/The New York Times

Brad Raffensperger, Georgia’s secretary of state, on Monday accused fellow Republicans of trying to undermine the legitimacy of the state’s election in an effort to swing the results to President Trump, who narrowly lost the state to President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. and later demanded the hand recount. Election officials in Georgia also announced Monday evening that they had discovered 2,600 ballots in Floyd County that had not been previously reported to the state, a notable but overall minor hiccup in what they otherwise described as a smooth recounting of the nearly five million ballots cast by Georgia voters during the presidential election. The counting is expected to wrap up this week, and elections officials have reported few problems aside from the error in Floyd County, which is located in northwestern Georgia and voted heavily for Mr. Trump. Democrats said the recount had so far resulted in no substantive changes, at least none that would affect the lead currently enjoyed by Mr. Biden. “The Floyd County situation was unfortunate,” said Gabriel Sterling, an official with the office of Georgia’s secretary of state. However, he added, “The majority of the counties right now are finding zero deviations from the original number of ballots.”

Full Article: As Tensions Among Republicans Mount, Georgia’s Recount Proceeds Smoothly – The New York Times

Georgia: A laborious, costly and historic hand recount of presidential ballots begins | Michelle Ye Hee Lee and Reis Thebault/The Washington Post

The election workers sat two to a table, a stack of ballots off to the side. One auditor lifted a ballot, reviewed the selection for president, and handed it to the other to do the same before placing it in the right pile — TRUMP, BIDEN, JORGENSEN or WRITE-IN — or setting it aside for further review. The effort was part of a historic manual recount of presidential votes in Georgia, where hundreds, if not thousands, of workers in the state’s 159 counties on Friday began the tedious task of re-tallying each of the nearly 5 million votes cast and checking for any potential irregularities. The recount, the largest hand recount in U.S. history, was ordered by Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger in an effort to reassure the public about the outcome of the presidential election in his state, where President-elect Joe Biden was projected to win with a lead of about 14,000 votes over President Trump. Research shows that recounts do not typically change the results by enough votes to flip the outcome. Nevertheless, the narrow margin, the fact that Georgia historically has been a red state, and efforts by Trump and top GOP officials to cast doubt on Biden’s victory in the presidential contest have led to this extraordinary effort.

Full Article: In Georgia, a laborious, costly and historic hand recount of presidential ballots begins – The Washington Post

Georgia Recount Yields Few Changes in Vote Totals, Democrats Say | Bill Allison/Bloomberg

Georgia’s hand audit of ballots cast in the presidential election is proceeding rapidly with little change in the results so far, according to lawyers working for President-elect Joe Biden’s campaign. Some 48 of the state’s 159 counties have finished their examination of the ballots with either no change or minor shifts — differences of fewer than five votes in some instances, they said. Four counties that have finished their retallies reported having no changes. Biden won the first count by over 14,000 votes. Election officials on Saturday started auditing almost 5 million ballots. “More Georgians voted for President-elect Biden than voted for President Trump,” said Marc Elias, a prominent Democratic lawyer who’s aiding the campaign. “There is nothing that the recount’s going to do to change that.” Because of the closeness of the result, less than 0.3 percentage points, Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, a Republican, ordered a statewide, hand recount of ballots. The process is due to be completed by Nov. 20 though a superior court judge could move the deadline if needed.

Full Article: Election 2020: Georgia Recount Yields Few Changes in Vote Totals, Democrats Say – Bloomberg

Georgia’s recount integrity faces attack: As Trump claims election fraud, election recount continues | Alan Judd/The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

 

President Donald Trump and his allies spread false claims about Georgia’s election recount on Saturday, attacking a process conducted by members of the president’s own party at his request. Top Georgia Republicans, including Gov. Brian Kemp, declined to rebut Trump’s allegations. But other prominent Republicans, such as former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and U.S. Rep. Doug Collins of Georgia, advanced Trump’s claims, and right-wing media outlets amplified the message. A commentator on the conservative website Newsmax described Georgia’s recount — a ballot-by-ballot review of nearly 5 million votes that entered its second day Saturday — as “a sham and a hoax and a fix.” Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, a Republican who is Georgia’s chief election officer, acknowledged what he called “misinformation that has circulated in social media.” But in a statement released by his office, Raffensperger did not mention Trump by name. The attacks on the recount’s integrity came one day after national news organizations called Georgia in favor of President-elect Joe Biden. He beat Trump by 14,122 votes, becoming the first Democrat to carry the state since 1992. Raffensperger ordered the unprecedented recount a day after receiving a demand for a review from Trump’s campaign, although he said he made the decision on his own. No irregularities or significant tabulation errors emerged during the first two days of the recount, officials said Saturday. And even if the Georgia outcome were reversed, Biden still would have enough electoral votes from other states to capture the presidency.

