So far most of the post-election fun has taken place in Florida, but Georgia might end up topping even Broward County for sheer chutzpah. The legal team for Democratic gubernatorial nominee Stacey Abrams tells the Associated Press that they may go to court to get a runoff, even though Republican Brian Kemp has more than 50% of the vote. They will allege that fraud and voter suppression was so rampant that the results of the election — in which nearly 4 million voters cast ballots — has to be thrown out:
Stacey Abrams’ campaign and legal team is preparing an unprecedented legal challenge in the unresolved Georgia governor’s race that could leave the state’s Supreme Court deciding whether to force another round of voting.
The Democrat’s longshot strategy relies on a statute that’s never been used in such a high-stakes contest. It is being discussed as Georgia elections officials appear to be on the cusp of certifying Republican Brian Kemp as the winner of a bitterly fought campaign that’s been marred by charges of electoral malfeasance.
Top Abrams advisers outlined her prospective case to The Associated Press, stressing that the Democratic candidate hasn’t finalized a decision about whether to proceed once state officials certify Kemp as the victor. That could happen as early as Friday evening.
Note that AP phrasing — that he election has “been marred by charges of electoral malfeasance.” There hasn’t actually been any malfeasance established, although Democrats from Jimmy Carter on down were setting the stage for this argument in October. They demanded Kemp resign as secretary of state because he was running for governor, although that position is itself an elected office for which Kemp ran for re-election in 2014 without first resigning the post. Democrats have been trying to undermine confidence in the election in Georgia ever since they began to realize that Abrams wasn’t going to cross the finish line first.
The argument given to the AP is that their legal team will bring “a ream of affidavits from voters and would-be voters who say they were disenfranchised.” A ream consists of 500 sheets of paper, it should be noted. Abrams is presently 54,801 votes behind Kemp, or approximately 109.6 reams. Furthermore, Kemp is also 18,000+ votes (36 reams!) above 50% of the total ballots cast in this election, according to the AP analysis, which means a runoff is not needed. Add in the ream to Abrams’ total, even putting aside whether the complaints are valid or not, and it doesn’t change the outcome one whit. Kemp remains well above the 50% threshold, and Abrams still falls short.
Until now, the Abrams and Kemp campaigns have been fighting over the status of 27,000 provisional ballots. Why not just wait out that fight? For one thing, it’s only half of what Abrams would need to catch up, and as I wrote on Tuesday, it’s almost impossible for them to even push Kemp under 50%. Abrams would have to hope that Kemp gets less than 13% of the outstanding provisional ballots, even though most of them come from parts of the state where Kemp was getting 40% or more of the vote. Abrams’ only hope is to get the court to throw out the election altogether.
Will it work? Almost certainly not. Former SOS Cathy Cox, a Democrat, told the AP that every election has its errors, but to throw out an election requires obvious systemic malfeasance. Having a couple of “reams” of voter complaints amounting to 0.025% of the electorate doesn’t rise to that level — or at least shouldn’t.