After a tight race in which Republican Brian Kemp retained enough of a lead to avoid an automatic runoff, the Georgia governorship is coming down to legal strategy. And the camp of Democrat Stacey Abrams is preparing a challenge that would use a state law never before applied at this level of electoral politics, according to the Associated Press. Abrams would request a new vote based on “misconduct, fraud or irregularities … sufficient to change or place in doubt the results” because of voter suppression.
The campaign’s legal team is “considering all options,” according to chairwoman Allegra Lawrence-Hardy, a lawyer who worked on the 2000 presidential election dispute in Florida between Bush and Gore. Almost three dozen lawyers are taking affidavits from people claiming to have been prevented from voting and preparing a court petition.
Because Kemp is ahead by some 18,000 votes, the Abrams campaign would have to argue not only that irregularities occurred, but that there were enough to cause at least 18,000 votes to be unlawfully denied or disregarded.
Legal timing means a court action would happen well after a set December 4th runoff election date. A judge could declare a winner, order a later runoff, or, in the most extreme situation, declare the entire election invalid and instruct the state to hold another.
Kemp’s position as Georgia’s secretary of state only inflamed anger, as the office oversees elections. Last week he declared himself the winner and offered his resignation from that position. On Sunday, Abrams filed a lawsuit to have provisional and rejected absentee ballots to be counted.