Dem Stacey Abrams assembles legal team to count votes amid reports absentee ballots not delivered

Evie Fordham, DCNFDCNF

  • Republican Brian Kemp has claimed victory in the Georgia governor’s race although it has not been officially called.
  • Kemp’s team says there are not enough uncounted votes to offset his lead over Democrat Stacey Abrams.
  • Abrams has not conceded and plans to file litigation so every vote is counted.

Democrat Stacey Abrams’s team announced she’s filing litigation in a Georgia county, at a Thursday news conference hours after Republican Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp resigned his current position and claimed victory in the governor’s race.

Georgia gubernatorial candidates (L-R) Democrat Stacey Abrams and Republican Brian Kemp debate in an event that also included Libertarian Ted Metz at Georgia Public Broadcasting in Midtown October 23, 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by John Bazemore-Pool/Getty Images)

Abrams’s team is filing litigation in Dougherty County Thursday after reports that the county’s absentee ballots were not delivered on time.

Abrams’s team also argued that Kemp’s lead of roughly 25,000 votes was not enough to grant him automatic victory because of 25,000 absentee and provisional ballots that the Democrat’s team claims have not yet been counted.

“Our point is the one that has been made twice now,” Abrams litigation team member John Chandler said Thursday. “To put it very simply all the votes haven’t been counted. How can anybody claim a victory when there are enough votes that have not been counted that could cause a runoff here? … We believe everybody is entitled to have their vote counted.”

Abrams’s campaign manager Lauren Groh-Wargo blamed Kemp for the uncounted ballots and claimed stacks of absentee ballots could be “sitting on somebody’s dresser in their home.”

“He owns this, and he owes the people of Georgia an explanation,” she said Thursday.

Kemp has a lead over Abrams, taking 50.3 percent of the vote with all precincts reporting, according to The Associated Press Thursday. Abrams received 48.7 percent of the vote, and Libertarian Ted Metz received 0.9 percent. Kemp needs to maintain more than 50 percent of the vote to avoid a runoff before results are certified on Nov. 13 , reported CNN.

Kemp declared victory over Abrams Wednesday before the race was officially called.

“What a great night in Georgia,” Kemp said Wednesday. “I certainly knew it would not be easy. … I entered public service out of frustration. I wanted to make it easier for hard-working Georgians to build better lives for their families.”

He announced he was officially stepping down as Georgia secretary of state Thursday, reported WSB Atlanta.

Abrams had refused to concede.

“I promise you tonight, we are going to make sure every vote is counted,” she said early Wednesday morning hours after the polls closed. “Every single vote. … The machinery of democracy should work for everyone, everywhere.”

Abrams and her supporters hoped that Kemp had not garnered enough votes, which would result in a runoff on Dec. 4, according to Fortune.

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.

Kemp’s office announced Sunday that it opened an investigation into the Georgia Democratic Party for allegedly attempting to hack the state’s voter registration system.

“While we cannot comment on the specifics of an ongoing investigation, I can confirm that the Democratic Party of Georgia is under investigation for possible cyber-crimes,” a spokeswoman for the secretary of state, Candice Broce, said in a statement.

Abrams called the investigation “a desperate attempt on the part of my opponent to distract people from the fact that two different federal judges found him derelict in his duties,” Abrams said Sunday, according to CNN.

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 The Washington Post.

Both Kemp and Abrams had high-profile figures join them on the campaign trail in the days before Election Day. Former President Barack Obama supported Abrams. She also touted support from celebrities such as Oprah Winfrey and Will Ferrell.

Vice President Mike Pence stumped for Kemp on Oct. 1, and President Donald Trump stumped for him Sunday.

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.

Follow Evie on Twitter @eviefordham.

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