Carter Center to monitor audit of Georgia election results
The Carter Center announced Friday it will monitor the hand recount of Georgia’s election results amid a fierce campaign from Republicans to cast doubt over President-elect Joe Biden’s victory there.
The center said it has received accreditation from the Georgia secretary of state’s office to monitor its risk-limiting audit that Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger announced Wednesday. Election results from every county in the Peach State will be recounted as President Trump’s campaign and Republicans level baseless claims that voter fraud marred the nearly 5 million ballots cast.
Monitors are being deployed to several county audit boards across the state to conduct oversight the center said would increase “transparency” in the vote counting process.
“What we’re monitoring is what many people have been calling the hand recount. Because the margin in the presidential race is so close, this sort of audit essentially requires review of every ballot by hand,” said Carter Center CEO Paige Alexander. “This is unusual, but it provides an opportunity to build trust in the electoral system prior to the state’s certification of results.”
Biden was declared to have won Georgia’s 16 Electoral College votes Friday by about 14,000 votes, but Republicans have launched several lawsuits baselessly claiming that widespread voter fraud stained the results.
Following an avalanche of pressure from state and national Republicans to take action, Raffensperger said Wednesday he would launch the hand recount of every single vote given the state’s tight margin.
“My office will continue to investigate each and every instance of illegal voting, double voting, felon voting, people voting out of state,” he said at a press conference. “We have all worked hard to bring fair and accurate counts to ensure that the will of the voters is reflected in the final count and that every voter will have confidence in the outcome whether their candidate won or lost.”
The recount must be completed by midnight Wednesday, two days before Georgia’s Nov. 20 deadline to certify the results.
The Carter Center, founded by former President Jimmy Carter, has assisted democratic elections in foreign countries for more than 30 years, though this will be the first time it has observed elections in the U.S.
The center in August launched an effort to instill trust in the electoral process amid concerns that Americans were losing faith that the elections would be fair.
“We have prioritized countries with a significant potential to advance democratic transitions or places where democracy has been under threat. Most of these countries have weak institutions and are plagued by political polarization, a lack of public trust, ethnic or racial divisions, or a history of troubled elections. Often, there are fears that the election results won’t be seen as credible or could trigger violence,” Jason Carter, the center’s board of trustees chairman, and David Carroll, the head of the center’s Democracy Program, wrote in an op-ed in CNN.
“Unfortunately, much of that description now applies to the US,” they continued. “If ever there was a time to address democracy and elections in our country, it is now.”
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