Local attorney weighs in on possible runoff in Georgia governor's race
The hotly contested race for governor in Georgia is still too close to officially call.
Right now, Republican candidate Brain Kemp has a slight edge over Democrat Stacey Abrams, but Tuesday night Abrams vowed to continue fighting.
"But I want to say this, if I wasn't your first choice or if you made no choice at all, you're going to have a chance to do a do-over,” said Abrams.
While Kemp's campaign say they feel confident they have the numbers to win, Abrams campaign says there are still thousands of military and absentee ballots that need to be counted. They are also pushing to extend the deadline for counting those votes.
If there ends up being a runoff between Abrams and Kemp, it would be the first general election runoff for governor in Georgia.
Ringgold attorney and former state representative McCracken Poston says there's no doubt all eyes are on Abrams and Kemp, but it's the third candidate on the ballot, Ted Metz, who is somewhat responsible for a divide in votes.
“The libertarian candidate drew just enough to keep the remaining two or the biggest voter from getting 50 percent plus one vote,” said Poston.
Technically Kemp has the majority, with 50.3% of votes from Tuesday's election, according to The Associated Press. Abrams has 48.7 percent. Political experts estimate about 15,000 votes separate Kemp from a runoff, but that number could be met with the number of uncounted absentee provisional ballots.
Poston says voter suppression and outdated machines are factors for some votes not being counted.
"There were obvious efforts that have been made through modern legislation to make it hard for citizens to vote. Voter fraud has never been a real issue in Georgia, but the fear of voter fraud has been used to pass laws that have the effect of suppressing. We [also] have election machines that run on Windows 2000 that has not had an update in almost a decade," Poston said. “We shouldn't play games with this stuff. We shouldn't rush to certify, we should count every vote.”
When it comes to the controversy surrounding Kemp's involvement in the election as Secretary of State, Poston agrees with some who say, it's not good.
"That's a problem. You should avoid the appearance of impropriety perhaps by letting an interim appointment take care of it. I think that he would avoid any questions to his legitimacy if he did that and that's something that he should probably consider," said Poston. "It's very powerful to be in charge of the election you're in."
While both candidates have maintained high energy throughout their campaigns, we wondered whether voter fatigue could come into play if a runoff becomes reality.
“It would be hard to sustain the energy that was put by both sides of this race, but I would imagine it is such a high profile race that all sides and all of their celebrity proxy's will come back,” Poston explained.
If you voted with an absentee, mail-in or provisional ballot in Georgia, there is a way you can check to see if your vote was counted. The status should read “accepted.” If it doesn’t, call (866) OUR-VOTE. To check your status, click here.