Stacey Abrams Files Lawsuit Over Uncounted Votes in Georgia Governor Race

Stacey Abrams' campaign is asking election officials to include remaining provisional ballots and some rejected absentee ballots in the final tally in her race against Republican Brian Kemp.

by Marie Solis
Nov 12 2018, 4:27pm

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Nearly a week out of Tuesday's midterm elections, Democratic candidate Stacey Abrams is still in a race to beat Republican Brian Kemp for Georgia governor.

On Sunday, Abrams' campaign filed a federal lawsuit to stop election officials from throwing out the remaining provisional ballots she's hoping will give her the numbers she needs to trigger a runoff election. Abrams currently trails Kemp, who declared victory over Abrams last week, by just under 59,000 votes.

To bring the vote within the runoff margin, Abrams needs to close that gap by about 21,700 votes. The secretary of state's office, from which Kemp has since resigned, has reported that there are only 21,190 provisional ballots left to be counted, meaning that even if every ballot had been cast for Abrams, it still wouldn't be enough to legally require a runoff.

But the Abrams campaign doesn't yet see good reason to concede the race to Kemp, especially since a large share of the 5,000 votes counted over the weekend were added to Abrams' column.

“The bottom line is this race is not over," Abrams campaign manager Lauren Groh-Wargo told reporters during a Sunday press call, according to the Washington Post. "It is still too close to call, and we do not have confidence in the secretary of state's office."

Abrams' campaign argues there are as many as 26,000 remaining provisional ballots, many of them from voters in Gwinnett and DeKalb counties, where election officials had reportedly tossed out absentee ballots that included minor errors. Sunday's lawsuit asks that officials seek corrections for these errors from voters and count them in the final tally. The suit also asks election officials to count provisional ballots from voters who haven't updated their addresses on the voter rolls since moving.

The Kemp campaign has accused Abrams of moving from "desperation to delusion" with this latest effort to eke out a win; Abrams sees herself as leading a fight against voter disenfranchisement perpetrated by Kemp himself.

As Georgia secretary of state, Kemp reportedly purged some 340,000 voters from the rolls, and tried to block an additional 53,000 majority Black residents from registering to vote. On Election Day, outdated voting technology—and, some would say, malicious intent—kept Georgia voters in Gwinnett County, "a Democratic stronghold of predominantly minority voters," according to ThinkProgress, waiting in line to vote for more than four hours.

“This was definitely foreseeable,” Georgia Representative Hank Johnson told the outlet at the time. “It’s part of the last gasp attempts by Republicans to maintain their positions of privilege.”

At her results party early Wednesday morning, Abrams pledged to keep fighting for Georgia voters.

"Democracy only works when we work for it. When we fight for it. When we demand it," Abrams told the crowd. "I'm here to tell you tonight votes remain to be counted ...Georgia, you put your faith in me, but I want you to know tonight: The feeling is mutual.