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Georgia governor calls for ‘sample audit’ of ballot signatures after secretary of state certifies election for Biden

Kemp spoke on Friday evening, after Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger certified Democrat Joe Biden as winner of the state’s 16 electoral votes in the November 3 election, following a recount of the ballots. Both Kemp and Raffensperger are Republicans.

Acknowledging the “record number of absentee ballots” which he said was due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Kemp said the audit revealed “significant errors” in a number of counties across the state, including Floyd, Fayette, Douglas and Walton.

“It’s 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,” Kemp said.

This is simply unacceptable.

The recount found some 3,300 votes stored on memory cards in three counties that hadn’t been uploaded to election computers, and 2,600 ballots that hadn’t been scanned in Floyd County. 

President Donald Trump’s campaign had requested a full audit of mail-in ballots, but Raffensperger declined to do so. Kemp cited concerns he received from Georgians and said he would “encourage” the secretary of state to conduct at least a sample audit, comparing the signatures on ballots with the applications and the database, and noting that in-person voters have to show photo identification while mail-in ballots do not.

Trump led in Georgia on election night, but fell behind Biden after counties in and around Atlanta began counting the mail-in ballots the following day. 

“I live by the motto that numbers don’t lie,” Raffensperger told reporters on Friday morning, announcing that Biden won the election. “As secretary of state, I believe that the numbers that we have presented today are correct.”

He reversed his original certification announcement without explanation, however, and finally certified the election later in the day.

Noting that Georgia was due to hold runoff elections for a state position and two US Senate seats – which will decide if Republicans keep or lose their Senate majority – Kemp said that all discrepancies must be explained so the citizens of Georgia can have “complete confidence” in the elections.

“In our runoff elections, we cannot have lost memory cards or stacks of uncounted ballots. We must have full transparency in all monitoring and counting. Every legal vote must be counted and the security of the ballot box must be protected,” said the governor.

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