PoliticsStacy M. Brown

Historic Bids by Abrams, Gillum Officially Fail

The gubernatorial bids by Stacey Abrams and Andrew Gillum in Georgia and Florida, respectively, have officially fallen short.

Abrams halted her run for Georgia governor, but the Democrat said she would not concede the contest to Republican Brian Kemp and planned to launch a voting rights group to file “major” litigation challenging election policies.

Earlier, it also became apparent that Andrew Gillum’s gubernatorial run in Florida had come to a halt, with a press time recount showing that the Democrat trailed Republican Ron DeSantis by 33,683 votes, a net gain of 1 vote for Gillum from the unofficial results that were originally reported.

The margin was 0.41 percent out of more than 8 million votes cast, outside the 0.25 percent threshold needed for a manual recount.

Andrew Gillum
**FILE** Tallahassee, Florida, Vice Mayor Andrew Gillum speaks onstage during People For The American Way 30th Anniversary Celebration at the Beverly Wilshire Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills, California, on Dec. 5, 2011. (Photo by Jesse Grant/WireImage)

Although the lead appears insurmountable, Gillum still hadn’t conceded as of press time.

Meanwhile, The Associated Press reported that Abrams’ campaign began 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 strategy relies on a statute that’s never been used in such a high-stakes contest.

Top Abrams advisers outlined her prospective case to AP, stressing that the Democratic candidate hasn’t finalized a decision about whether to proceed once state officials certify Kemp as the victor.

“All of the votes in this race have not been counted,” Abrams campaign manager Lauren Groh-Wargo said at a press conference.

Under Georgia law, if no candidate achieves a majority, then a runoff election is held.

As of the weekend, Kemp led with 50.3 percent of the vote. As counting continued, Abrams found herself close to the threshold to trigger a recount in the race — which, following his resignation as Georgia secretary of state, Kemp would no longer oversee.

“Brian Kemp is 25,622 votes above the threshold for a runoff election,” Groh-Wargo said. “Twenty-five thousand votes of nearly four million cast are at issue in this race. By [Kemp’s] own admission, there are at least 25,000 outstanding votes, and hundreds if not thousands of more that we are learning about and discovering every day.”

Earlier this month, the state chapter of the NAACP filed a pair of lawsuits claiming that students at Spelman College and Morehouse College were improperly forced to vote with a provisional ballot or dissuaded from voting at all because their names didn’t show up on voter registration lists.

The lawsuits also seek to preserve the right for voters in the Pittman Park Recreation Center area to cast ballots, the Atlanta Journal Constitution reported.

That was the precinct where massive lines formed because of too few polling machines. Even after five additional voting devices were delivered, some people waited four hours at the Atlanta site.

Voters in the Peach State dealt with long lines, malfunctioning election equipment and registration discrepancies as they swamped precincts Tuesday with an unprecedented turnout for a midterm election.

Wait times of more than an hour were the most common hurdle facing voters across the state, the Atlanta Journal Constitution reported. But technical problems, such as voting machines that weren’t plugged in on Election Day, worsened matters for some voters trying to get their ballots in.

Three precincts in Gwinnett County had some of the most severe difficulties, causing them to stay open past the normal 7 p.m. closing time, the newspaper reported.

The Annistown Elementary precinct remained open until 9:25 p.m. because of extensive issues with the electronic ExpressPoll system, which is used to check in voters before they’re issued voting access cards. Anderson-Livsey Elementary and Harbins Elementary precincts also stayed open late.

Three more precincts in Fulton County also stayed open as late as 10 p.m. because of extreme lines, missing registration information and a shortage of provisional ballots.

Those precincts were located at Pittman Park Recreation Center, Booker T. Washington High and the Archer Auditorium at Morehouse College.

The Rev. Jesse L. Jackson Sr. got involved at the Pittman Park Recreation Center precinct in Fulton County, encouraging voters to remain in line after they had waited for hours. Only three voting machines were initially available before five more were sent out later.

“It’s a classic example of voter suppression, denying people easy access to exercise their right to vote,” Jackson said, AJC reported.

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Stacy M. Brown

I’ve worked for the Daily News of Los Angeles, the L.A. Times, Gannet and the Times-Tribune and have contributed to the Pocono Record, the New York Post and the New York Times. Television news opportunities have included: NBC, MSNBC, Scarborough Country, the Abrams Report, Today, Good Morning America, NBC Nightly News, Imus in the Morning and Anderson Cooper 360. Radio programs like the Wendy Williams Experience, Tom Joyner Morning Show and the Howard Stern Show have also provided me the chance to share my views.

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