News

WABE’s Week in Review: Georgia’s Vote Is Finally Certified… Now What?

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden speaks during a campaign event at the Mountain Top Inn and Resort on October 27, 2020 in Warm Springs, Georgia.
Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden speaks during a campaign event at the Mountain Top Inn and Resort on October 27, 2020 in Warm Springs, Georgia.
Credit Drew Angerer / Getty Images

On Friday, we saw Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger certify the election results in Georgia. President-elect Joe Biden beat President Donald Trump by 12,587 votes in the state.

“As the secretary of state, I believe that the numbers that we have presented today are correct,” said Raffensperger. ” The numbers reflect the verdict of the people, not a decision by the secretary of state’s office or of courts or of either campaigns.”

It is the first time a Democrat has won Georgia since 1992. Gov. Brian Kemp’s certification then followed Raffensperger’s move, but the staunch Republican made it clear he was not happy about it.

“We demand complete explanations for all discrepancies identified so that our citizens will have complete confidence in our elections,” said Kemp. “In the runoff election, we cannot have lost memory cards or stacks of uncounted ballots. We must have full transparency in all monitoring and counting.”

A handful of counties discovered uncounted ballots during the state’s recent audit process, but those ballots did not meaningfully change any elections’ outcome.

Next up, we could see the Trump camp ask for an official recount. The hand counting that just took place was just part of an audit allowed by the state to check the validity of its new election machines. An official recount can be requested if the two candidates are as close as Biden and Trump were in the state.

Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger certified the election results in Georgia on Friday. (Brynn Anderson/Associated Press)
Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger certified the election results in Georgia on Friday. (Credit Brynn Anderson/Associated Press)

After Georgia certified a President-elect Joe Biden victory in the state,  Emil Moffatt reported on how some top Georgia Republicans are calling for changes to the state’s election laws.

Gov. Kemp has echoed President Trump in casting doubt on the state’s signature match program used to verify the identity of absentee voters.

“Voters casting their ballots in person must show a photo ID, and we should consider applying that same standard to mail-in balloting,” said Kemp.

Secretary of State Raffensperger also called for reform, despite repeated assurances that he has seen no evidence of widespread fraud.

Deborah Neal
On WABE’s “Morning Edition,” Deborah Neal shared what her long days of ballot counting were like. (Credit Deborah Neal)

Avoiding paper cuts and counting accurately… 

Deborah Neal of Dekalb County volunteered to help hand recount ballots for the state’s audit of nearly five million votes. It was a monumental task, with many volunteers working diligently over the last several days this week. Georgia’s audit became the largest hand counting of ballots in modern American history. Neal spoke with WABE’s Lisa Rayam about the experience. 

 

At left, Democrats Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff, are shown at an event last month in Jonesboro. At right, Republicans Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue wait to speak at a campaign rally Friday in Cumming. The four U.S. Senate candidates have officially kicked off their campaigns to try to woo Georgia voters.
At left, Democrats Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff, are shown at an event last month in Jonesboro. At right, Republicans Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue wait to speak at a campaign rally Friday in Cumming. The four U.S. Senate candidates have officially kicked off their campaigns to try to woo Georgia voters. (Credit Associated Press)

On to the Senate runoff…

Vice President Mike Pence campaigned in North Georgia this week on behalf of Republican Sens. Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue. He called on supporters to vote on Jan. 5.

“…because the Republican senate majority COULD be the last line of defense… for all we hold dear,” said Pence.

One day before Pence’s visit, Democrats Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff held a socially distant rally in Jonesboro. Ossoff called out his Republican opponent, Sen. David Perdue, for refusing to participate in any debates during the runoff:

“My message for the Senator is if you don’t want to answer questions in public and debate your opponent, that’s fine. You just shouldn’t run for reelection to the US Senate,” said Ossoff.

Perdue’s campaign has pointed to the two debates the candidates did before the general election.

The other Republican incumbent, Kelly Loeffler, has agreed to debate Warnock, whom she has not faced head-on until now.

A voter wears a "I'm a Georgia Voter" sticker after casting a ballot on Election Day in Atlanta.
A voter wears an “I’m a Georgia Voter” sticker after casting a ballot on Election Day in Atlanta. (Credit Brynn Anderson/Associated Press)

Getting more folks to turnout… 

Local and national groups are launching a campaign aimed at Latino voters in Georgia. The goal is to get them to vote in the Senate runoff election. And to stay engaged beyond January.

“Latinos need to be engaged year-round,” said Frederic Velez, national director of civic engagement at the Hispanic Federation. ” It’s not something that we can do … you know, engage people for a couple of months and then kind of  take a step back and then re-engage them in 2022.”

The campaign will target voters in metro Atlanta counties such as Cobb, Gwinnett and DeKalb.  

More than 370,000 Latinos are eligible to vote in Georgia, which is about five percent of the electorate.

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms has brought in a consulting firm to conduct a review of the city's police department.
Among the names to emerge for the new Secretary of Housing and Urban Development is Atlanta’s mayor, Keisha Lance Bottoms. (Credit Brynn Anderson/Associated Press)

Bottoms a possible member of Biden’s cabinet… 

As President-elect Joe Biden prepares to take office, there’s speculation about who will fill his cabinet. Among the names to emerge for the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development is Atlanta’s mayor, Keisha Lance Bottoms. Stephannie Stokes reported more on Bottoms’ history in the area. 

 

WABE’s Sam Whitehead spoke to Grady CEO John Haupert about rising COVID-19 hospitalizations in Georgia. (Credit Al Such/WABE)

Grady seeing a spike in Covid-19 hospitalizations… 

John Haupert, CEO of the Grady Health System, says his Atlanta hospital is treating a rising number of people with coronavirus infections and that the current surge could surpass the one the region saw this summer. Haupert spoke to Sam Whitehead, host of WABE’s coronavirus podcast, “Did You Wash Your Hands?” 

The U.S. has returned to an alarming height in new coronavirus cases, topping 70,000 for the first time since July. Here, a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention map shows COVID-19 cases reported in the past seven days, as of Thursday afternoon.
The U.S. has returned to an alarming height in new coronavirus cases, topping 70,000 for the first time since July. Here, a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention map shows COVID-19 cases reported in the past seven days, as of Thursday afternoon. (Credit CDC)

Risk maybe not worth taking… 

The Georgia Tech Event Risk Assessment Planning Tool uses COVID-19  data and population numbers for counties to calculate the chances a person with Covid will be in that area. And with many people traveling for the Thanksgiving holiday, knowing the case numbers in your area may be a good thing.

“So what we want to do is help people understand the risk of people who come in from out of town so they can check what the rates are at their friends and family origin or we can understand the risk of where we’re going,” said Clio Andris who was part of the research team that developed the tool.

Experts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta say the best option is to not jeopardize friends and family at all and have a virtual Thanksgiving.