by Evie Fordham
Georgia Democrat Stacey Abrams’s campaign filed a lawsuit pertaining to the state’s gubernatorial race Sunday, still hoping to force a runoff election against Republican Brian Kemp.
The latest suit could extend Georgia counties’ vote certification deadline from Tuesday to Wednesday, reported The Washington Post. Abrams’s team also seeks to compel two counties to take a second look at absentee ballots that were rejected for minor mistakes, like writing the date a ballot was filled out in the date of birth slot, according to WaPo.
Kemp has a lead over Abrams, taking 50.3 percent of the vote with all precincts reporting, according to The Associated Press Monday. Abrams received 48.8 percent of the vote. Kemp needs to maintain more than 50 percent of the vote to avoid a runoff before results are certified Nov. 13, reported CNN.
Kemp declared victory Nov. 7 even though the race has not been called. Abrams has not conceded and gained a few thousand votes this weekend, according to WaPo.
The two counties at the center of the suit Abrams filed Sunday are Gwinnett and DeKalb, which are “large Democratic-leaning jurisdictions” according to WaPo.
“Stacey Abrams and her radical backers have moved from desperation to delusion,” Kemp spokesperson Ryan Mahoney told WaPo Sunday in response to Abrams’s suit. “Yesterday, military, overseas and provisional ballots were reported throughout Georgia. The counts are in line with publicly available tracking reports. This is not breaking news and does not change the math. Stacey Abrams lost and her concession is long overdue.”
Abrams’s team claims there are 26,000 provisional ballots that could sway the race her way. The Georgia secretary of state’s office says there are 21,190 provisional ballots compared to the 21,700 that Abrams would need to catalyze a runoff, according to WaPo.
Abrams’s litigation team also supported the Georgia Democratic Party in filing litigation in Georgia’s Dougherty County Thursday after reports that the county’s absentee ballots were not delivered to voters on time or at all, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Much of the controversy in Kemp and Abrams’s contest has stemmed from Kemp’s position as Georgia secretary of state, a position that oversees elections, which he held while running for office. Kemp resigned the post Thursday, and interim secretary of state Robyn Crittenden, the first African-American woman to serve as a statewide constitutional officer in Georgia’s history, was sworn in, reported The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Abrams’s campaign manager Lauren Groh-Wargo blamed Kemp for uncounted ballots and claimed stacks of absentee ballots could be “sitting on somebody’s dresser in their home” at a press conference Thursday.
“[Kemp] owns this, and he owes the people of Georgia an explanation,” she said Thursday.
Abrams and Kemp were locked in a tight race for Georgia’s governor as polls in the month leading up to Election Day showed the candidates either tied or leading by a statistically insignificant amount.
Abrams, Georgia’s former state House minority leader, repeatedly accused Kemp and his office of suppressing minority voters because of the “exact match” voter ID law that flags voter registrations with even slight discrepancies from other official identification documents, according to WaPo.
Georgia’s Democratic Party attempted to purchase ads Friday to support Abrams in the nonexistent runoff and had its request denied because the ads could violate campaign finance laws.
The race has garnered attention across the nation. President Donald Trump said it was “time to move on” in a tweet posted Friday.
“Brian Kemp ran a great race in Georgia – he won. It is time to move on!” Trump wrote.
.@BrianKempGA ran a great race in Georgia – he won. It is time to move on!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 9, 2018
The winner will replace current Republican Gov. Nathan Deal, who had served since 2011 and is leaving office because of Georgia’s two-term limit.
Abrams could become the first black female governor in the U.S. if she wins and could be Georgia’s first Democratic governor since 2003. Georgia has a long history of Democratic governors, including former President Jimmy Carter. Georgia’s last Democratic governor was Roy Barnes, who served from 1999 to 2003.
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