The information outlined below was provided direct from the Abrams campaign. It has been published in its entirety without edits.
This evening, Abrams for Governor campaign manager Lauren Groh-Wargo and attorney and campaign chair Allegra Lawrence-Hardy outlined why Secretary of State Brian Kemp’s declaration of victory is premature at best.
Full audio recording can be found here.
The current state of the votes
- The Abrams campaign is currently at a deficit of 62,881 votes – that is the lead that Brian Kemp currently holds. Again, there were more than 3.7 million votes cast.
- An additional 23,7833 Abrams votes pushes this race into recount threshold *
- An additional 25,632 Abrams votes pushes this race into runoff threshold **
Claims from Brian Kemp’s Campaign/Office of the Secretary of State
- There are 22,000 provisional ballots
- There are 3,000 outstanding ballots
- Combined, there are therefore a total of 25,000 total outstanding ballots.
- NOTE: Kemp has offered no data, no proof, and no county breakdown. We believe these 25,000 ballots are in predominantly Democratic areas, but the Secretary of State has offered no proof, no data, and no breakdowns. Our campaign is on ground in all 159 counties collecting data, information and stories of voting irregularities and voter suppression. While this is the job of the Secretary of State, Brian Kemp’s ongoing failure to do his job has necessitated the Abrams Campaign’s stepping in to ensure voters rights are protected.
What the voters want and deserve
- The voters of Georgia deserve to have their questions answered and their votes counted before the sitting Secretary of State crowns himself Governor
- On behalf of the voters of Georgia, the Abrams for Governor campaign is asking for all the data to be shared with our campaign immediately.
- As well, Brian Kemp is being called on to finally resign his position and designate a nonpartisan bureaucrat to oversee the certification process of the election results.
Moving forward to ensure protection of Georgians’ voting rights
- As the Stacey Abrams for Governor campaign considers all avenues to ensure that every single vote cast by Georgia’s citizens is counted, it has announced the formation of its litigation team, led by: John Chandler, Elizabeth Tanis, Allegra Lawrence-Hardy, Dara Lindenbaum, and Kurt Kastorf.
- John Chandler, a retired Sutherland Asbill & Brennan and King & Spalding partner, is a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers and has 40 years’ experience trying cases. Beth, who also was a partner at Sutherland Asbill & Brennan and King & Spalding, is an experienced trial lawyer listed as a leading lawyer in Chambers USA America’s Leading Lawyers for Business and was named by Atlanta magazine as one of Georgia’s top 100 lawyers and top 50 female lawyers.
- Allegra Lawrence-Hardy, a founding partner of Lawrence & Bundy, and a former partner at Sutherland Asbill & Brennan, has extensive experience handling election law matters, most recently representing the City of Atlanta in the very close mayoral election of 2017. She has over 20 years of litigation experience and is a fellow in the Litigation Counsel of America and is listed in Best Lawyers in America. Ms. Lawrence-Hardy also serves as Chair of the Abrams for Governor campaign.
- Dara Lindenbaum, a senior counsel at Sandler Reiff Lamb Rosenstein & Birkenstock, P.C., advises federal, state and local political committees and candidates; state parties; ballot measure committees; 501(c)(3) and (c)(4) organizations and for-profit corporations. She counsels clients on complying with state and federal campaign finance and election laws and regularly represents clients before the Federal Election Commission, federal and state courts, and state and local election boards. Prior to joining Sandler Reiff, she was an associate counsel in the Voting Rights Project at the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law where she focused on election law and voting rights. She is a member of the Steering Committee for the Political Law Studies Initiative at George Washington University Law School.
- Kurt Kastorf, of the Summerville Firm LLC, is an appellate and Supreme Court litigator with particular knowledge of constitutional and election law issues, both in Georgia and nationally. He has served as general counsel to a U.S. Congressional Campaign, and helped to plan and implement litigation strategy for Hillary for America.
- Members of the Abrams litigation team have been involved in some of the most important litigation strategies in US elections over the past decade and beyond, including the presidential race in Florida in 2000, Hillary for America, as well as congressional, state and local races. They are exploring all options to defend the constitution and ensure that the constitutional rights of all Georgians are upheld.
· * Recounts – Candidates that lose by one percent or less have the right to request a recount within two business days of the Secretary of State’s certification of the results.
- Absentee ballots are counted on Election Day.
- The counties must begin the canvass by noon on November 7th.
- Provisional voters have until 4pm on Friday, November 9th to cure issues with their ballots.
- The county returns must be certified by the county Superintendent by 5pm on Monday, November 12th. Since November 12th is Veterans Day, some counties may postpone their certification until Tuesday, November 13th. It is our understanding that the Secretary of State’s Office has not issued guidance to the counties on how to handle the holiday.
- The Secretary of State must certify the results by 5pm on November 20th.
· ** Runoffs – If no candidate wins a majority of the votes cast to fill that office, there will be a run-off election. The run-off will be held on December 4, 2018, unless postponed by court order, and will only include non-federal candidates.
Early Voting: During a run-off, the county only needs to have early voting “as soon as possible.” There is no statutory timeline for when early voting must start, but it must end by the Friday before the election.
In 2017, the Mayoral runoff was on December 5th. Fulton County had 5 days of early voting from November 27th-December 1st in 18 locations while Dekalb had voting in two locations from November 27th-December 3rd with no voting on December 2nd. We anticipate that counties outside of Fulton will have 5 days of early voting in one or two locations.
Vote by Mail: Unless the counties send out absentee ballots to all those who requested them for the general election, it is unlikely that the short window of time will allow for voters to submit their absentee ballot applications, have the counties process the applications, receive and vote the absentee ballot, and return it to the county prior to election day.
The Kemp campaign declared victory Wednesday afternoon, saying Brian Kemp leads Stacey Abrams by 1.6%, or more than 64,000 votes.
“Brian Kemp earned nearly two million votes on Tuesday – by far the most of any gubernatorial candidate in our state’s history,” said Cody Hall, Press Secretary. “Absentee ballots are counted and Kemp leads his opponent by 64,000 votes. Based on counts released by the Secretary of State’s office, Brian Kemp’s margin is so large that the number of provisional ballots and overseas ballots will not change his Election Day victory. Simply put, it is mathematically impossible for Stacey Abrams to win or force a run-off election.