Within hours of state officials moving to certify the results of the election for Georgia’s next governor on Friday, November 16, the word out of Democratic hopeful Stacey Abrams’ camp was that her campaign is preparing for a fight they’d likely take all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. The Democrats hope to overhaul the November 6 vote for a new election entirely.
In a conversation with the Associated Press, Abrams’ campaign chairwoman — Allegra Lawrence-Hardy — reportedly confirmed that a team of three-dozen lawyers have been organized to draw up a petition in the interests of stalling the current process of naming her competitor, Brian Kemp, the electoral victor. They also seek to gather affidavits from voters who claim to have been disenfranchised, and from citizens who insist that they were turned away from the polls.
While the chairwoman stopped short of declaring that plans for any specific sort of action have been finalized, she is quoted as having told the AP that the team is “considering all options,” should Republican challenger Brian Kemp be certified victor of the race.
The most drastic action would involve Abrams’ team banking on an unprecedented statute that would allow her campaign to challenge the legitimacy of the results due to suspected “misconduct, fraud or irregularities… sufficient to change or place in doubt the results.” No major candidate has ever gone such lengths to contest a Georgia election, but the bitter accusations of voter suppression that preceded the midterm vote appeared to only manifest on Election Day. In the 10 days that have passed since, allegations of failed and insufficient election equipment — going along with accounts of voters being turned away — are yet to have abated.
— The Hill (@thehill) November 16, 2018
In fact, as was previously reported by the Inquisitr, voting rights advocates were successful in getting a pair of federal judges to recognize wide-scale irregularities concerning the vote this past weekend. In determining that Kemp had neglected to institute protections in the face of threats to the election’s integrity, the initial certification date was pushed back, and extended time and resources were made available in order to enable a thorough count of tens of thousands of provisional ballots that would have otherwise been discarded.
As it stands, Kemp is leading Abrams with around 50.2 percent of the vote. However, more than 20 of the state’s counties had yet to certify their results coming into the week. With the number needed to drop Kemp below the majority mark being 18,000 votes, Abrams has stood firm in her confidence that outstanding provisional ballots in heavily Democratic districts will help close the gap. Should Kemp fail to win a majority, the race may be forced into a runoff.
Should Kemp be certified the winner of the gubernatorial race by Friday evening, Abrams would have five days to file a challenge in court. The Hill reports that Kemp would then be given no more than ten days to respond — after which point a judge would set a hearing date, providing he or she does not override the protest and determine that there is sufficient evidence to declare a winner.
If the judge refuses to recognize a winner, either a runoff would ensue — or the election’s results could be nullified entirely. In this rare event, a new election would be held in the state.