After three vote counts, Georgia certifies results again

Joe Biden is again declared the winner in Georgia as time runs out on Trump’s efforts to overturn the results.

Georgia's Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger says his state will certify Joe Biden's victory - again [Elijah Nouvelage/Reuters]

President-elect Joe Biden was officially certified as the winner of this year’s presidential election in Georgia – again – the state’s top election official announced on Monday.

“We have now counted legally-casted ballots three times and the results have remained unchanged,” Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, a Republican, said.

Also Monday, former Trump lawyer Sidney Powell’s lawsuit, described as the “Kraken”, was dismissed by a US district court judge. Among Powell’s unfounded charges were allegations of foreign interference in the vote count.

“The claims in the Kraken lawsuit prove to be as mythological as the creature for which they’re named,” Raffensperger said in a statement. “Georgians can now move forward knowing that their votes, and only their legal votes, were counted accurately, fairly, and reliably.”

Tuesday marks the “safe harbor” deadline set by federal law by when all states must certify their election results or they run the risk of their electors not counting. On December 14, each state’s electors will meet and vote for the winner of the presidential election in their state. Biden is projected to have won 306 electors to President Donald Trump’s 232.

Georgia’s final certification comes as Trump and his supporters continue to pressure courts and legislators around the country to overturn election results, claiming fraud and voting irregularities without hard evidence of widespread issues.

Those allegations have been roundly dismissed by judges, state governors and elections officials, including Republican leaders in states such as Georgia and Arizona.

Trump took part in a rally in Georgia on Saturday where he campaigned on behalf of Republican Senators Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue, who are running in a pair of January 5 runoff elections. Trump again aired his litany of unfounded election integrity allegations while urging Georgia voters to go to the polls next month and support the Republican senators.

Before heading to Georgia, Trump reportedly called Georgia’s Republican governor, Brian Kemp, to pressure him to call a special session of the state legislature to overturn the election, a suggestion Kemp refused.

Trump then lashed out at Kemp during Saturday’s rally saying Democrats were stealing the election and: “Your governor could stop it very easily if he knew what the hell he was doing. He could stop it very easily.”

Republicans are growing worried about Trump’s heated rhetoric around the state’s administration of its election, fearing it will put a damper on the party’s efforts to get out the vote in January.

US President Donald Trump gestures as he leaves after a campaign event for Republican Senators David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler in Valdosta, Georgia, US [Jonathan Ernst/Reuters]

“I worry that this continuous you know fanning of the flames around misinformation puts us in a negative position with regards to the January 5 runoff,” Georgia Lieutenant Governor Geoff Duncan, a Republican, told CNN Sunday. “The mountains of misinformation are not helping the process, they’re only hurting it.”

Raffensperger, for his part, called Trump out on Monday morning, insisting the president’s focus on false allegations are extremely harmful.

“Whether it’s the president of the United States or a failed gubernatorial candidate … disinformation about election administration should be condemned and rejected,” Raffensperger said.

The “failed gubernatorial candidate” Raffensperger was referring to is Stacey Abrams, who refused to concede after losing to Kemp in 2018 and also claimed there were things amiss about the voting process that resulted in her loss.

Abrams said more than a million citizens “found their names stripped from the [voter] rolls” alleging a “system of oppression that had already proven its bias”, in a speech where she acknowledged Kemp would be the next governor, but said was not a concession.

Raffensperger, who has also come under fire from Trump and his supporters, penned an opinion article in the Wall Street Journal on Sunday arguing that Trump’s behaviour was enabled by Abrams’s and Democrats’ actions in 2018.

“Establishing a playbook that President Trump is following to the letter now, Ms. Abrams refused to concede, announced that she would launch major litigation against Georgia’s election system, and began collecting hundreds of millions of dollars from donors convinced the election had been stolen from her,” Raffensperger wrote.

Meanwhile, Loeffler debated her Democratic opponent, Raphael Warnock, on Sunday night and continued to refuse to acknowledge Trump’s election loss.

Loeffler was asked about Biden’s victory in Georgia and whether she agreed with Trump’s fraud allegations, but she did not answer directly, instead, she raised unproven allegations and said Trump “has every right to every legal recourse”.

Warnock responded by wondering why Loeffler “continues to cast doubt on an American democratic election. It’s time to put this behind us”.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies