Democrat Stacey Abrams, who failed to defeat Republican Brian Kemp in the election to be the next governor of Georgia, is planning to go to court to demand another election on the grounds that voting irregularities cost her the election.
The Washington Post reported that Abrams appears ready to demand in court that Kemp should not take office, resorting to a never-before-used Georgia law that allows a candidate to file a challenge based on “misconduct, fraud or irregularities … sufficient to change or place in doubt the results.”
The decision could ultimately fall to the state’s Supreme Court.
Kemp is likely to be named the winner as soon as Friday night, a step that would trigger the lawsuit from Abrams, according to The Associated Press.
“Since the beginning, our campaign has been dedicated to lifting up the voices of every community,” said Abrams campaign manager Lauren Groh-Wargo.
“We have heard from countless Georgians about massive irregularities wrought by a secretary of state who ran his own election in order to crown himself governor,” she continued. “We have been transparent that we have looked into multiple legal strategies in order to count every vote in our state — and that work continues as we decide our next steps.”
Kemp’s campaign said Abrams’ claims are not legitimate.
“Gov.-elect Brian Kemp earned a clear and convincing victory on Election Day. The campaign is over, and Kemp’s focus is on building a safer, stronger future for Georgia families,” said Kemp’s campaign spokesman, Ryan Mahoney.
“Stacey Abrams’s latest publicity stunt is sad and desperate,” Mahoney added. “Elections in America aren’t decided in the courtroom. They’re decided fair and square by the people, at the ballot box.”
Abrams had hoped that a recount would push the total votes cast for Kemp below the 50 percent threshold. If she had been successful, under Georgia law, there would have been a runoff election between the top two vote-getters. However, as of Thursday, Kemp was about 18,000 above the number needed to trigger that provision.
Abrams would need to show in court that at least that many potential voters were not allowed to cast their votes, or had their votes wrongly rejected.
Abrams would have an uphill battle to prove not only that errors occurred, but that they were all aimed at hurting her campaign.
“I would say with pretty great confidence there has probably never been an election … without some irregularity, where some poll worker did not make some mistake,” said Democrat Cathy Cox, who was Georgia’s secretary of state from 1999 through 2007.
As of early Friday, the campaign had not announced its final decision. But Allegra Lawrence-Hardy, Abrams’ campaign chairwoman, seemed to imply that the campaign would take on the unprecedented legal battle.
“These stories to me are such that they have to be addressed,” Lawrence-Hardy said. “It’s just a much bigger responsibility. I feel like our mandate has blossomed. … Maybe this is our moment.”
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