Georgia Governor Race and Why Results Are Taking so Long


Georgia governor candidates Stacey Abrams (left) and Brian Kemp (right) (Photo credits: Atlanta Magazine).

Blaise Rayburn, Literature Editor

As of November 9th, the results for the Georgia governor election state that Republican candidate Brian Kemp has won with 50.3 percent of votes, with Democratic candidate Stacey Abrams having 48.7 percent of votes. However, the next governor has not been officially named yet due to the numerous complications in this year’s election. Brian Kemp has declared victory in the election; however, Stacey Abrams is refusing to concede the election because of legal actions being taken against Kemp, and because of provisional ballots that have yet to be counted.

In the state of Georgia, in order to win the gubernatorial election, a candidate has to have over 50 percent of the votes. Because the results published so far are so close, with Kemp barely over the 50 percent mark and Abrams barely under it, the Abrams campaign is pushing very hard to wait until every single vote is counted before considering results final. There is an undetermined number of provisional, mail-in and absentee ballots that have yet to be counted; an exact number of how many uncounted ballots there are has not been released, but it is estimated that there are at least 20,000 or more. The Kemp campaign has stated that the numbers they have show no chance of a runoff or of Abrams winning. The Abrams campaign, however, has stated that 23,275 more votes would be needed to trigger a recount, and 25,626 more votes would be needed to trigger a runoff, so if estimates of the amount of uncounted provisional ballots are accurate, there is a very real possibility of there being a runoff.

To further complicate things, there is also a lot of controversy surrounding this particular election. Kemp has been Georgia Secretary of State since 2010 and still held the position throughout the duration of the 2018 midterm elections. In the state of Georgia, one of the duties of the Secretary of State is to oversee state elections. Because he still held the position of Secretary of State during the election, Kemp was in charge of overseeing an election that he was also running in as a candidate. Many Georgia voters found this unethical and filed a lawsuit in order to stop Kemp from overseeing the election. According to the lawsuit, “this Court should not permit Defendant Kemp to resolve the outcome of the elections in which he is a candidate.” Because of Kemp’s position in the government, the many issues that have occurred in this election–such as eligible voters being denied, polling stations not having enough polling machines or stations having malfunctioning voting machines–and the fact that many of these issues occurred in districts that are considered predominantly liberal, some liberal voters are accusing Kemp of abusing his position as Secretary of State to commit voter suppression. The Kemp campaign rejects all of these claims, and Kemp officially resigned as Secretary of State on Thursday, Nov. 8, two days after the election.

On a national scale, the 2018 midterm elections have been very polarizing in terms of the divide between political parties, which has resulted in a higher than usual voter turnout for a midterm election as well as increased political tension. Although other states such as Texas and Florida also had incredibly close election results, it is taking a longer amount of time to determine an official winner for the Georgia gubernatorial election due both to the “over 50 percent” rule and to the uncounted provisional ballots, which could lead to a runoff  (a second vote which would take place in early December).