- The Washington Times - Friday, November 20, 2020

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp said Friday that state law requires him to formalize the secretary of state’s certification of the 2020 election results, which showed a narrow win for presumptive President-elect Joseph R. Biden over President Trump.

Mr. Kemp, a Republican, decried voting discrepancies that were discovered in a statewide audit but said he was bound by law to affirm the certification from Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger.

“State law now requires the governor’s office to formalize the certification,” he said. “As governor, I have a solemn responsibility to follow the law and that is what I will continue to do.”

Mr. Raffensperger’s office certified the state’s election results earlier Friday after an unprecedented statewide hand recount, or audit.

Mr. Biden won Georgia by a little more than 12,000 votes, or about 0.2 percentage points.

Mr. Kemp said his affirming the results will now enable Mr. Trump‘s team to seek an additional recount, which is allowed because the final margin was within 0.5 percentage points.

Mr. Kemp also said the kinds of discrepancies that turned up during the statewide audit, which saw Mr. Trump net about 1,200 additional votes because of previously uncounted ballots, cannot occur in the state’s coming runoff elections for U.S. Senate.

“It is important for Georgians to know that the vast majority of local election workers did their job well under unprecedented circumstances, and I thank them for their service,” he said. “However, it is quite honestly hard to believe that during the audit thousands of uncounted ballots were found weeks after a razor-thin outcome in a presidential election. This is simply unacceptable.”

“In the runoff election[s], we cannot have lost memory cards or stacks of uncounted ballots,” he said. “We must have full transparency in all monitoring and counting.”

Multiple news outlets called the overall presidential race for Mr. Biden on Nov. 7 based on projected vote totals.

Mr. Biden holds a projected 306-232 lead over the president in Electoral College votes, which includes Georgia’s 16 electoral votes. It takes 270 electoral votes to clinch the presidency.

The president and his legal team are alleging massive fraud in a handful of close states, apparently seeking to muddy the waters to the point where states can’t certify their results and GOP-led legislatures might try to appoint Trump-friendly electors.

The Electoral Count Act of 1887 has a “safe harbor” provision stating that changing the slate of electors after Election Day would be a violation of federal law, and election experts say it has never been done.

Mr. Trump defeated Hillary Clinton by the same projected 306-232 electoral margin in 2016.

But the final tally ended up at 304-227 after a handful of so-called “faithless electors” rebelled and did not follow the popular vote in their respective states.

In July, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld state laws that say electors who do not follow their state’s popular vote can be punished or removed.More than half the states require their electors to vote for a pledged candidate, but Georgia isn’t one of them.

- Dave Boyer contributed to this report.

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