A hand count of random batches of votes in Georgia’s election this month for secretary of state has confirmed Republican Brad Raffensperger’s victory, state election officials said.
The audit — required by state law — turned up a small difference in 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 announced Friday.
“This audit shows that our system works and that our county election officials conducted a secure, accurate election,” Raffensperger said in a statement.
The audit stems from a law passed in 2019, not from concerns about the integrity of the state’s election results.
An audit is required for general elections in even-numbered years on a race selected by the secretary of state. It must be completed before the election results are certified.
Raffensperger, the incumbent, announced earlier this month that he was choosing his race for the audit. He beat Democratic state House Rep. Bee Nguyen.
In 2020, Raffensperger chose the presidential contest in Georgia between Donald Trump and Joe Biden for the risk-limiting audit. In those audits, the smaller the margin between candidates in a race, the larger the sample of ballots that must initially be audited.
Trump, who said fraud cost him the 2020 election, targeted Raffensperger for failing to overturn his purported narrow loss in Georgia.
In the secretary of state race, Raffensperger defeated Trump-endorsed candidate U.S. Rep. Jody Hice and two other challengers in the Republican primary in May.
Should all American elections be audited?
For this year’s audit, Georgia election officials hosted a dice roll at the state Capitol to help determine the batches of votes that counties had to count by hand.
In total, county election officials said they reviewed 328 batches of ballots. They said more than 85 percent of the batches had no deviation from the original candidate vote totals.
Of the remaining batches, all but one had a discrepancy within an expected margin of error for a hand count, the Secretary of State’s office said.
The audit counted 156,832 votes for Raffensperger and 67,486 for Nguyen.
A machine count of the same ballots had Raffensperger’s vote total at 156,811 and Nguyen’s at 67,504.
Officials had said such a difference was expected because of human error during the hand counting process.
State law requires 90 percent certainty that the outcome is correct, but Raffensperger said he was increasing that to 95 percent; that is to say, a “risk limit” of 5 percent.
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