Full Article: As Trump claims election fraud, Georgia election recount continues

Georgia Will Begin Recounting Votes, With Biden Still Favored | Danny Hakim and Richard Fausset/The New York Times

Georgia’s 159 counties were poised on Thursday to begin recounting nearly five million ballots in the presidential election, but confusion surrounded the proceedings even as county officials raced to get ready. A day after Brad Raffensperger, Georgia’s Republican secretary of state, described the process as a hand recount, his subordinates said Thursday that it was technically an audit and not a recount, though it would have largely the same effect. Counties are being told to audit every vote cast and tally a new result by midnight on Wednesday, two days before the state’s Nov. 20 deadline to certify its results. But after that, the Trump campaign can still request an official recount, if the result is within half a percentage point. That means President Trump could effectively get three bites at the apple — or the peach, as it were — in Georgia. Still, with the margin in the first tally giving Joseph R. Biden Jr. an edge of more than 14,000 votes, election observers do not believe any number of counts will alter the outcome. Counties will begin their audits on Friday morning and are required to finish up by midnight on Nov. 18. Auditors from the counties’ elections divisions will sit at tables and count the ballots. Most of what will be reviewed will be straightforward: printed copies of in-person votes cast on electronic machines. But county officials will also review absentee ballots marked by hand. If they find ambiguities, the ballots will be referred to a three-person adjudication panel in each county made up of a Democratic representative, a Republican representative and a county official who will break ties.

Full Article: Georgia Will Begin Recounting Votes, With Biden Still Favored – The New York Times

Georgia: Recount teams assemble for manual review of election results | Mark Niesse/The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

 

The first statewide manual recount of paper ballots in Georgia history begins Friday, a major effort to validate the accuracy of an election that showed Joe Biden with a 14,000-vote lead over Donald Trump. One ballot at a time, election workers will eyeball choices for president and sort ballots into piles for each candidate. They’ll keep going until all 5 million ballots cast have been reviewed. The monumental effort must be finished in six days, before 11:59 p.m. on Wednesday, according to the secretary of state’s office. The process will likely be a closely watched, tense affair as Georgia’s 16 electoral votes hang in the balance. If it goes well, election officials say vote counts will be close to unofficial results, and voters will gain confidence in the outcome. But delays, counting discrepancies or disputes over ballots could derail the recount. “The point of the audit is to show the machines counted the ballots fairly,” said Gabriel Sterling, Georgia’s voting system manager. “We want to get it right. We want to make sure this is accurate.”

Full Article: Georgia election recount: Timetable and how it will happen

Editorial: Brad Raffensperger, Georgia’s Top Elections Official, Is Under Fire | Richard Fausset and Stephanie Saul/The New York Times

Brad Raffensperger, the beleaguered top elections official in Georgia, considers himself the most loyal of Republicans. There was no question which candidates he would support in last week’s election. “I’ve only ever voted for Republicans,” Mr. Raffensperger said in an interview in his office at the State Capitol on Tuesday. “I’ve been a Republican, or conservative, you know, since I was a teenager.” Indeed, since taking office in January 2019, Mr. Raffensperger, the secretary of state, has been a target for Democrats in Georgia’s high-stakes, passionate and bitterly partisan voting wars. In his nearly two years on the job, he has championed policies to guard against a threat of voter fraud that Democrats say hardly exists. He has been the subject of multiple lawsuits, and of television ads blaming him for presiding over a botched June primary that left voters waiting for hours in long lines. Democrats have also accused him of “state sponsored voter intimidation.” But this week, he became the target of his own party, with the state’s two incumbent Republican senators calling for his resignation and condemning the presidential election as an “embarrassment,” an allegation he called “laughable.” On Wednesday, he authorized a hand recount of Georgia’s ballots for the presidential race — a move championed by President Trump but one officials have said was unlikely to erase President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s narrow but significant lead in the state.

Full Article: Brad Raffensperger, Georgia’s Top Elections Official, Is Under Fire – The New York Times

Georgia: Hand recount moves ahead under interpretation of election rules | Mark Niesse/The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

This wasn’t the way recounts or audits were supposed to work under Georgia election rules. By ordering a statewide hand recount of every ballot in the presidential race, Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger combined different parts of recount and audit procedures. His decision will result in a time-consuming, labor-intensive process that’s never been attempted before. Raffensperger said it will be worthwhile if it builds confidence in the election, where Joe Biden was leading Donald Trump by over 14,000 votes. The count will be conducted under Georgia’s rules for election audits, but not as envisioned when those rules were drafted. The audit rules call for a random sample of ballots to be pulled, and the text or bubbles to be reviewed and counted. The audit would have concluded when all ballots were counted and the odds that the full tabulation was incorrect was less than 10%, according to State Election Board rules. But instead of pulling a smaller sample of ballots, Raffensperger plans to audit every ballot. The sample would have had to be over 1 million ballots, according to the secretary of state’s office, so Raffensperger decided a full count was justified given the closeness of the race.

