A hand count of random bundles of votes in Georgia’s recent foreign ministerial election confirmed Republican Brad Raffensperger’s victory, state election officials said.
The test, required by state law, revealed a small difference in votes from the machine count used during the election, but the difference was well within the expected margin of error, the Secretary of State’s office said on Friday.
“This audit demonstrates that our system is working and that our county election officials conducted a safe and accurate election,” Raffensperger said in a statement.
The audit follows a law passed in 2019, not because of concerns about the integrity of the state’s election results. Even-year general elections 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 audit because it had the largest winning margin, which would make it easier for districts to conduct the audit.
Raffensperger beat Democratic House Representative 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 need to be checked first.
In 2020, he chose the Georgia presidential contest between Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Joe Biden for risk-limiting scrutiny. Biden won that race by a narrow margin, arranging for a manual count of all votes cast to confirm the accuracy of the vote-counting scanners.
Trump, who falsely claimed cheating cost him the 2020 election, took aim at Raffensperger for failing to reverse his narrow Georgia loss. In a now infamous phone call in January 2021, Trump suggested Raffensperger could “find” enough votes to reverse Biden’s election victory.
Raffensperger defeated a key challenger backed by Trump in this year’s campaign.
For this year’s review, Georgia election officials hosted a dice roll at the state capitol to help determine the bundles of votes that counties had to count by hand.
In all, county election officials reviewed 328 lots of ballots — a fraction of the total number of lots. More than 85 percent of these batches showed no deviation from the candidates’ original vote numbers. 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.
In the audit, 156,832 votes were counted for Raffensperger and 67,486 votes for Nguyen. A machine count of the same ballots showed Raffensperger receiving a total of 156,811 votes and Nguyen receiving a total of 67,504 votes.
Officials had said such a difference was expected due to human error during the hand counting process. Overall, Raffensperger won more than 2 million votes, according to his office, compared to over 1.7 million for Nguyen.
State law requires a 90 percent certainty that the result is correct, but Raffensperger said he’s increasing that to 95 percent, meaning a 5 percent “risk limit”.