UPDATE — 11/16, 5:35 p.m. EST: Georgia’s Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams said in speech late Friday afternoon she does not have the votes to defeat Republican challenger Brian Kemp, but will file “a major federal lawsuit against the state of Georgia for the gross mismanagement of this election and to protect future elections.”
The latest vote tally shows Kemp leading Abrams by over 54,000 votes, above the 50 percent total vote threshold needed to win outright. Abrams is asserting thousands of ballots were either illegally thrown out or state residents were prevented from voting as a result of technical issues like non-matching birth dates.
A federal judge on Monday ruled in favor of Democrat Stacey Abrams’ lawsuit requesting election officials review thousands of provisional ballots in Georgia’s close gubernatorial election.
A second U.S. district court ruling Tuesday found Gwinnett County, north of Atlanta, in violation of the Civil Rights Act for throwing out absentee ballots with incorrect birth years and ordered all such votes to be counted.
“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,” a statement from Abrams’ campaign read.
A major win for the upstart member of the Peach State’s General Assembly, Abrams’ court victory could delay the state’s Nov. 20 election certification deadline.
In Monday’s court filing, advocacy group Common Cause Georgia sought an emergency injunction to prevent certification of the election, claiming provisional ballots were not counted.
A provisional ballot is legal voting method when a question arises over voter eligibility. Often used when administrative error occurs, the ballot can be used in instances in which a person has been purged from voter rolls or eligibility is uncertain.
Georgia recorded a total of 21,190 provisional ballots in the state’s gubernatorial race. Abrams trails Kemp by approximately 58,000 votes. Abrams’ campaign requires a net of 20,000 more votes in her favor to force a runoff on Dec.4.
In a Monday evening ruling, U.S. District Judge Amy Totenberg extended the election certification over concerns with Georgia’s voter registration and the handling of provisional ballots.
“Repeated inaccuracies were identified in the voter registration system that caused qualified voters likely to lose their vote or to be channeled at best into the provisional voting process because their registration records did not appear or had been purged from the data system,” Totenberg wrote in her ruling.
Totenberg also decided the state can not certify the election any earlier than 5 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 16. Similarly, the judge ruled the state must establish a hotline and create website access for voters to verify their vote was counted.
Unlike the state certification deadline, Georgia’s 159 counties are required to settle vote tallies Tuesday.
The judge’s ruling comes as Abrams’ challenger, Brian Kemp, called on his Democratic opponent to concede the race, describing Abrams’ lawsuit and refusal to accept defeat a “disgrace to democracy.”
Kemp, who served as secretary of state until his Nov. 8 resignation, issued a statement declaring it is “mathematically impossible” for Abrams to close the gap separating the candidates.
If Ms. Abrams overcomes Mr. Kemp’s lead, she would become the first black female governor in American history.
Editor’s note: This article has been updated.
[Fox News] [The Hill] [Atlanta Journal-Constitution] [AP] [Photo courtesy Governing]