ATLANTA (CN) — Georgia’s hotly contested and potentially historic governor’s race may not be over yet.
While Republican Secretary of State Brian Kemp still holds a slim lead in the more than 3.8 million votes cast in the state, Democrat Stacey Abrams refuses to concede, saying there are enough ballots uncounted — particularly absentee ballots in heavily Democratic metro Atlanta counties — to bring the Republican below the majority threshold required for victory.
“We believe our chance for a stronger Georgia is just within reach, but we cannot seize it until all voices are heard,” Abrams told supporters at a downtown Atlanta hotel into the wee hours of Wednesday morning.
“I promise you tonight we’re going to make sure that every vote is counted,” she said.
Officially, the race remains too close to call. If she prevails and the uncounted votes turn the race in her favor, Abrams would become the nation’s first black female governor.
In the alternative, a pickup of about 25,000 votes, would pull Kemp’s total below 50 percent and trigger a December 4 runoff election.
Absentee ballots in three metro Atlanta counties–Cobb, DeKalb and Gwinnett–are still being counted and absentee ballots from Athens-Clarke, Chatham and Henry counties, which all typically lean Democratic, had reportedly not been counted by 4 a.m. Wednesday morning.
According to an Associated Press report, Abrams’ campaign estimated Wednesday morning that there are still at least 97,000 ballots still waiting to be counted.
Kemp also rallied supporters at his election night party in his hometown of Athens, expressing confidence that the election will go in his favor.
“There are votes left to count, but we have a very strong lead,” Kemp said. “And folks, make no mistake, the math is on our side to win this election.”
The razor-thin margin of victory in the race combined with weeks of allegations of voter suppression against Kemp, who has refused calls to resign from his post as secretary of state while he is a candidate running for election, could lead voters to question his win.
Abrams has called Kemp “an architect of suppression.” Multiple federal lawsuits claiming that Kemp unfairly removed millions from voter rolls, improperly rejected absentee ballots and froze thousands of voter registrations belonging to people of color were filed against his office in the month before Election Day.
On Election Day, the Protect Democracy nonprofit added another lawsuit to the pile against Kemp when it asked a federal court to block him from counting votes or certifying results in the election or during a runoff.
The complaint claims that Kemp’s refusal to recuse himself from presiding over an election in which he is a candidate “violates a basic notion of fairness.”
On Sunday, Kemp’s office announced that it would open an investigation into the Georgia Democratic Party after an attempted hack of the state’s voter registration system allegedly took place. Kemp’s office did not provide proof that the Georgia Democratic Party was involved in the alleged hack and the party swiftly denied the allegation.
Kemp has dismissed allegations of voter suppression against him as “a farce” and called critics of his policies “outside agitators.”