Federal Judge Rolls Out Georgia Midterm Ruling That Has Abrams Ready

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Republicans are always concerned about free and fair elections, so concerned that they have insisted on voter ID laws to prevent the incredibly rare occurrence of ineligible voters going to the polls.

Their concerns for free and fair elections ends abruptly when their candidates are ahead without all of the votes tallied. At that point, they want the count ended, the GOP candidate declared the winner, and thousands of voters disenfranchised in case they are Democratic voters whose legal votes will cause them to lose.

On Tuesday, one week after midterm voting took place, a federal judge responded to Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Kemp’s lawsuit demanding that every vote, including provisional and absentee ballots, be counted. Her opponent, who is the secretary of state for Georgia, refused to recuse himself from the election supervision that is part of his job duties despite being a candidate.

The judge ordered that Kemp’s “exact match” policy, which excluded a large number of voter registrations from eligibility if they forgot to list their birthdates, missed a hyphen or accent mark that was included in their names on their licenses, or didn’t include the middle initial they had used on other official paperwork, did not allow the state to skip counting those ballots.

It should come as no surprise that about 70 percent of the delayed voter registration applications were from black citizens and others who live in predominantly black communities.

The New York Times reports:

‘Georgia’s secretary of state, Robyn A. Crittenden, had been preparing to certify the outcome of the election as soon as Wednesday, one day after Georgia’s 159 counties were to complete their tabulations and six days before state law mandated certification. But in a 56-page ruling on Monday night, Judge Totenberg forbade Ms. Crittenden, who assumed office only last week, from certifying the results until at least Friday evening.

‘Judge Totenberg, who had already raised concerns about Georgia’s system of elections this year, wrote that the state’s announced timetable for a swift certification “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.”’

Should Stacey Abrams recieve another 58,000 votes as the ballots are counted, she will catch up to Kemp. However, that’s not really necessary. Georgia is one of ten states that require a candidate to receive at least 50.1 percent of the votes to avoid forcing a runoff. Abrams needs only about 20,000 more votes to achieve that.

‘The renewed validity of any ballots could narrow the margin in the already close race for governor. Unofficial returns showed Monday night that even as Mr. Kemp held a lead of about 58,000 votes, he could afford to lose only 21,000 or so votes before facing a runoff election against Ms. Abrams. If Ms. Abrams were to net about 19,000 votes, a recount would be required under state law.’

It’s uncertain how the ruling will affect the election, but Democrats are pleased that the ruling will stand and every vote will be counted, while Kemp’s camp complained.

‘Lauren Groh-Wargo, Ms. Abrams’s campaign manager, welcomed Monday night’s decision as “good news.” Mr. Kemp’s campaign did not immediately comment, but in a statement on Monday morning, hours before Judge Totenberg’s ruling, a spokesman asserted that Ms. Abrams “lost, and her concession is long overdue.”’

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