Abrams will not give up even though Kemp has a large lead.
Georgia’s Democrat governor candidate Stacey Abrams’ campaign has started to prepare to push for a new election for the governor’s race.
The Democrat’s longshot strategy relies on a statute that’s never been used in such a high-stakes contest. It is being discussed as Georgia elections officials appear to be on the cusp of certifying Republican Brian Kemp as the winner of a bitterly fought campaign that’s been marred by charges of electoral malfeasance.
Top Abrams advisers outlined her prospective case to The Associated Press, stressing that the Democratic candidate hasn’t finalized a decision about whether to proceed once state officials certify Kemp as the victor. That could happen as early as Friday evening.
Allegra Lawrence-Hardy, Abrams’ campaign chairwoman, is overseeing a team of almost three-dozen lawyers who in the coming days will draft the petition, along with a ream of affidavits from voters and would-be voters who say they were disenfranchised. Abrams would then decide whether to go to court under a provision of Georgia election law that allows losing candidates to challenge results based on “misconduct, fraud or irregularities … sufficient to change or place in doubt the results.”
The legal team is “considering all options,” Lawrence-Hardy said, including federal court remedies. But the state challenge is the most drastic. And some Democratic legal observers note Abrams would be dependent on statutes that set a high bar for the court to intervene.
Abrams needs 20,000 votes in order to have a runoff. Republican Brian Kemp leads with 50.2% of the vote with 3.9 million votes, “which puts him 18,000 above the threshold required to win by a majority and avoid a Dec. 4 runoff.” Abrams’ campaign have tried to find irregularities in those 18,000 votes:
Cathy Cox, a Democrat who served as secretary of state from 1999 through 2007 and is now the dean of Mercer University’s law school, said Georgia law puts a heavy burden on candidates such as Abrams who ask a court to intervene.
“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,” Cox said in an interview. The key, she said, is proving someone erred to the point that it could change the outcome.
Lawrence-Hardy agreed the law requires a quantitative analysis. She said Abrams’ team doesn’t have a list of 18,000 disenfranchised voters. The evidence, she said, would consist of hundreds, if not thousands of such examples, along with data analysis of projected lost votes based on other problems, such as a lack of paper ballots at precincts where voting machines broke down and voters left long lines.
Cox said courts must attempt to apply a nonpartisan standard of “doubt” to the election. “Would a reasonable person have a reason to doubt this election? Not would a hard-core partisan Democrat doubt a partisan Republican opponent,” she said.
Donations tax deductible
to the full extent allowed by law.