Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) late Friday evening certified the state’s presidential election results following a hand recount, where former Vice President Joe Biden came out by roughly 12,000 votes. During the recount President Donald Trump picked up an additional 888 votes. Kemp did, however, call for another hand recount, citing major errors in Floyd, Douglas and Walton Counties, CBS News reported.
Kemp’s concern wasn’t the legitimacy of the hand count but rather the process that took place. Specifically, he cited thousands of uncounted ballots being found in various counties while the hand recount was taking place.
The governor, who previously served as secretary of state, said the signatures on absentee ballots weren’t looked at or scrutinized. It’s why he’s called on Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (R) to conduct a “sample audit of signatures on absentee ballot envelopes and compare those to the signatures on applications and on file that the secretary of state’s office.”
The problem with an audit, election officials said, is that it’s impossible to compare ballots to envelopes since the envelope is opened and separated from the ballot. This is done to keep the voter’s pick secretive.
Although Kemp has come under fire from the Trump campaign not to certify the election, the governor stated he had a legal obligation to do so.
“He’s a fighter,” the governor said of President Trump. “But at the end of the day, I’ve got to follow the laws of the constitution of this state and that’s exactly what I’m doing.”
The George State Constitution requires the governor to certify the election results Raffensperger provided on Thursday, Kemp explained to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
The one good thing that comes from certifying the results, Kemp said, is that the Trump campaign has the ability to challenge the results in court.
“I would just say I’m formalizing the certification,” he said. “Now that Secretary Raffensperger certified, it triggers the ability of the Trump campaign to ask for the recount. If something were to happen, I’m still part of that process. So my take on all this is: I’m following the law and the rules.”
According to Kemp, the Trump campaign can ask for another state-funded recount since the results are within a half-point of one another. They will have until Tuesday to make the ask.
The one thing Kemp and Raffensperger said they hope comes out of this: state reforms that require an ID for mail-in ballots.
“I’d be open to working with both bodies in the House and Senate, and the lieutenant governor and the speaker, as well on that,” Kemp said. “Georgians deserve a process where the integrity of the vote is not a question – and certainly it is on a lot of people’s minds. That’s part of the issue of what’s going on right now.”
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