By Itoro N. Umontuen
Monday, Republican gubernatorial candidate Brian Kemp said it’s “long overdue” for Democrat Stacey Abrams to concede. Kemp, formerly Georgia’s Secretary of State, crowned himself the winner of the contentious governor’s race and stepped down from the office at 12pm Thursday afternoon.
“Stacey Abrams and her radical backers have moved from desperation to delusion,” said Ryan Mahoney, Kemp’s communications director, in a statement. “On Saturday, 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.”
Sunday, the Abrams campaign filed a lawsuit in federal court alleging absentee ballots were not counted. Furthermore, the purpose of the lawsuit is to make election officials accept rejected provisional ballots that have incomplete or missing information if they can verify voter information through additional means.
The Kemp campaign said there are 21,190 provisional ballots still outstanding and if all of those ballots were for Abrams, it would not be enough to trigger a run-off election. Coincidentally, that number is inline with estimates given by the Georgia Secretary of State’s office. Meanwhile, the Abrams campaign believes there are a total of 33,507 ballots that were not counted (26,846 provisional ballots, 1,303 early votes, 2,674 vote-by-mail (absentee) ballots and 2,684 military and overseas ballots).
“Almost a week after Election Day, we find ourselves in the not unfamiliar place of having to fight for the representation and rights of Georgia voters who were not seen or heard in this election — an election overseen by Georgia governor candidate and recent Secretary of State Brian Kemp,” said Abrams campaign manager Lauren Groh-Wargo.
“So here’s what we know: Georgia voters were confronted at the voting booth by widespread irregularities, which were reported by multiple media outlets. Insufficient machine, long lines, confused poll workers, conflicting and arbitrary guidance that varied widely by county — none of it designed to make voting easy or simple for millions of eligible Georgia voters.”
Kemp faced numerous charges of attempted voter suppression during the campaign and demands from Democrats that he step aside as Georgia’s chief elections official, which he dismissed.
Also on Monday, Democratic Senators Cory Booker of New Jersey and Brian Schatz of Hawaii released a joint letter asking the Justice Department’s civil rights division to investigate claims of voter suppression in the race.
“The Department of Justice still has the authority and the obligation to enforce the Voting Rights Act and protect the right to vote,” the senators said in a statement. “In the case of Georgia’s election, the DOJ should ensure that all votes are counted and that voters have a meaningful opportunity to ensure their absentee and provisional ballots are counted; and conduct a thorough investigation into the potential voting rights abuses that have been reported before, during, and after the election.”
In October, the Associated Press concluded 53,000 voter registrations were on hold due to Georgia’s exact-match law and the aforementioned letter focuses on the controversial law.
No media outlet has been able to call this election as of 7:00PM Monday evening.
This article originally appeared in the Atlanta Voice.