In a victory for Stacey Abrams, a federal judge extends deadline in Georgia’s contested Governor’s race
A week after voters headed to the polls in Georgia, a federal judge is making sure that all the votes that were cast in the contentious governor’s race will be counted.
Georgia Northern District Court Judge Amy Totenberg ruled in favor of a lawsuit filed by the advocacy group Common Cause Georgia that was seeking an emergency injunction to ensure that “all provisional ballots cast by eligible registered voters in the 2018 general election are properly counted.”
The group alleges that Republican candidate Brian Kemp, who continued to serve as Secretary of State overseeing his own election, failed to maintain the security of voter information despite known vulnerabilities leading up to the election. The lawsuit claimed that voters who took steps to register and maintain their registration may have arrived at the polls and were not permitted to cast a regular ballot.
According to WXIA, the judge ruled that the state must establish a hotline for voters so they can check status of provisional ballot. Additionally, the state must conduct a thorough review of all provisional ballots cast and all information about provisional ballots must be made available to election superintendents.
The ruling prevents the current Secretary of State, Robyn Crittendon, from certifying the results of the election until this Friday at 5 p.m. The original deadline had been set for Tuesday.
Kemp has already declared himself the winner of the race and has since resigned as secretary of state. Meanwhile, Stacey Abrams has vowed not to concede until every vote cast is counted.
Donald Trump tweeted his thoughts on the race November 9, writing it was time to move on.
.@BrianKempGA ran a great race in Georgia – he won. It is time to move on!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 9, 2018
But according to the lawsuit, Common Cause Georgia can also pursue further legal action, and have until Nov. 26 to make the next step. The Abrams camp is hoping that enough votes come in to potentially trigger a runoff election in December.
In Georgia, if no candidate gets 50 percent of the vote, an automatic runoff is called.
“I am fighting to make sure our democracy works for and represents everyone who has ever put their faith in it. I am fighting for every Georgian who cast a ballot with the promise that their vote would count,” Abrams said in a statement explaining her refusal to end her bid to become the first black woman elected governor in American history.
A total of 21,190 provisional ballots were cast in the state during the midterm, 12,151 were cast in 2014. Four Democratic-leaning counties with the largest number of provisional ballots — Cobb, DeKalb, Fulton, and Gwinnett – “had not yet reported their numbers to the secretary as of November 11,” the suit said.
Kemp was up 50.2 percent to Abrams’ 48.7 percent early Tuesday.
“This ruling is a victory for the voters of Georgia because we are all stronger when every eligible voter is allowed to participate in our elections,” Sara Henderson, executive director for Common Cause Georgia, which filed the lawsuit, told AJC.com.