Georgia's hard-fought and bitter governor's race is still not over.
Nor was it just a gubernatorial campaign in which right-wing Trump-acolyte Brian Kemp opposed the rebellious Democrat Stacy Abrams and her attempt to become the first African-American female governor in American history. Instead, it was a year of battle in the making, and it was not so much about who to vote for, but who could vote.
Kemp has declared victory and submitted his resignation as secretary of state – the office that oversees this controversial election. The outgoing governor Nathan Deal has declared him the victor.
There is only one catch.
The Abrams campaign team still counts the votes. Her campaign leader, Lauren Groh-Wargo, said Thursday from the campaign headquarters: "All votes in this race are not counted, and all Georgia voters deserve to be counted before the now-former Secretary of State announces his victory."
According to a statement posted on the website of the state secretary of Georgian state while Kemp was still in that role, provinces have until 9 November to verify provisional ballots and until 13 November to certify the results.
As of Friday morning, the unofficial election results Kemp with a lead of more than 63,000 votes – a gap Abrams has made since the election night of 75,000 – show in an election in which nearly 4 million ballots were issued. In Georgia, a redundancy is activated when neither candidate achieves 50% plus one vote, which could allow the Abrams team to achieve 25,632 votes.
After the resignation of Kemp, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People issued a statement to President Derrick Johnson, filled with rejections from other legal experts, civil rights figures and Kemp's opponents during and prior to the election.
He said: "Kemp's actions during the elections were the oppression of voters in the textbook, and his actions were strategic, careless and focused on dampening the voting power of color communities in the state."
Consider these figures.
• In the three months prior to the election day, more than 85,000 voters were removed from roles under Kemp. In 2017, according to the Atlanta Journal Constitution, a huge 668,000 voters were purged.
• Of those figures in 2017, investigative reporter Greg Palast told Salon, 200,000 people left the state, died or moved their district, making them legitimate cancellations. However, he received the complete purge list by means of legal proceedings. Of the 400,000 reportedly moved, our experts will tell a court that 340,134 has never moved – unjustly cleaned & # 39 ;, Palast told the Guardian and said that people had been purged because they had not voted during a or two elections.
• In addition, 1.5 million voters – more than 10 percent of all voters – were defeated from 2012 to 2016 – according to a 2018 report from the Brennan Center for Justice. By way of comparison: 750,000 were purified between 2008 and 2012.
Kemp took office in 2010 and he and fellow conservatives claim that the law requires unsuitable voters who move or die to be released from the roles. But advocates of voting rights say that relocations disproportionately affect groups that tend to vote at lower rates, such as minorities and low-income voters – the same groups that generally support Democrats.
It is a fundamental problem that goes back to the history of Georgia and the wider south where racial tensions and the struggle for who can vote continue from the days of civil rights struggle.
Sophia Lakin, an attorney for the ACLU project on voting rights, points out that until 2013 Georgia was covered by part of the law on voting rights which stipulated that it would make electoral changes to get "pre-clearance" from the federal government – a protection intended to protect voters of minorities.
She said: "It was a hugely important part of maintaining fair voting procedures in places in this country with a long history of discrimination on the basis of race."
But with the protection that has been over for the past five years – which relates to Kemp's term of office – many activists say that the voting rights of minorities are again threatened.
Legally, it was a lawsuit after a lawsuit in Georgia.
Before the general elections of 2016, Common Cause, a nonpartisan grassroots organization, and the NAACP filed a lawsuit against Kemp, which banned Kemp from blocking more electoral cleansing based on the non-voting of registered voters.
Electoral cleansing is not the only concern for critics of the conservative Trump-sponsored candidate.
The Abrams team also claims that the race is too close to call because of other forms of voter oppression lobbied by its opponents – all of whom could have cost it the governorship.
Days before the early voting began, a civil rights group called Kemp "on the state of Georgia's discriminating and illegal" exact match & election suppression scheme, resulting in 53,000 pending voter registration applications that they claimed to be especially minority voters affected.
The "exact match" policy is when a voter application must match – without an erroneous dash, space, dash or point for example – the information that is mentioned in social security or driving license databases.
On the first day of early voting, a bus full of African American seniors was sent back to an electoral center. Organizers called it "live voter's oppression".
A few days before the election, a white supremacy group released racist – and fake – robocalls that occurred as Oprah Winfrey, just as she arrived in subway Atlanta to iron for Abrams.
Then there was the announcement that Kemp bounced unfounded accusations against hackers just two days before the election.
On election day, the fears of Abrams seemed to come true.
The Guardian witnessed long queues in different parts of Metro Atlanta, where the majority of counties is Lean Democrat. The 2016 MIT election performance index showed Georgia placing 49th in the 50 for waiting times to vote.
In the state's second-largest state, fiercely contested – and traditionally Republican but increasingly democratic – Gwinnett County, a full ballot box at Annistown primary school was offline when the doors opened at seven o'clock. The county cited problems with the express voting machines that make the electronic ballots, said Joe Sorensen, a county official who appeared at twelve o'clock.
The NAACP sued successfully opened two polling poles near the historically black colleges Spelman University and Morehouse College until 22:00.
"It is easy to vote and difficult to cheat in Georgia," Kemp said Thursday. But on election day, a local news channel even claimed that Kemp had trouble voting, with his voting card as & # 39; invalid & # 39 ;.
The current high stakes impasse between the two front runners is actually a sequel.
A similar scene took place in the run-up to the 2014 interim tours when Abrams was the then Democratic minority leader at the Georgia House and Kemp the state secretary. In an effort to increase voter registration among minorities, young adults and unmarried women, Abrams launched the New Georgia project. According to the non-partisan organization's website, the goal was to target more than 700,000 unregistered Georgians who happened to be people of color.
Kemp accused the organization of voter fraud. Leaked audio of a Republican breakfast in the Gwinnett county, now Georgia's most diverse, registered Kemp as follows: "You know that the Democrats work hard, and all these stories about them, you know, registering all of these minority voters who are there and others who are on the sidelines, if they can do so, they can win these elections in November. "
Kemp is holding on to this moment. Since the election night he has said, "Mathematics is on our side." He suggested that the argument about voting in Georgia was over.
Abrams does not agree with that. The Democratic Party in Georgia filed a lawsuit on Thursday to extend the deadline for absentee ballots in Dougherty County, a southern county hit by Hurricane Michael in October.
Palast, however, is unwilling to agree with Kemp. "[Voter purge] resulted in a huge number of preliminary ballots that Kemp [or his successor] will not count. Worse, most [people purged who] showed [up on election day] the provisional votes were refused.
"That's probably the election for Kemp."