Federal Judge Orders Georgia to Review Thousands of Provisional Ballots

The ruling found “substantial likelihood” that Brian Kemp failed to maintain a “reliable and secure” registration system.

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A federal judge on Monday ordered officials in Georgia to review thousands of provisional ballots that have not been counted, citing the “substantial likelihood” that Republican candidate Brian Kemp, who until last week was Georgia’s Secretary of State and therefore oversaw election rules in the state, had failed to “properly maintain a reliable and secure voter registration system.”

Judge Amy Totenberg’s ruling delays Georgia from certifying its election results until Friday. It also called for the Secretary of State’s office to immediately establish a voter registration hotline to assist voters in determining whether their provisional ballots were accounted for.

Listen to MoJo’s voting rights reporter Ari Berman explain what’s next in Georgia’s nail-biting race for Governor, on this week’s episode of the Mother Jones Podcast:

The development comes as a major victory for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams, who needs at least 20,000 more votes to force a runoff against Kemp. It’s estimated that nearly 27,000 provisional ballots were cast in the razor-thin election for governor. The lawsuit was filed by Common Cause Georgia, a non-partisan group that works to ensure fair voting practices. 

“Today’s ruling is a victory for the voters of Georgia. We are all stronger when every eligible voter is allowed to participate in our elections,” Sara Henderson, executive director of Common Cause Georgia, said in a statement. “This victory helps achieve greater voter confidence in our elections.”

You can read Totenberg’s ruling in full below:

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You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

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