A federal judge rules that Georgia must count all votes, cites Kemp’s ‘failure’ to do his job

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On Monday, a federal judge in Georgia ordered a delay in certifying the state’s election results until Friday. The ruling cited the fact that thousands of provisional ballots have not yet been counted by election officials, as well as lingering concerns about the state’s voter registration system. As Mother Jones reports, the voter registration system problems are a reflection of the poor performance of Republican Brian Kemp, who recently resigned as secretary of state after declaring himself the winner in a governor’s race that is still too close to call.

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.”

In other words, Brian Kemp didn’t do his job as Georgia’s top election official. And after failing to maintain the state’s voter registration system, making it as difficult as possible to vote in majority black and brown districts, and purging more than 1 million voters from the rolls, Brian Kemp and Georgia Republicans still think he should be given the keys to the governor’s mansion. Thank goodness for the courts and the tenacity of Georgia Democrats and the campaign of Democrat Stacey Abrams, who refuses to concede this election until every vote is counted.

The ruling resulted from a lawsuit filed by Common Cause, a nonpartisan group that filed litigation on Nov. 5 over the counting of absentee and provisional ballots in the election.

In her decision, Judge Amy Totenberg (an Obama appointee) ruled that the state must wait to certify its election results until the end of the week and also establish a voter registration hotline for provisional ballot voters to determine whether or not their votes were properly accounted for. Per The New York Times, Totenberg rightfully questioned the apparent negligence of the Office of the Secretary of State and its handling of the election results and provisional ballots.

Judge Totenberg, who had already raised concerns about Georgia’s system of elections this year, wrote that the state’s announced timetable for a swift certification “appears to suggest the secretary’s foregoing of its responsibility to confirm the accuracy of the results prior to final certification, including the assessment of whether serious provisional balloting count issues have been consistently and properly handled.”

This means that Georgians continue to remain in limbo about the results of this election. And though all the votes still haven’t been counted, it hasn’t stopped Kemp and his cronies from suggesting that it is actually Democrats who are trying to steal the election. Kemp’s people still maintain that it is Abrams who lost and that she should concede. And a spokesman for the campaign, Ryan Mahoney, said, “It’s incredibly shameful that liberal lawyers are doubling down on lawsuits desperately trying to create more votes for Stacey Abrams.”

What a joke. What’s actually shameful here is that a federal judge has to force the state to do what Brian Kemp didn’t do in his role as secretary of state: oversee the neutral process of obtaining the results in a fair election. But nothing about this was fair or neutral. Kemp had no business overseeing this election. He also should have never been the secretary of state, given that his entire agenda was to make sure fewer people had access to vote, instead of more. For the next few days, we’ll all be watching in anticipation to make sure that the courts do what Brian Kemp and Republicans are deathly afraid of—count every single person’s vote.

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