Democrat Stacey Abrams isn’t throwing in the towel.
With 97% of votes counted in Georgia’s gubernatorial race, Abrams, who would be the first black woman ever elected governor in the US, trails Republican Brian Kemp by 3 points. But Abrams says she won’t concede until every last vote has come in, with thousands of absentee and provision ballots yet to be tallied.
“I’m here tonight to tell you votes remain to be counted,” she said in a speech from her campaign headquarters in Atlanta in the early hours of Wednesday (Nov. 7). “We believe our chance for a stronger Georgia is just within reach, but we cannot seize it until all voices are heard. And I promise you tonight we’re going to make sure every vote is counted—every single vote.”
In Georgia, a candidate must secure 50% of the vote to avoid a runoff. As of early Wednesday, Kemp was leading with slightly over 50% (paywall).
The election, one of the tightest races in the US midterms, has also called attention to Kemp’s track record as Georgia’s current secretary of state. Not only is Kemp himself overseeing the governor’s race, critics allege he has engaged in voter suppression, having purged more than 2 million voters from the state’s rolls since taking office in 2010. His office had put more than 50,000 voter applications (paywall) on hold—nearly 70% from African-Americans—as of last month.
Abrams, who’s locked heads with Kemp over voting rights for years, alluded to this in her speech to supporters, saying that “in Georgia, civil rights have always been an active will and a battle for our souls.”
We’ve been fighting this fight since the beginnings. We have learned a fundamental truth: Democracy only works when we work for it, when we fight for it, when we demand it, and apparently today when we stand in lines for hours to meet it at the ballot box. That’s when democracy works.
The voting problems in Georgia also affected Kemp himself. He received a voter card that was marked “invalid” before he was able to successfully cast his ballot.