Georgia recertifies US presidential election results, confirming Biden victory

Trump bid fails to overturn outcome after third official count

epa08853723 Officials with the Fulton County Registration and Elections Department conduct a machine recount of the county's presidential election ballots at the the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta, Georgia, USA, 30 November 2020. A statewide recount was requested by the campaign of President Donald J. Trump and should be completed 02 December 2020.  EPA/ERIK S. LESSER
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Georgia’s top elections official on Monday recertified the state’s election results after a recount requested by President Donald Trump again confirmed that Democrat Joe Biden won the state.

“We have now counted legally cast ballots three times, and the results remain unchanged,” Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said at the state capitol.

Georgia law allows a losing candidate to request a recount if the margin between the candidates is within 0.5 per cent.

Mr Trump asked for the recount after the results certified by Mr Raffensperger showed that Mr Biden led by a margin of 12,670 votes, or 0.25 per cent of about five million ballots cast.

After the initial count, Mr Raffensperger selected the presidential race for an audit required by state law.

The tight margin meant the audit required the votes in the contest to be recounted by hand, he said. This count also confirmed Mr Biden’s victory.

Also on Monday, a federal judge dismissed a lawsuit filed on behalf of would-be Republican presidential electors by Mr Trump's former lawyer, Sidney Powell.

The suit alleged widespread fraud and sought to decertify the results of the presidential race in Georgia.

“The plaintiffs essentially ask the court for perhaps the most extraordinary relief ever sought in any federal court in connection with an election," US District Judge Timothy Batten said as he dismissed the suit after a hearing.

"They want this court to substitute its judgment for that of two and a half million Georgia voters who voted for Joe Biden, and this I am unwilling to do."

A judge in Michigan on Monday rejected a similar lawsuit, which sought to decertify Mr Biden's victory in the state.

Meanwhile, an election challenge filed on Friday by Mr Trump, his campaign and Georgia Republican Party chairman David Shafer was rejected by the Fulton County Superior Court because the paperwork was improperly completed and lacked the appropriate filing fees.

Even as lawsuits filed by Mr Trump and his allies have been rejected around the country, the president has continued to make repeated claims of widespread fraud.

In Georgia, he has been highly critical of Mr Raffensperger and Governor Brian Kemp, both fellow Republicans.

Mr Raffensperger has been steadfast in his defence of the integrity of the election in the state and Mr Kemp has said he has no power to intervene in elections.

“I know there are people who are convinced the election was fraught with problems, but the evidence, the actual evidence, the facts tell us a different story,” Mr Raffensperger said on Monday.

Hours before coming to Georgia for a rally on Saturday night, Mr Trump called Mr Kemp and asked him to call a special legislative session. The governor declined.

Georgia’s two high-profile Senate contests are drawing top Republican politicians to the state to campaign, network and raise their profiles.

The January run-off votes will determine which party will control the Senate at the start of Mr Biden's presidency.

Mr Trump used his event in Georgia to tease a possible 2024 presidential bid, while separate appearances from Republican senators Marco Rubio, Rick Scott and Tom Cotton have also indicated possible presidential ambitions.

The state has fast become a stage for possible Republican presidential candidates looking to rise through the party ranks after Mr Trump’s defeat.