The excitement of Election Night was palpable throughout the state of Georgia. Many individuals of differing political persuasions filed into their favorite bars, restaurants and speakeasies to meet and discuss the returns as they trickled in. However, at least one race remained undecided: the race to Georgia’s governor’s mansion.
Republican Brian Kemp — the Secretary of State — currently leads Democrat Stacey Abrams by a grand total of 64,313 votes, according to the Georgia Secretary of State’s office. There are absentee, mail-in and provisional ballots throughout Cobb, Gwinnett and Fulton Counties that need to be counted. The Abrams campaign believes there are enough outstanding ballots to trigger a December runoff election. The amount needed to trigger a runoff election is less than 60,000 votes.
According to exit polls by CBS News, race played a major role in the election. Black voters comprised about 30 percent of the electorate and whites 60 percent — figures similar to recent elections. Abrams won the bulk of black votes (92 percent) and Kemp was up big among white voters (74 percent).
On Wednesday afternoon, around 4:26 p.m., a statement from the Secretary of State’s office announced that a record number of Georgians had cast their ballots in a mid-term election. Immediately after the polls closed, county election officials worked through the night to tabulate ballots.
“Clarke, Fulton, Hall, and Gwinnett counties completed tabulation of their remaining absentee ballots. Less than 3,000 non-provisional votes remain state-wide. Cobb and Chatham are expected to complete tabulation (Wednesday),” the statement read. “County officials have reported less than 22,000 provisional ballots cast statewide. Counties have until Friday, Nov. 9 to verify provisional ballots and until Tuesday, Nov. 13 at 5 p.m. to certify their results. The Secretary of State’s office will certify the final results after county certification and no later than Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2018.”
Approximately 3.92 million people voted in Georgia’s gubernatorial race, translating to 60 percent (3,927,579 voted) of the state’s electorate (6,447,139 eligible voters).
Tuesday evening, there were provisional ballots given to those who could not stand in the long line at Morehouse’s Forbes Arena waiting to cast their ballot. Moreover, individuals were not able to send in their absentee ballots because the ballot arrived on or after the Nov. 4deadline.
“Democracy only works when we work for it, when we fight for it, when we demand it, and apparently today when we stand in line for hours to meet it at the ballot box,” Abrams said in remarks to supporters at nearly 2 a.m. Wednesday. “I am here today to tell you there are votes remaining to be counted. Voices are waiting to be heard.”
There were also 1,000 absentee ballots still outstanding as of Wednesday morning. The Abrams campaign vowed to work with lawyers, counties and the Secretary of State’s office to receive guidance regarding the counting of these ballots. Military and overseas ballots also must be counted.
Meanwhile, Kemp spoke to his audience in Athens, reassuring his supporters that the math was on his side.
“There are votes left to count. But we have a strong lead,” Kemp said. “And folks, make no mistake, the math is on our side to win this election.”