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By Farnoush Amiri
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams’ campaign disputed on Saturday her opponent Brian Kemp’s claims that there are not enough outstanding provisional ballots for Georgia’s governors seat to trigger a recount or runoff election.
Abram’s campaign said their findings show a total of 26,846 provisional ballots are uncounted as of Saturday morning. Meanwhile, Kemp’s campaign said 21,190 provisional ballots are still outstanding.
Kemp declared victory shortly after the election and abruptly resigned his position as secretary of state on Thursday. He began his transition to become the state’s next governor.
The Georgia secretary of state’s website lists 21,190 provisional ballots as being accounted for.
If Abrams is able to gain slightly more than 23,700 votes on Kemp, the race is pushed into a mandatory recount. If she can gain about 25,600, it is forced into a runoff. The Democrat is hoping that once all the votes are accounted for, her opponent’s vote share drops below the critical 50 percent threshold, which would trigger a runoff election on Dec. 4.
Kemp currently has a 1.6 percent lead on Abrams but the race remains too close to call, according to NBC News.
Abrams, who is seeking to become the first black woman elected governor in the U.S., has refused to concede, with her camp claiming that Kemp has not been transparent about the outstanding votes.
“We will continue to fight for each and every eligible vote to be counted because in a democracy, every vote should be valued. Georgians deserve nothing less,” Lauren Groh-Wargo, Abrams’ campaign manager, told NBC News on Saturday.
Kemp’s campaign did not respond to NBC News’ request for comment.
Robyn Crittenden has been appointed by current Gov. Nathan Deal to serve out the remainder of Kemp’s term.
Kemp said Thursday that even if Abrams received “100 percent” of the remaining provisional ballots, he would still come out on top.
Abrams’ campaign lawyers filed a lawsuit Thursday over absentee ballots in the state’s Dougherty County.
Groh-Wargo said Kemp owes the people of Georgia “an explanation” for why accurate and complete information was not being provided. “We need to see lists, we need to see names, we need to see counts of every vote,” she said, later adding that the campaign would not stop pressing forward “until we are confident that every vote has been counted.”
U.S. District Judge W. Louis Sands said that the county must accept all absentee ballots received by Friday and will not certify the results of the election until Tuesday, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
President Donald Trump weighed in on Friday, tweeting that Kemp ran a “great race” and that it is “time to move on.”
This race has been one of the most highly contested this year after Abrams and several civil rights groups accused Kemp of voter suppression during the campaign. Days before the election, Kemp alleged that the Democratic Party made a “failed attempt to hack the state’s voter registration system,” and announced that his office was opening an investigation into the party. Abrams fired back, calling the attack “desperate.”
Rebecca DeHart, executive director of the state’s Democratic Party, said in a statement that the investigation into the alleged hack was “yet another example of abuse of power by an unethical Secretary of State.”
Allan Smith contributed.