Georgia’s hard-fought and bitter governor’s race still isn’t over. Nor was it just a gubernatorial campaign pitting rightwing Trump acolyte Brian Kemp against insurgent Democrat Stacy Abrams and her bid to become the first African American woman governor in US history. Instead it was a battle years in the making, and it was not so much about who to vote for – but who could vote at all. Kemp has declared victory and handed in his resignation as secretary of state – the very office that oversees this contentious election. The outgoing governor Nathan Deal, has declared him the victor. There’s just one catch. Abrams’ campaign team is still counting the votes. Her campaign manager, Lauren Groh-Wargo, said from the campaign headquarters Thursday: “All of the votes in this race have not been counted. All the voters of Georgiadeserve to be counted before the now-former secretary of state announces his victory.” According to a statement posted on the Georgia secretary of state’s website while Kemp was still in that role, counties have until 9 November to verify provisional ballots and until 13 November to certify the results.
As of Friday morning, the unofficial election results show Kemp with a lead of more than 63,000 votes – a gap Abrams has closed from 75,000 since election night – in an election where nearly 4 million ballots were cast. In Georgia, a runoff is triggered when neither candidate secures 50% plus one vote, which Abrams’s team claimed could happen if she gains 25,632 votes.
After Kemp’s resignation, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People president Derrick Johnson released a statement, filled with refrains echoed by other legal experts, civil rights figures and Kemp’s adversaries during and prior to the election.
He said: “Kemp’s actions during the election were textbook voter suppression. His actions were strategic, careless and aimed at silencing the voting power of communities of color in the state.”