US President-elect, Joe Biden has officially been declared the winner in the state of Georgia, flipping the historically Republican-voting state for the Democratic Party for the first time in decades.
Electoral experts and news agencies have confirmed that Mr Biden has secured Georgia’s 16 Electoral College votes, stretching his lead to 306 Electoral College votes compared to US President Donald Trump’s 232.
The experts had already declared Joe Biden the winner of the tightly contested US presidential elections on November 7th after the former US vice president won key states Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin – but the state of Georgia had been too close to call.
Georgia’s Secretary of State, Brad Raffensperger’s office announced that a manual recount of the presidential contest results had confirmed Biden’s narrow lead over Trump.
Officials said the hand count of about five million votes was carried out under an audit required by a Georgia state law, and not due to any problems with election procedures or an official recount request.
Mr Raffensperger welcomed the results of the state’s manual count calling the process “historic”.
“Georgia’s historic first statewide audit reaffirmed that the state’s new secure paper ballot voting system accurately counted and reported results,” he said in a statement.
“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.”
Raffensperger’s office added that because Biden’s margin of victory is less than 0.5 percent, the Trump campaign can request a recount after the results are certified.
The result of Georgia hand count came after the Trump campaign filed a series of lawsuits in key states across the US, as the Republican president has alleged that widespread voter fraud tarnished the elections. The state has to certify results that have been certified by the end of Friday, 20th November.
President Trump has continued to refuse to concede the race, with his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani telling reporters that the campaign has “enough evidence” to “overturn” Biden’s victory.
Meanwhile, US President-elect Joe Biden has condemned Donald Trump’s refusal to accept defeat in the presidential election, saying it sent “a horrible message about who we are as a country.”
Mr Biden said he was confident Mr Trump knew he was not going to win and had shown “incredible irresponsibility.”
Speaking after a virtual meeting with governors, including Democrats and Republicans, about the coronavirus crisis, Mr Biden said the president was sending “incredibly damaging messages… to the rest of the world about how democracy functions” and that he would be remembered “as being one of the most irresponsible presidents in American history”.
“It’s hard to fathom how this man thinks…It’s just outrageous what he’s doing.
“The vast majority of people believe it’s [the election results] legitimate.”