Stacey Abrams’s campaign and legal team of almost three-dozen lawyers are preparing for legal battle in the Democrat’s race for Georgia governor, an unprecedented challenge that could go up to the state’s Supreme Court.
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Abrams is reportedly relying on a Georgia statute that has never before been used during a consequential election, The Associated Press reported.
Republican Brian Kemp currently holds about 18,000 votes more than the threshold required to win by a majority and prevent a Dec. 4 runoff. He has secured an estimated 50.2 percent of the 3.9 million votes, but the AP has held off calling the race until the state officials can certify results.
Abrams’s team told the outlet that it has not yet finalized an action plan for once state officials certify that Kemp won the election, which could happen as early as Friday.
Campaign chairwoman Allegra Lawrence-Hardy told the AP that Abrams’s legal team is “considering all options.”
This includes drafting a petition with affidavits from Georgia voters or would-be voters who say they were disenfranchised from participating in the Nov. 6 elections.
Abrams could also decide to use a provision of the Georgia election law that allows losing candidates to challenge certified results based on “misconduct, fraud or irregularities … sufficient to change or place in doubt the results.”
She would only have five days after officials certify the race to file a legal challenge in a trial court. The defendant would have between five and 10 days to respond and a judge would set a hearing within another 20 days, which could push back the run-off election by several weeks.
A judge could also declare the election invalid altogether and call for a new vote, the AP noted. They could also declare a winner after hearing evidence, although that is reportedly unlikely.
The loser would have 10 days to appeal the judge’s decision to the Georgia Supreme Court.
Kemp, who previously acted as the state’s chief elections officer until he resigned after the election, has repeatedly been accused of voter suppression — particularly among potential minority and lower-income voters.
Abrams could claim in court that uncounted or incorrectly labeled ballots could have blocked 18,000 Georgians from participating in the election, which would drop Kemp’s vote total below the 50 percent majority threshold and automatically trigger a run-off election.
Abrams and Kemp both claimed victory on Wednesday after a federal judge ordered the secretary of state’s office not to certify results until absentee ballots on which the voter’s date of birth is missing or incorrect are counted.