Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp certified the state’s presidential election results Friday in favor of President-elect Joe Biden — but called for an audit of the votes.
Kemp told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution it was “completely unacceptable” that stashes of thousands of uncounted ballots were found in several counties during the manual hand recount after the initial results.
After the hand recount, President Trump gained 888 votes, shrinking Biden’s lead slightly to 12,670 votes.
Kemp, who has faced ire from Trump and other Republicans over the process and his decision to certify the results, said he understood Trump’s frustration.
“He’s a fighter,” Kemp said. “But at the end of the day, I’ve got to follow the laws of the constitution of this state and that’s exactly what I’m doing.”
The governor told the Journal-Constitution he’s legally bound by state law to certify the results given by Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger following the recount.
Now that the results are certified, the Trump 2020 Campaign will have until Tuesday to request another recount, he said, because the vote is within a half-percent. The recount would be paid for by the state.
“I would just say I’m formalizing the certification, he said. “Now that Secretary Raffensperger certified, it triggers the ability of the Trump campaign to ask for the recount. If something were to happen, I’m still part of that process. So my take on all this is: I’m following the law and the rules.”
Kemp said he’s also been frustrated by the problems during the process.
“But because I’ve been part of the process, I’ve had to be more guarded,” he told the newspaper. “I’m having to make sure I’m staying on firm legal footing for the official duties of the governor.”
Kemp also asked Raffensperger to do a sample audit to compare voters’ signatures on mail-in ballots but the secretary of state has said that’s impossible at this point because the ballots are separated from the outer security envelope during the counting process, according to CBS News.
Both officials have suggested adding a voter ID requirement for mail-in ballots in the future.
“I’d be open to working with both bodies in the House and Senate, and the lieutenant governor and the speaker, as well on that,” Kemp told the Journal-Constitution. “Georgians deserve a process where the integrity of the vote is not a question – and certainly it is on a lot of people’s minds. That’s part of the issue of what’s going on right now.”
Asked about what he’d tell Trump supporters frustrated with his actions, he said, “First of all, I’d tell them I am following the law. That’s what I told them I’d do when I took my oath. I’m frustrated with the outcome, but we’ve got to focus on the firewall in the U.S. Senate and voting Sens. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler back to Washington to stop the drastic measures Democrats have embraced over the years.”