Democrat Stacey Abrams said she expects a federal judge to rule Wednesday in largely her favor regarding the federal lawsuit from her campaign filed over the weekend in hopes of forcing a runoff election in Georgia’s unsettled governor’s race.
In a tweet on Tuesday, Abrams said her legal team plans on receiving “a ruling by noon tomorrow, and we expect to receive most of the relief we have asked for.”
If the judge rules in favor of Abrams, the suit would prevent officials from certifying county vote totals until Wednesday and could restore at least 1,095 votes that weren’t counted as it would require officials to tally any votes that were wrongly rejected. The campaign said thousands of more ballots could be affected.
Each of Georgia’s 159 counties must certify final returns by Tuesday, and many have done so already. The state must certify a statewide result by Nov. 20.
Brian Kemp, her Republican challenger, issued a statement on Saturday, a day before Abrams filed the lawsuit, calling for his opponent to concede. Kemp has declared victory and said it is “mathematically impossible” for her campaign to force a runoff.
Kemp had 50.3 percent of the vote as of late Tuesday evening, according to The New York Times and was leading by roughly 59,000 ballots.
Abrams’ campaign manager, Lauren Groh-Wargo, tweeted Tuesday afternoon that “it’s not just provisionals, there are still Election Day and mail votes being reported in places that were ‘100%’ reported, & none from Gwinnett.”
She said Abrams received 84.6 percent of the 2,738 votes reported Tuesday, before adding that the margin to force a runoff election has narrowed to 18,617.
In a separate lawsuit, a federal judge on Monday ordered Georgia to take steps to protect provisional ballots and to wait until Friday to certify the results of the midterm elections that include an unsettled race for governor.
Common Cause, a nonpartisan group, claimed in the suit that Kemp, while secretary of state, failed to maintain “the security of voter information despite known vulnerabilities” leading up to the midterm. The suit blasted the state’s “provisional ballot scheme,” that could disenfranchise a registered voter at the ballot box.
Judge Amy Totenberg, who was appointed by President Obama, also ruled that Georgia must not certify the election results before Friday at 5 p.m., which falls before the Nov. 20 deadline set by state law.
Abrams is hoping to become the first African-American woman governor of a U.S. state.
If Kemp is able to hold onto his narrow lead to avoid a runoff election, his governorship will be marred by lingering questions about his handling of a contentious election he oversaw as secretary of state.