Georgia's governor and top elections official has certified results showing Joe Biden won the presidential race over Republican President Donald Trump.
It brings the state one step closer to wrapping up an election fraught with unfounded accusations of fraud by Trump and his supporters.
Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger certified results reported by the state's 159 counties that show Biden with 2.47 million votes, President Donald Trump with 2.46 million votes and Libertarian Jo Jorgensen with 62,138. That leaves Biden leading by a margin of 12,670 votes, or 0.25%.
Later on Friday, Gov. Brian Kemp certified the state's slate of 16 presidential electors. Kemp did not clearly endorse the results, instead he said the law requires him to "formalise the certification, which paves the way for the Trump campaign to pursue other legal options and a separate recount if they choose."
The Republican governor hasn't stepped forward to defend the integrity of this year's elections amid attacks by Trump and other members of his own party, who claim without evidence that the presidential vote in Georgia was tainted by fraud.
Kemp has neither endorsed Trump's fraud claims nor backed Raffensperger, a fellow Republican, in his assertion that the election was conducted fairly.
Trump's endorsement two years ago helped Kemp win a heated Republican primary and eke out a narrow general election victory over Democrat Stacey Abrams. Even after losing the White House, Trump is expected to remain a powerful influence with GOP voters in the upcoming Senate runoffs in Georgia as well as in 2022, when Kemp will have to seek reelection.
The counties' results were affirmed by a hand count of the five million ballots cast in the race, according to results released by the secretary of state's office. The tally resulted from an audit required by a new state law and wasn't in response to any suspected problems with the state's results or an official recount request.
Raffensperger said the hand tally confirmed Biden's victory.
Now that the results are certified, Trump's campaign will have two business days to request a recount since the margin is within 0.5%. That recount would be done using scanning machines that read and tally the votes and would be paid for by the counties, the secretary of state's office has said.
The hand count for the audit produced some slight differences from the previous machine tally, but no individual county showed a variation in margin larger than 0.73%, and the variation in margin in 103 of the state's 159 counties was less than 0.05%, the secretary of state's office said.