President-elect Joe Biden has been confirmed as the winner of Georgia, after the state conducted a hand recount.
The first Democrat to take the state since Bill Clinton in 1996, Biden wins its 16 electoral college votes as part of a victory by 306-232.
The Associated Press called the race on Thursday evening following the recount, which election officials said reaffirmed Biden’s victory more than two weeks after election day.
The recount resulted in officials in four counties discovering a total of about 5,800 votes. Trump has inched about 1,400 votes closer to Biden as a result, but remains the loser. The Georgia secretary of state, Brad Raffensperger, has said that the discount was due to human error, and there was no evidence of rigging or widespread fraud.
“Georgia’s historic first statewide audit reaffirmed that the state’s new secure paper ballot voting system accurately counted and reported results,” he added. “This is a credit to the hard work of our county and local elections officials who moved quickly to undertake and complete such a momentous task in a short period of time.”
“The recount process simply reaffirmed what we already knew: Georgia voters selected Joe Biden to be their next president,” said Jaclyn Rothenberg, the Biden campaign spokeswoman, in an email to the Associated Press.
“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.”
Donald Trump has refused to concede the race, contesting and questioning results in states including Georgia and pursuing recounts or delays in certification while making wild and unfounded accusations of electoral fraud.
The president continued to do so on Thursday, with specific reference to Georgia, before the result was confirmed.
But the hand recount of about 5m votes was not held in response to any suspected problems with results in Georgia or any official recount request.
It stemmed instead from an audit required by a new state law. Selecting the race to be audited, the Georgia secretary of state, a Republican, said the presidential race made the most sense because of its significance and the tight margin separating the candidates. That, he said, made a full hand recount necessary.
Gabriel Sterling, the official who oversaw implementation of the new Georgia voting system, said before the recount result was announced that previously uncounted ballots in four counties would reduce Biden’s margin of victory from around 14,000 to about 12,800.
The state has until Friday to certify results certified and submitted by the counties. Once the state does so, the losing campaign will have two business days to request a recount if the margin remains within 0.5%.
That recount would be done using scanners and would be paid for by the counties, Sterling said.
The news came as Biden approached a record 80m votes with ballots still being counted in California and New York. Voter turnout in the 2020 election was the highest in more than a century, according to data from the Associated Press and the US Elections Project.