Gathering Stories of Voter Suppression, Stacey Abrams Weighs Unprecedented Challenge Alleging Misconduct by GOP

Democrat Stacey Abrams has refused to concede her gubernatorial race to Republican Brian Kemp, citing rampant voter suppression efforts by Kemp's campaign which left provisional ballots uncounted across the state. (Photo: Stacey Abrams/Twitter)

Gathering Stories of Voter Suppression, Stacey Abrams Weighs Unprecedented Challenge Alleging Misconduct by GOP

"Waiting four hours to vote. Broken machines...Our democracy shouldn't look like this. Georgians deserve better, and we will continue to fight to count every vote."

In her fight to ensure every Georgia voter's voice is heard after a campaign marred by rampant voter suppression, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams is preparing an unprecedented legal challenge in which a court may hear directly from voters about their experiences trying to cast ballots on Election Day.

The Abrams campaign has not said whether it will definitely pursue the challenge, but evidence is being gathered so the team can do so within five days of election certification, as required by Georgia law.

Invoking a statute that has never before been used in a major election in the state, Abrams' team is collecting evidence from across the state that her Republican opponent, Brian Kemp, was behind "misconduct, fraud, or irregularities...sufficient to change or place in doubt the results."

Kemp, who until last Thursday was Georgia's secretary of state and in charge of overseeing its elections, declared himself the winner on November 6, but Abrams has yet to concede the race. She and political observers across the country have argued for months that there is more than enough evidence that Kemp committed gross misconduct.

Operating "as though the secretary of state's taxpayer-funded office [was] an arm of the campaign," as Abrams' campaign manager, Lauren Groh-Wargo, toldNPR last week, Kemp kicked more than 100,000 Georgians off the voter rolls and changed 53,000 people's voter status to "pending" due to clerical errors on their registration forms. The vast majority of those who were disenfranchised were African-American.

A federal court ruled this week that all provisional ballots must be counted and blocked election officials from certifying Kemp as the winner until Friday evening. Kemp currently has 50.2 percent of the vote and 18,000 more votes than he needs to avoid a run-off. Abrams is assembling a team of three dozen attorneys who may file a petition asserting that there are very likely far more than 18,000 Georgians who were not permitted to vote or whose ballots were improperly rejected.

After urging supporters to call the state's voter protection hotline to make sure their vote was counted, Abrams' team is gathering affidavits from voters who "describe long lines that discouraged people from voting, poll workers failing to offer provisional ballots to people who didn't show up on the rolls or were at the wrong polling place, and election equipment that froze and had to be rebooted," according to the Associated Press.

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