ATLANTA - Multiple news outlets projected President-elect Joe Biden the winner of Georgia’s 16 electoral votes Friday, even as a hand recount of the state’s nearly 5 million votes began and lawsuits continued to surface challenging the results.
Projections putting Georgia in Biden’s column coupled with a projection earlier Friday that the Democrat also had carried Arizona gave Biden 306 electoral votes to 223 for President Donald Trump 10 days after voters went to the polls. To win the presidency, a candidate must capture at least 270 electoral votes.
With Biden leading Trump in Georgia by the narrow margin of just more than 14,000 votes, Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger has ordered a hand recount of the presidential ballots, a first for the state. The recount got underway Friday morning and is due to be completed by midnight next Wednesday.
Biden won Douglas County with 61.96% of the vote to Trump's 36.79% in results that were certified by the county Board of Elections earlier this week. That number is not expected to change substantially during the hand recount of all 69,154 ballots underway now.
Meanwhile, a Houston-based group became the latest to sue the state over the handling of last week’s election. True the Vote filed suit Friday against Raffensperger and Gov. Brian Kemp, demanding that the state launch an investigation to determine the number of illegal votes cast in Georgia.
“The election inconsistencies displayed in Georgia deserve a thorough investigation in order to ensure that the voting rights of legal voters in the Peach State are defended," said Catherine Engelbrecht, True the Vote’s founder and president.
"The events surrounding Georgia’s elections are a disgraceful representation of the election system in the United States. Our litigation seeks to follow the law, to find the facts, and to discover the vulnerabilities that exist in order to do a thorough investigation of voter rolls to determine if actual illegal votes were cast and to ensure fair results of the most recent presidential election."
The lawsuit targets eight counties: Chatham, DeKalb, Fulton, Clayton, Gwinnett, Cobb, Richmond, and Henry.
Georgia’s two U.S. senators, David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler, also accused the secretary of state’s office of mishandling the ballots earlier this week and demanded Raffensperger’s resignation.
The secretary of state said he would not step down and has defended Georgia’s elections process in repeated news conferences updating the public on the progress of the ballot counting.
Biden is the first Democratic presidential candidate to carry Georgia since Bill Clinton in 1992. Republicans carried the Peach State in the last six presidential contests.
Biden’s 306 electoral votes are the same number Trump piled up in winning the presidency over Democrat Hillary Clinton four years ago.