Update: Georgia Secretary of State’s Office Certifies Election Results After Error

November 20, 2020 Updated: November 20, 2020

Update: Georgia’s top elections official announced on Friday afternoon that the state has finally certified the results of the 2020 general election—following a snafu earlier in the day where the Secretary of State’s office announced it certified the election, but later, it sent out a news release with a “correction” saying it would be certified later.

Trump’s campaign can seek a machine recount of the ballots in Georgia by Tuesday, Nov. 24. Republican Gov. Brian Kemp has until Saturday to approve electors that will be sent to the Electoral College.

Kemp, in a news conference at 5 p.m., said, “State law now requires the governor’s office to formalize the certification, which paves the way for the Trump campaign to pursue other legal options and a separate legal option if they choose.”

Georgia’s Secretary of State’s office said on Friday morning that it certified the results of the Nov. 3 election, saying that all 159 Georgia counties handed over their vote totals for each state and federal candidate. However, minutes later, the office corrected itself and said it “will certify the results,” but had not yet done so.

“Numbers don’t lie. As secretary of state, I believe the numbers that we have presented today are correct,” Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said at a press conference on Friday. “The numbers reflect the verdict of the people.”

Raffensperger’s office sent out a news release on Friday incorrectly saying that the results were certified. It then sent out a new press release saying the results will be certified.

According to the state’s election data, Democrat Joe Biden has a more than 12,000-vote lead over President Donald Trump. Trump has not conceded the election and has said that voter fraud and irregularities were present in Georgia as well as other key states.

The Epoch Times will not declare a winner of the presidential election until all legal challenges are completed. Ultimately, both the U.S. House and Senate—during the Joint Session of Congress in early January of next year—include procedures for challenges to even the Electoral College’s vote (pdf). Some Trump allies and even his legal team have suggested that the result of the election may come down to when both houses of Congress meet next year.

Trump’s campaign can seek a machine recount of the ballots in Georgia by Tuesday, Nov. 24. Republican Governor Brian Kemp has until Saturday to approve electors that will be sent to the Electoral College. According to reports, he scheduled a news conference at 5 p.m. ET on Friday. Kemp has not weighed in on either Trump’s fraud claims or Raffensperger’s claims.

Raffensberger, in a statement, previously said that Georgia finished its statewide risk-limiting audit of the vote.

“Georgia’s historic first statewide audit reaffirmed that the state’s new secure paper ballot voting system accurately counted and reported results,” he said.

Trump’s campaign dismissed Raffensberger’s report following the audit, saying the hand recount didn’t have a signature-matching process.

“We continue to demand that Georgia conduct an honest recount, which includes signature matching. We intend to pursue all legal options to ensure that only legal ballots are counted,” said Jenna Ellis, senior legal advisor to the Trump campaign, in a statement. “Headlines are already falsely reporting that Joe Biden is declared the winner in Georgia. Sorry, media, that’s not how it works,” Ellis added.

She called on Georgia to not certify its results.

Biden’s team praised the recounting effort by saying that it “simply reaffirmed what we already knew: Georgia voters selected Joe Biden to be their next president.”

“We are grateful to the election officials, volunteers and workers for working overtime and under unprecedented circumstances to complete this recount as the utmost form of public service,” she added.

Tom Ozimek contributed to this report.