Court battles over ballot counts in Georgia, Florida


Court battles over ballot counts in Georgia, Florida

Patrick Martin

14 November 2018

A federal judge ruled Tuesday that local officials in Gwinnett County, Georgia, a heavily populated county outside Atlanta, had violated the 1964 Civil Rights Act in rejecting absentee ballots because of minor technical flaws. In her 17-page ruling, District Judge Leigh Martin May ordered the county to count ballots that had been rejected solely because the voter had omitted or incorrectly marked his or her birth year.

The decision was the second major rebuff to efforts by state and local Republican officials to guarantee victory to Republican gubernatorial candidate Brian Kemp over his Democratic opponent Stacey Abrams. Another federal judge ordered election officials to preserve and count provisional ballots cast by voters who in many cases were challenged over minor discrepancies between their names as recorded in voter registration lists and on the identification they presented at the polls, such as driver’s licenses.

District Judge Amy Totenberg barred the Georgia secretary of state from certifying results on Tuesday, the normal deadline, delaying this action until Friday. In the interim, she ordered the state government to “immediately establish and publicize on its website a secure and free-access hotline or website for provisional ballot voters to access to determine whether their provisional ballots were counted and, if not, the reason why.”

Brian Kemp held the office of secretary of state, supervising administration of the vote in which he was the Republican candidate for governor, until he resigned after the election, claiming victory, and was replaced by his deputy.

Kemp holds a lead of nearly 60,000 votes over Abrams, but he is only slightly above the 50 percent…

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