Joe Biden edged out President Donald Trump in Georgia on Friday, setting the stage for him to become the first Democrat to win the state since 1992.
Biden tracks by only 1,096 votes out of 4.9 million total votes, with at least 8,000 votes to be counted. The margin is so narrow that many news outlets, including BuzzFeed News, are not projecting a winner.
Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said Friday morning that there would be a recount. “Georgia remains too close to call right now. Out of about 5 million votes cast, we will have a margin of a few thousand, “Raffensperger said.” With such a small margin, there will be a recount in Georgia. “
A recount could potentially bring the state back to Trump.
Still, the fact that Biden has taken a lead in a Republican stronghold in the Deep South is a major achievement. And a victory in Georgia would bring Biden’s constituency total to 269 – just one less vote of the 270 needed to win the presidency. In that case, one of the three swing states still in play – Arizona, Nevada and Pennsylvania – would catapult Biden to the White House.
In Georgia and throughout the South and Southwest, Democrats have been working for years to translate the state’s diverse electorates into a new path to 270 constituency votes.
The early results were way ahead of Trump, as votes from rural Georgia poured in. But Biden moved forward with strong support for mail-order votes from cities like Atlanta and Savannah and their suburbs.
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Trump won the state by 5 percentage points in 2016, down from Republican Mitt Romney’s 8-point lead in 2012. Democrats were hoping this would finally be the year they closed that gap. In suburban Atlanta counties, Republicans once generated huge vote totals, but those areas have come in the majority in recent years and Biden has largely won that election there.
Biden’s breakthrough also comes despite what voting rights advocates saw as a concerted effort by state Republicans to suppress votes from Democratic-leaning voters.
“Every year after Republicans took the helm of the legislature in 2004, there was a new one or more new laws to make voting more difficult,” Vincent Fort, a former Democratic state senator, told BuzzFeed News. which represented parts of Atlanta. “At the end of the day, Republicans are losing the demographic game. They know that the only way to win, because they won’t try to diversify their party, is to cut the votes.
But Democrats have also worked to increase their share of the electorate. After Stacey Abrams narrowly lost her 2018 candidacy for Georgia’s presidency, she devoted her energy to registering voters to vote. She said that more than 800,000 new voters have been registered in the state since 2018.
Georgia’s electoral rolls looked very different heading into the 2020 elections compared to 2016. The percentage of registered voters who are white has increased from 62% to 59% in the past four years, and nearly one-third of the state’s voters are now under 35.
Contrary to the president’s baseless claims of mass electoral fraud across the country, Georgia’s voting system implementer Gabriel Sterling said on Friday he had seen no evidence of a such fraud in his State. “We don’t see any widespread irregularities; we don’t see anything widespread, ”he said. “We are investigating any credible accusation with real evidence behind it.”