In Georgia, Now Stacey Abrams Wants a Federal Judge to Change the Election Rules

It is a long held rule in state elections that a person votes in his own precinct. Within counties, in some states, if a person’s precinct has been changed the person can vote in their old precinct by provisional ballot and the races shared between the old and new precinct will count. But that typically only applies in the first election after a precinct change (In Georgia, if one shows up at the wrong precinct in the county in which they are registered, no matter the election their votes will count for the races the right precinct shares with the precinct in which they voted).

In Georgia, as in pretty much every other state, a person must vote in their own county. Stacey Abrams, the Democrat’s nominee for Georgia Governor, has filed a lawsuit asking a federal judge to allow voters to cast votes outside the counties in which they are registered. She argues that as long as they are Georgia voters, the statewide races would be on the ballot in every county.

State and county officials object because of the burdensome and ridiculous standard this would impose. Counties are responsible for their own voters. To be compelled to keep up with other counties’ voters would be too big a burden. Likewise, the alternative would be to centralize election processes with the Secretary of State. That is something Democrats in the state do not want as they are already convinced the Secretary of State tampered with the election despite a lack of evidence.

This is not going to happen, but the Abrams campaign will do everything to drag this out. The reason has absolutely nothing to do with Stacey Abrams. Her campaign privately knows she cannot win right now. But they have an extraordinarily important reason to keeping up the campaign.

With Brian Kemp’s margin of victory over 50,000 votes and there being no more than 21,000 total votes outstanding, Abrams could not get a runoff even if she won 100% of the outstanding votes. What is notable is that even the individual counties in Georgia are starting to come forward to say Abrams does not have enough votes. Cobb County and Gwinnett County, both in metro Atlanta, are in the process of certifying their votes. Fulton, the home of Atlanta, will follow. The votes are not there.

But Abrams has to keep this up until after Thanksgiving as best she can. The Democrats have managed to force the GOP into a runoff for Secretary of State in Georgia. They are desperate to get a statewide seat and their candidate, John Barrow, has a base of support from his days as a congressman.

The Abrams campaign and Democrats in Georgia are hoping they can foster a sense of grievance that Abrams had the race stolen and then make the case that a Democrat as Secretary of State would prevent that from happening. In other words, the Abrams claims at this point are strategically important to the existing runoff. Abrams knows she does not have the votes for her own runoff. But now she wants credit for taking the Secretary of State’s seat.

Some around Abrams think that might set Abrams up for a 2020 matchup against U.S. Senator David Perdue.

2018 is over for Abrams, but her fight is just beginning.

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Erick Erickson

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