Full Article: Georgia election recount: What the law and state election rules say

Georgia launches statewide hand recount of presidential race | Mark Niesse and Greg Bluestein/The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

 

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger took the extraordinary step on Wednesday to order a recount of all 5 million ballots cast in the presidential election, under mounting pressure by fellow Republicans who leveled unsubstantiated accusations of voter fraud to discredit Joe Biden’s 14,000-vote lead in the state. Flanked by local elections officials at a Capitol press conference, Raffensperger said the count will be conducted by hand under Georgia’s election audit rules before a Nov. 20 deadline to finalize results. The cost of the enormous undertaking, requiring hundreds of poll workers, wasn’t immediately clear. The decision came after an immense effort by President Donald Trump and his supporters to cast doubt on Georgia’s election results, despite no evidence of any wrongdoing or irregularities. U.S. Sens. Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue, facing Jan. 5 runoffs, called for Raffensperger’s resignation, and Trump’s campaign demanded the hand recount Tuesday. Raffensperger, who has said there’s no evidence of widespread voter fraud, maintained that he wasn’t influenced by the outside pressure, which was amplified by Trump on Twitter. Instead, he cast it as an effort to bolster faith in the election results. “This will help build confidence. It will be an audit, a recount and a recanvass, all at once,” Raffensperger said from the steps of the state Capitol. “It will be a heavy lift. But we will work with the counties to get this done in time for our state certification.”

Full Article: Georgia orders full recount of the presidential election vote

Georgia audit to trigger hand tally of presidential vote | Kate Brumback/Associated Press

Georgia’s secretary of state on Wednesday announced an audit of presidential election results that he said would be done with a full hand tally of ballots because the margin is so tight. State law requires an audit but leaves it up to the top elections official to choose the race. Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said at a news conference that the presidential race makes the most sense. Raffensperger’s office has said there’s no evidence of systemic problems with the voting or the count that shows Democrat Joe Biden with a lead of about 14,000 votes over President Donald Trump. Raffensperger said his office wants the process to begin by the end of the week and he expects it to take until Nov. 20, which is the state certification deadline. “It will be a heavy lift, but we will work with the counties to get this done in time for our state certification,” Raffensperger said, flanked by local election officials on the steps of the state Capitol. “We have all worked hard to bring fair and accurate counts to assure that the will of the voters is reflected in the final count and that every voter will have confidence in the outcome, whether their candidate won or lost.” Georgians cast nearly 5 million votes in the presidential race and counties have until Friday to certify their results.

Full Article: Georgia audit to trigger hand tally of presidential vote

The ‘orchestrated’ push to discredit Georgia’s election sparks more GOP infighting | Jim Galloway, Patricia Murphy, Greg Bluestein and Tia Mitchell/The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

 

“Republicans in disarray.” That was the three-word response from Senate Democratic candidate Jon Ossoff late Monday to the extraordinary infighting that’s divided the Georgia GOP over President Donald Trump’s effort to taint Joe Biden’s victory. This was supposed to be the week that Republicans united behind U.S. Sens. Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue for a pair of Jan. 5 runoffs that could decide control of the Senate. Instead, the two senators leveled unfounded claims of a disastrous “embarrassment” of an election at fellow Republicans who oversaw last week’s vote – and called for the resignation of Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger. It was a brazen effort to appease Trump, who has falsely claimed electoral fraud despite no evidence of any wrongdoing as he and his supporters try to discredit Biden. We’re told the president and his top allies pressured the two Republican senators to take this step, lest he tweet a negative word about them and risk divorcing them from his base ahead of the consequential runoff.

Full Article: The Jolt: The ‘orchestrated’ push to discredit Georgia’s election sparks more GOP infighting

Georgia: Fear of losing Senate majority in runoffs drives GOP embrace of Trump’s unfounded claims of election fraud | Robert Costa, Paul Kane and Erica Werner/The Washington Post

