A federal judge blocked Georgia’s secretary of state from certifying election results until at least Friday in order to allow time to properly review thousands of provisional ballots.
Democratic candidate Stacey Abrams was one-third of a percentage point away from a runoff with Republican Brian Kemp as of late last week and hasn’t conceded despite calls from President Donald Trump to stand down. Kemp also resigned from his post as secretary of state last week, preemptively declaring victory.
Votes are still being counted this week and results had been expected on Wednesday. The state had to dole out provisional ballots to as many as 27,000 voters whose registration hadn’t been verified by election day. It uses a so-called “exact match” system to register new voters, which left about 53,000 people with pending registrations. Kemp was the one overseeing these processes in his role as secretary of state.
According to Judge Amy Totenberg, the state’s attempt to quickly certify ballots “appears to suggest the secretary’s foregoing of its responsibility to confirm the accuracy of the results prior to final certification, including the assessment of whether serious provisional balloting count issues have been consistently and properly handled.”
Georgia is now required to take steps including the creation of a hotline and website, allowing voters to check if their ballots were counted, a review of provisional ballots and the release of information about all of the provisional ballots that were cast last week.
“This ruling is a victory for the voters of Georgia because we are all stronger when every eligible voter is allowed to participate in our elections,” Sara Henderson, executive director for Common Cause Georgia, the group that filed the lawsuit, said in a statement. “This victory helps achieve greater voter confidence in our elections.”
Kemp’s campaign, meanwhile, accused Democrats of trying to steal the election.
“It’s incredibly shameful that liberal lawyers are doubling down on lawsuits desperately trying to create more votes for Stacey Abrams,” Kemp spokesman Ryan Mahoney said. “They don’t want to win this election. They are trying to steal it.”