Just as we see with the gubernatorial and senatorial elections in Florida, the race for Georgia governor is far from over. And as it has in the Sunshine State, things are getting heated, with both sides accusing the other of trying to steal the election. Even though Republican Brian Kemp has held a 58,150 vote (1.5%) lead over his progressive opponent since the day after the polls closed, Democrat Stacey Abrams refuses to concede until every vote is counted.
Run-off or no, the time has come for Stacey Abrams to admit defeat and move on with her life.
Wednesday, Nov. 14, Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) said that if Stacey Abrams doesn’t win the election, it will be because the Republicans stole it. Cody Hall, Brian Kemp’s press secretary, said Abrams and her “radical backers” would “stop at nothing to undermine democracy and attempt to steal this election to be Georgia’s next governor.”
To explain why the election isn’t over yet, Abrams pointed to the 21,190 provisional ballots – many of which wouldn’t typically be counted due to incomplete or incorrect information – and filed suit to demand not a single one be discarded. U.S. District Judge Steve Jones delivered a ruling that had both sides claiming a win. He ordered the secretary of state’s office to wait on certifying until all absentee ballots on which the voter’s birthdate is missing or incorrect are counted.
The judge did side, however, with Kemp’s campaign by not requiring counties to accept ballots with incorrect addresses or from people who voted in the wrong county. “Tonight, Judge Jones rejected efforts by Stacey Abrams and her radical allies to undermine the democratic process and rule of law in Georgia,” said Ryan Mahoney, communications director for the Kemp campaign. “He denied her requests to create new voters and slammed the door on attempts to count illegal votes.”
For those who might think this is no different from the contested votes in the Sunshine State, let’s compare the two. In Florida, the judge called it unreasonable to not allow voters whose ballot signatures don’t match those on their registrations to verify their identities by 5 p.m. Saturday. Note: He did not rule that all the contested votes be counted – only those that are proven legitimate by the new deadline. In Georgia, the judge – another Obama appointee – decided that ballots were acceptable even with missing or incorrect information, no additional verification needed. There’s a world of difference in those two rulings.
Despite Senator Brown’s declaration to the contrary, Stacey Abrams would have to find some way to “steal the election” to not have lost it. Both POLITICO and The New York Times show Kemp the winner, even if they refuse to officially call it. With 100% of the precincts reporting, Brian Kemp has 1,976,214 (50.3%), Stacey Abrams has 1,918,064 (48.8%), and Libertarian Ted Metz has 37,165 (0.9%).
Abrams seems to be hoping she’ll get all 21,190 provisional ballots counted – and that every one is a vote for her – so that she can force a run-off. O.C.G.A. § 21-2-501 section (a)(1) states:
“Except as otherwise provided in this Code section, no candidate shall be nominated for public office in any primary or special primary or elected to public office in any election or special election unless such candidate shall have received a majority of the votes cast to fill such nomination or public office. In instances where no candidate receives a majority of the votes cast, a run-off primary, special primary runoff, run-off election, or special election runoff between the candidates receiving the two highest numbers of votes shall be held.”
Since Georgia state law requires a majority of the total votes cast for the office, Abrams needs all but 103 of those provisional ballots to bring Kemp below the 50% threshold. Even if this astronomically unlikely outcome occurred, there’s still the 37,165 people who voted for Ted Metz. Sure, the Libertarian is quite liberal on marijuana and immigration, but how many of the pro-gun, pro-life, “taxation is theft” candidate’s supporters does the uber-progressive Abrams expect to win? Run-off or no, the time has come for Stacey Abrams to admit defeat and move on with her life.