Trump's Victory Claims in Trouble as Lawsuits Thrown Out, Georgia Confirms Biden Win

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A Cobb County Election official handles ballots during an audit, in Marietta, Georgia, November 16, 2020.
A Cobb County Election official handles ballots during an audit, in Marietta, Georgia, November 16, 2020. Credit: Mike Stewart,AP

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said on Thursday that a hand audit of ballots in the state had confirmed Joe Biden as the winner of the November 3 election in Georgia.

An audit was launched after unofficial results showed Biden leading President Donald Trump by about 14,000 votes.

Raffensperger said there was "no doubt" that the state would certify Biden's victory on Friday.

"The audit has aligned very close to what we had in election night reporting," Raffensperger told local station WSB-TV. "It's so close, it's not a thimble full of difference." He is expected to formally certify Biden's victory on Friday.

Trump has made unfounded claims of voting irregularities and fraud, and his campaign have repeatedly taken to social media to criticize Raffensperger and the way the state’s hand tally was being conducted. The secretary of state has responded in social media posts of his own disputing their claims.

He can still request a recount in Georgia after the results are certified because the margin of victory was less than 0.5 percent. 

Donald Trump and his allies also lost three court rulings on Thursday, underscoring their dwindling options even as they continued to claim a viable path to victory.

In Georgia, a judge appointed by Trump denied a request by Lin Wood, a conservative lawyer, to halt certification of Biden's victory in the state. The lawsuit alleged Georgia election officials improperly changed the process for handling absentee ballots.

"To halt the certification at literally the eleventh hour would breed confusion and disenfranchisement that I find have no basis in fact and law," said U.S. District Judge Steven Grimberg in Atlanta during a court hearing.

Trump's legal advisers, led by his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, made unsubstantiated voter fraud claims and laid out what they said was a path to victory on Thursday during a fiery press conference in Washington.

Trump's strategy for retaining power is focused increasingly on persuading Republican legislators to intervene on his behalf in battleground states Biden won, three people familiar with the effort told Reuters.

Shortly after the press conference, a judge in Pennsylvania rejected the Trump campaign's bid to invalidate about 2,200 ballots in Bucks County, near Philadelphia, over purported defects such as missing "secrecy envelopes."

The judge noted that the Trump campaign had stipulated that there was "no evidence of any fraud, misconduct, or any impropriety with respect to the challenged ballots."

Wood and a Trump campaign spokeswoman, Thea McDonald, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

US far-right radio show host Alex Jones (C) speaks to supporters of Donald Trump as they protest in front of the Maricopa County Election Department, in Phoenix, Arizona, November 6, 2020.Credit: OLIVIER TOURON - AFP

In Arizona, a state court judge tossed a Republican-backed lawsuit seeking to halt Phoenix officials from certifying Biden as the winner.
The Arizona Republican Party had asked Judge John Hannah to order a new audit of ballots in Maricopa County, where the majority of Arizonans live, arguing it had been conducted in a manner that violated state law.

The judge did not explain why he was denying the request but said he would issue a lengthier decision soon.

The Arizona Republican Party said in a statement that it had sought "judicial clarification" of a law relating to determining a sample for a post-election audit of ballots. The statement said the dispute should be clarified through future legislation.

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