Officials: Georgia audit confirms secretary of state winner

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dated: 2022-11-19 18:01:21 .

ATLANTA (AP) – A hand count of random ballots in Georgia’s recent election for secretary of state has confirmed Republican Brad Raffensperger’s victory, state election officials said.

The test, required by state law, found a slight difference in the votes from the machine count used during the election, but the difference was within the expected margin of error, the secretary of state’s office said Friday.

“This audit shows that our system is working and that our county election officials conducted safe and accurate elections,” Raffensperger said in a statement.

The review follows a law passed in 2019 and is not due to concerns about the integrity of the state’s election results. General elections in even-numbered years require an examination for a race selected by the Secretary of State. It must be completed before voting results are confirmed.

Raffensperger announced earlier this month that he chose his race for the trial because it had the largest margin of victory, which would make it easier for districts to conduct trials. Raffensperger defeated Democratic House Rep. Bee Nguyen by more than 9 percent.

For risk-limiting audits, the smaller the distance between candidates in a race, the larger the sample of ballots that should be checked first.

In 2020, he chose the Georgia presidential contest between Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Joe Biden for risk-limiting control. Biden won that race by a narrow margin, arranging for a manual recount of all votes to verify the accuracy of the vote-counting scanners.

Trump, who falsely claimed fraud cost him the 2020 election, took aim at Raffensperger for failing to reverse his narrow loss in Georgia. In the now infamous January 2021 phone call, Trump suggested that Raffensperger could “find” enough votes to overturn Biden’s election victory.

Raffensperger defeated a key opponent supported by Trump in this year’s campaign.

For this year’s review, Georgia election officials held a dice roll at the state capital to help determine the bundles of votes that precincts had to count by hand.

In all, county election officials reviewed 328 ballots — a fraction of the total number of ballots. More than 85 percent of these groups did not show deviations from the original numbers of the candidates’ votes. Of the remaining batches, all but one had deviations within the expected margin of error for manual counting, the secretary of state’s office said.

The audit counted 156,832 votes for Raffensperger and 67,486 votes for Nguyen. A machine count of the same ballots showed that Raffensperger received a total of 156,811 votes and Nguyen received a total of 67,504 votes.

Officials said such a difference was expected due to human error during the hand counting process. In all, Raffensperger won more than 2 million votes, according to his office, compared to more than 1.7 million for Nguyen.

State law requires a 90 percent certainty that the result is accurate, but Raffensperger said he raises that to 95 percent, meaning a “risk margin” of 5 percent.

Sudhin Thanawala, The Associated Press

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Officials: Georgia audit confirms secretary of state winner

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