A voter drops her absentee ballot in a lock box on Election Day, November 3, at Shorty Howell Park in Lawrenceville, Ga. Photo by Tami Chappell/UPI | License Photo
Nov. 19 (UPI) -- Georgia announced Thursday that its manual recount of ballots reaffirmed President-elect Joe Biden as the first Democrat to win the state in nearly 30 years.
The audit results showed Biden won the state with 2,475,141 votes to President Donald Trump's 2,462,857, a 12,284-vote margin. Under the initial count, Biden won by a 12,780 margin, giving Trump a gain of 496 votes in the recount.
Most electoral recounts typically vary by a few hundred votes, experts say.
"Georgia's historic first statewide audit reaffirmed that the state's new secure paper ballot voting system accurately counted and reported results," Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said. "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 ordered the recount last week, saying it was necessary because the margin between Biden and Trump was less than a half-percent.
Close to 5 million Georgians voted in the 2020 election.
Included in the new tally were about 5,800 uncounted votes that were discovered on memory cards in a few counties -- about 3,600 for Trump and 2,200 for Biden.
"I don't believe at the end of the day it will change the total results," Raffensperger told CNN on Wednesday, adding that no evidence of voter fraud has been uncovered.
Biden was projected as the winner in Georgia by most major news outlets. He is the first Democrat to win in the state since then-candidate Bill Clinton in 1992. The state awards 16 electoral votes.
State law calls for Raffensperger to certify the election results by Friday. Once he does so, the certified results will be sent to Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp for his signature. The Trump campaign can then request a machine recount of the ballots using high-capacity scanners.
The announcement came as judges in three states rejected lawsuits filed by the Trump campaign and the Republican Party while Trump's re-election campaign also rescinded a case in Michigan.
The suits are part of a litigious effort by the Trump campaign to challenge election results in the battleground states of Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Georgia, Nevada and Arizona. Many have been dismissed or withdrawn.
Repeated claims of fraud by the campaign have been consistently refuted by experts and election officials, many of whom say they are a clear and direct threat to American democracy.
"There's nothing inherently legitimate about filing these lawsuits," Harvard University law professor Nicholas Stephanopoulos told the Harvard Crimson Thursday. "There's simply no evidence to support the allegations of fraud, non-compliance with state law, faulty software or glitches, etc."
"A fair number of lawsuits are frivolous, in the quite technical sense that it would [be] appropriate for a judge to impose sanctions such as fines on the [attorneys] who filed them," added Harvard Professor Emeritus Mark Tushnet.
Balloons and signs fill the fence between Black Lives Matter Plaza and Lafayette Park near the White House on Monday. Photo by Ken Cedeno/UPI | License Photo