The Latest: New guidelines issued for Georgia mail ballots
ATLANTA (AP) — The Latest on the Georgia governor’s race (all times local):
Georgia’s secretary of state has ordered county election officials to count absentee ballots even if voters have not included their year of birth if there is enough other information to verify their identity.
Secretary of State Robyn Crittenden issued the guidance in a bulletin sent to county election officials Monday. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that the State Election Board had voted Sunday to issue guidance on how counties should process absentee ballots.
When casting absentee ballots, voters have to sign an oath and have to write their address and year of birth on the envelope. The bulletin says election officials can accept a ballot without the year of birth if the election official can verify the voter’s identity with the signature and other required information.
Tuesday is the deadline for counties to certify election results that include an unsettled governor’s race.
Two Democratic U.S. senators are asking the Justice Department to investigate “potential voting rights abuses” in Georgia following the state’s close gubernatorial election.
Sens. Cory Booker of New Jersey and Brian Schatz of Hawaii released a letter Monday to Assistant Attorney General Dreiband. The senators cite concerns with Georgia’s “exact match” law requiring voters’ information to match precisely how they appear on other government databases. They also cite aggressive efforts to delete inactive voters from the rolls and the elimination of polling places.
Booker and Schatz’s letter requests a “thorough investigation” to determine if Georgia’s election laws and policies violate the Voting Rights Act. The Supreme Court in 2013 rolled back a provision of that law requiring Georgia and other states to get federal approval before changing voting laws.
A spokesman for Republican Brian Kemp says a concession in the Georgia governor’s race by Democrat Stacey Abrams is “long overdue.”
The statement Monday comes in response to a federal lawsuit filed Sunday by Abrams’ campaign asking a judge to delay certification of Georgia’s vote by one day to be sure officials count any votes that were wrongly rejected.
Unofficial returns show Kemp with about 50.3 percent of the vote. Abrams hopes to pick up enough provisional votes and other uncounted ballots to push Kemp’s margin below the 50 percent threshold he needs to avoid a runoff.
Kemp campaign spokesman Ryan Mahoney said in a statement Monday that Abrams had “moved from desperation to delusion.”
Mahoney said: “Stacey Abrams lost and her concession is long overdue.”
Republican Brian Kemp hasn’t officially won Georgia’s governor’s race. But he’s proceeding as a victorious candidate and promising to be a governor for all Georgians.
That might not be so easy.
If his narrow lead holds over Democrat Stacey Abrams and he ultimately gains the governor’s mansion, Kemp will face lingering questions about his role in an election he oversaw as secretary of state. And his victory would be fueled by a stark urban-rural divide and his embrace of President Donald Trump’s rhetoric.
Abrams, seeking election as the first African-American woman governor of a U.S. state, filed a federal lawsuit Sunday asking a judge to delay the vote certification deadline and make officials count any votes wrongly rejected. Meanwhile, Kemp is trying to maintain GOP dominance in a diversifying state.