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Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp resigned his job Thursday, declaring himself the winner of Georgia's gubernatorial election before all the votes have been counted and before the election has been certified. He's a busy guy, and since he's fairly sure Georgia's election was sufficiently fucked up that Democrat Stacey Abrams won't have a chance at a runoff election, he's skedaddling to start his transition.

Abrams, for her part, isn't conceding a damn thing and is gearing up to sue if necessary, to ensure all outstanding ballots are both accounted for and counted.


[The Abrams campaign] unveiled a litigation team poised to take the fight to the courts, and it is continuing its search for an additional 25,632 Abrams votes that will push this race into runoff territory.

Kemp's office has said there are roughly 25,000 outstanding provisional and absentee ballots, but it has not yet released a detailed account of where they exist.

Kemp resigned as of 11:59 AM Eastern, following a lawsuit filed yesterday by five Georgia voters and a voting rights advocacy group, demanding that if there is a recount, Kemp should not be allowed to oversee it.

A lawyer for the voters, Laurence Schwartzol of Protect Democracy, a nonpartisan nonprofit, said Kemp should play no role in overseeing an election that he himself is running in.

"This lawsuit is all about a fundamental unfairness — to have Kemp run the rules of this election, where Secretary Kemp has showed he misused his office in hyper-partisan way," Schwartzol said.

The Georgia NAACP filed two additional lawsuits yesterday, because everyone is so mean to poor Brian Kemp. In the first, the NAACP argues

students at Spelman College and Morehouse College were improperly forced to vote with a provisional ballot -- or dissuaded from voting at all -- because their names didn't show up on voter registration lists.

And the second seeks to preserve the right for voters in the Pittman Park Recreation Center area to cast ballots. That was the precinct where massive lines formed because of too few polling machines. Even after five additional voting devices were delivered, some people waited four hours at the Atlanta site.

A spokesperson for Kemp -- not his campaign, but the secretary of state's office, if the distinction even matters -- said yesterday the recount lawsuit was nothing but a "twelfth-hour stunt" and a distraction, and besides, all vote counting is left up to counties, so there's no way Kemp could do any (further) ratfuckery after purging hundreds of thousands of voters, screwing over people registering to vote or requesting/submitting absentee ballots, and the purely coincidental three- to four-hour waits to vote in minority neighborhoods on election day. Those were also county problems and in no way related to some kind of effort to disenfranchise minority voters, because where do you get such ridiculous conspiracy theories, except very recent, ongoing history?

Even as Kemp prepares to shove his way into the governor's mansion, Stacey Abrams insisted on a full accounting of outstanding absentee and provisional ballots. A recount could be triggered if Kemp's lead dipped below 50 percent of the total. As of Thursday morning, another 25,632 Abrams votes would be needed to tilt that percentage into a recount. Kemp claims it's mathematically impossible for enough ballots to surface for that to happen, but Abrams, ever the troublemaker, insists on a full accounting of what ballots are out there, not a general dismissal, please.

Her campaign manager, Lauren Groh-Wargo, has asked for a county-by-county breakdown of remaining provisional ballots, and says there's a strong likelihood many are from predominantly Democratic areas:

"The voters of Georgia deserve to have their questions answered and their votes counted before the sitting secretary of state crowns himself governor," the campaign said.

Republican Gov. Nathan Deal has appointed a political ally, the commissioner of the state Department of Human Services Robyn Crittenden, as interim Secretary of State. She will oversee the counting of remaining votes and, if warranted, a runoff election that would be held December 4.

If Kemp is sworn in as Georgia governor, expect him to take even further steps to fuck up voting, because hey, it works, doesn't it?

[Atlanta Journal-Constitution / WaPo / NBC News]

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