Georgia election officials ordered to review thousands of provisional ballots

A federal judge has blocked the Georgia secretary of state from certifying election results before Friday, as the state’s governor’s race remains unsettled.

Late Monday night, Judge Amy Totenberg ruled that state and local officials must conduct a “good faith review” of all provisional ballots that had been rejected because a voter’s name was not found on the voter registration list.

This includes using “all available registration documentation” from voters to verify their identity, instead of solely relying on the voter registration list. The Secretary of State’s office has reported that more than 21,000 provisional ballots were cast.

Totenberg has ordered the state to establish a hotline for voters to determine whether their provisional ballots were counted — and if not, the reason why.

Totenberg’s ruling does not require the extension of any certification deadlines. Counties in Georgia have a 5 p.m. deadline on Tuesday to certify their results. The ruling, however, does bar the secretary of state from certifying election results before Friday, giving the state more time to address various issues stemming from the election.

The state must certify the results by 5 p.m. on November 20.

The ruling comes in response to a lawsuit filed the day before the election by the group Common Cause Georgia.

In a separate case on Tuesday, a federal judge ordered officials to count all absentee ballots that had been rejected because of date of birth discrepancies. The Abrams campaign, along with the Georgia Democratic Party had filed a lawsuit regarding the counting of rejected absentee ballots and provisional ballots.

The legal battles come as Georgia’s governor’s race between Republican Brian Kemp and Democrat Stacey Abrams race remains undecided. Currently, CNN has not projected a winner, but Kemp is leading Abrams with 50.3% of the vote, while Abrams has 48.8%, and less than 60,000 votes differentiating the two. Abrams has refused to concede, with her campaign believing there is enough votes still remaining to force the contest into a December 4 runoff.