United States President Donald Trump’s desperate bid to overturn the November 3 election result was dealt another blow after it was announced he had lost the state of Georgia.
Democratic President-elect Joe Biden is preparing to take office on January 20, but Trump has refused to concede and is seeking to invalidate or reverse the results through lawsuits and recounts in a number of states, claiming – without proof – widespread voter fraud.
That effort – which Trump’s critics have called an unprecedented push by a sitting president to subvert the will of American voters – has met little success, as the Trump campaign suffered a string of legal and political defeats.
It received more bad news when Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger announced that a manual recount and audit of all ballots cast in the southern state had determined that Biden was the winner.
Biden is the first Democrat to carry Georgia since 1992.
“The numbers reflect the verdict of the people, not a decision by the secretary of state’s office or courts, or of either campaigns,” Raffensperger, a Republican and Trump supporter, told reporters, just hours before his office certified the results.
Official figures on the Secretary of State’s Office website showed Biden winning the state by 12,670 votes.
Trump expressed dismay, saying on Twitter that Georgia officials were refusing “to let us look at signatures which would expose hundreds of thousands of illegal ballots” and give him and his party “a BIG VICTORY”.
The president provided no evidence to back up his claim.
With the door slammed shut in Georgia and having been stung by a series of court defeats, the Trump team is resting its hopes on getting Republican-controlled legislatures in other battleground states won by Biden to set aside the results and declare Trump the winner, according to three people familiar with the plan.
It is focusing on Michigan and Pennsylvania for now, but even if both those states flipped to the president he would need to overturn the vote in another state to vault ahead of Biden in the Electoral College.
Such an extraordinary event would be unprecedented in modern US history.
Trump not only would need three state legislatures to intervene against vote counts as they stand now, but then also have those actions upheld by Congress and, almost certainly, the US Supreme Court.