Fear over losing the Senate majority by falling short in the upcoming runoff elections for two U.S. Senate seats in Georgia has become a driving and democracy-testing force inside the GOP, with party leaders on Tuesday seeking to delegitimize President-elect Joe Biden’s victory as they labored to rally voters in the state. Those intertwined efforts threaten to disrupt Biden’s hopes of establishing a smooth transition as Republicans in Washington and Georgia, worried about dispiriting the president’s core supporters, increasingly echo his unfounded claims of election fraud and back his refusal to concede. With their power on the line and Trump still the party’s lodestar, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and his allies have made clear that they are now fixated on Jan. 5 — the date of the runoff elections — rather than on Jan. 20, when Biden will be sworn in as the nation’s 46th president. “These runoffs have become the political equivalent of ‘Braveheart’ where everyone paints their face blue and just charges across the field,” said Ralph Reed, a Georgia-based Republican and founder of the Faith and Freedom Coalition. “If we can get the Trump vote back out in the suburbs, we should be able to get this done. But it will be very hard and extremely competitive.” Two Republican losses in January would split the Senate equally between Democrats and Republicans, giving the incoming vice president, Kamala D. Harris, a tie-breaking vote and Democrats control of all levers of government.

Full Article: Fear of losing Senate majority in Georgia runoffs drives GOP embrace of Trump’s unfounded claims of election fraud – The Washington Post

Georgia: Trump campaign seeks hand recount, could get it | Jeff Amy and Kate Brumback/Associated Press

Republicans are making more demands of Georgia’s chief elections officer as they seek to overturn Democrat Joe Biden’s 12,000-vote lead in the state’s presidential race. U.S. Rep. Doug Collins, who’s leading President Donald Trump’s recount team in Georgia, and state Republican Party Chairman David Shafer sent a letter to Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger on Tuesday requesting that he order a hand recount of Georgia’s nearly 5 million ballots before certifying the results. The move comes a day after Republican U.S. Sens. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler called for Raffensperger’s resignation, claiming he ran the election poorly but citing no specific incidents of wrongdoing. Perdue will face Democrat Jon Ossoff and Loeffler will face Democrat Raphael Warnock in Jan. 5 runoffs that are likely to determine which party controls the U.S. Senate. Raffensperger has refused to step down and defended how his office conducted the election. His office has refuted a number of claims made by Trump supporters. “The process of reporting results has been orderly and followed the law,” Raffensperger said in a Monday statement. “Where there have been specific allegations of illegal voting, my office has dispatched investigators.”

Full Article: Trump campaign seeks hand recount in Georgia, could get it

Georgia senators seek Secretary of State Raffensperger’s ouster | Mark Niesse and Greg Bluestein/The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

 

Georgia’s two U.S. senators called on the state’s top elections official, a fellow Republican, to resign Monday in a shocking attempt to appease President Donald Trump and his supporters ahead of Jan. 5 runoffs for likely control of the U.S. Senate. U.S. Sens. Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue provided no evidence to back up claims of unspecified “failures” with the November election that was overseen by Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, who said flatly that he’s not stepping down: “It’s not going to happen.” The two Republicans were attempting to energize conservatives upset over Trump’s loss to President-elect Joe Biden, who is on the cusp of becoming the first Democrat to win Georgia since 1992. Biden led Trump by over 11,500 votes Monday afternoon. But the criticism flies in the face of comments from other state elections officials and other Republican leaders who say there’s no evidence of wrongdoing. Hours earlier, a state elections official held a press conference at the Capitol focused on debunking several conspiracy theories alleging missing or mishandled ballots. Raffensperger said he would continue to ensure that the election is fair.

Full Article: Georgia senators seek Secretary of State Raffensperger’s ouster

Georgia: ‘Hoaxes and nonsense’: GOP election officials reject Trump’s unfounded fraud claims | Jenny Jarvie and Seema Mehta/Los Angeles Times

Georgia’s too-close-to-call presidential contest devolved into a fight Monday among Republicans as the state’s top election official rejected calls from its two U.S. senators that he resign for challenging President Trump’s unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud. Monday morning, Gabriel Sterling, a lifelong Republican who manages Georgia’s voting system, took to a lectern at the Capitol to plainly and matter-of-factly dismiss criticism of election illegalities in the Southern battleground state as “fake news” and “disinformation.” “Hoaxes and nonsense,” Sterling said. “Don’t buy into these things. Find trusted sources.” Hours later, GOP Sens. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler — who are each in a Jan. 5 run-off that will determine control of the chamber — called on Sterling’s boss, Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, to resign for allegedly mismanaging the state’s elections. “That is not going to happen,” Raffensperger said. Georgia’s 16 electoral votes are no longer key to deciding the election. Democrat Joe Biden has already secured 290 electoral votes — 20 more than needed to win the White House. With Biden leading Trump in Georgia by more than 12,000 votes — 0.25% of the total — Republicans in the state are nevertheless locked in a civil war as the presidential race heads for a recount. The upheaval shows how Trump’s persistent and unfounded claims of fraud and refusal to concede the election to Biden are dividing not just the country but his own party.

Full Article: GOP election officials aren’t buying Trump’s unfounded fraud claims – Los Angeles Times