Joe Biden advanced President Donald Trump to Georgia on Friday, paving the way for him to become the first Democrat to win the state since 1992.
Biden leads by only 1,096 votes out of the 4.9 million total votes counted, with at least 8,000 votes to count. The margin is so narrow that many news organizations, including BuzzFeed News, do not project any winners.
Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said Friday morning that there will be a countdown. “Georgia is still too close to calling. Of the approximately 5 million votes cast, we will have a margin of a few thousand, “said Raffensperger.” With such a small margin, there will be a count in Georgia. “
A count could return the state to Trump.
Still, the fact that Biden thrived on a Republican stronghold in the far south is a major success. And a victory in Georgia would bring the Biden Electoral College’s tally to 269, just a timid vote of the 270 needed to win the presidency. In that case, any of the three swinging states still at stake (Arizona, Nevada, and Pennsylvania) would catapult Biden into the White House.
In Georgia and throughout the south and southwest, Democrats have been working for years to translate the state’s diversified electorate into a new path toward 270 votes in the Electoral College.
The first results had Trump well ahead, as rural Georgia votes poured in. But Biden pushed ahead with strong support in absent ballots from cities like Atlanta and Savannah and their suburbs.
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Trump won the state by 5 percentage points in 2016, below Republican Mitt Romney’s 8-point lead in 2012. Democrats hoped it would finally be the year that closes that gap. In the suburban counties around Atlanta, Republicans garnered a large number of votes, but these regions have become the majority of people of color in recent years and Biden won a lot of those elections there.
Biden’s advance also comes despite what voter rights advocates saw as a concerted effort by state Republicans to suppress the votes of democratic-leaning constituents.
“Every year after Republicans took the legislature in 2004, there was new or multiple legislation to make voting harder,” Vincent Fort, a former Democratic state senator who represented parts of BuzzFeed News, told BuzzFeed News. Atlanta. “The bottom line is that Republicans are losing the game. They know that the only way to win, because they will not try to diversify their party, is to suppress the votes.
But Democrats have also been working to increase their voter turnout. After Stacey Abrams narrowly lost her 2018 bid to become governor of Georgia, she devoted her energy to registering people to vote. She has said it more than 800,000 new voters have been registered in the state since 2018.
Georgia’s electoral rolls looked very different in the 2020 election compared to 2016. The percentage of registered voters who are white fell from 62% to 59% in the last four years and nearly a third of voters in the state they are. he is now under 35 years old.
In contrast to the president’s unfounded claims of massive election fraud across the country, Georgia’s voting system enforcement manager Gabriel Sterling said Friday that he had not seen any evidence of such fraud in his state. “We do not see widespread irregularities; we don’t see anything widespread, ”he said. “We are investigating any credible allegations with real evidence behind them.”