The Latest In Georgia's Gubernatorial Race That's Not Yet Over

Nov 9, 2018
Originally published on November 9, 2018 5:02 pm
Copyright 2018 WABE 90.1. To see more, visit WABE 90.1.

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

Johnny Kauffman, reporter at member station WABE in Atlanta, was listening in to that interview, and he joins us.

Hey, Johnny.

JOHNNY KAUFFMAN, BYLINE: Hey, there.

KELLY: So having covered this campaign for months, what struck you as you listened?

KAUFFMAN: Well, the - my reaction is that the numbers, they just don't look good for Stacey Abrams at this point. They seem to be still a long way and thousands of votes from this race going to the runoff like they're hoping happens. Now, it's true that all the votes haven't been counted, and that's significant. But when the Abrams campaign talks about thousands of votes that are still out beyond what the secretary of state's office is talking about, we just haven't seen evidence of that at this point.

KELLY: You have spent today out and about in Atlanta. You've been talking to voters who are trying to get their provisional ballots accepted today. What are they telling you?

KAUFFMAN: Yeah. I stood outside the Fulton County elections office in Atlanta. I spoke to one person who was able to ensure his vote was counted but encountered more who weren't sure and were pretty frustrated. One of them was a first-time voter, a college student who wasn't satisfied with the answer she got. This is what Imani Soyinka (ph) had to say.

IMANI SOYINKA: I guess I feel kind of disrespected. You know, there's so many issues going on, so we're voting for a reason - not like we're just voting just because we wanted to. And I mean, I hope my vote is counted.

KAUFFMAN: For voters who had to cast provisional ballots, the deadline to prove their eligibility is this evening. But now we're hearing complaints from voting rights groups that some counties have already certified their results. So that does leave questions over what happened to provisional ballots in some of these places.

KELLY: Raises questions, possibly, whether votes were left out?

KAUFFMAN: Exactly, yeah. We're not sure at this point.

KELLY: OK. Now we obviously just heard there from Stacey Abrams' campaign headquarters. I know you have made contact with Brian Kemp's campaign today - Brian Kemp, again, being the Republican candidate who's declared victory. What are they saying today?

KAUFFMAN: Kemp's campaign says he spent most of the day in meetings working on the transition to governor. And the campaign told me they've been crunching numbers, trying - hoping to make a stronger case to the media that the election is over, period, and that Kemp is the clear winner. And other Republicans are calling on Abrams to concede. The GOP speaker of the state house, David Ralston, had a press conference today. He's worked with Abrams closely in the state legislature, and he says she needs to concede for the good of the state. He made a sort of offhanded remark as well that the publicity and money will dry up if she does concede and that that's something she needs to deal with.

KELLY: OK. And back to the question of provisional ballots and this deadline this evening for voters to verify their provisional ballots - I mean, what are we watching for next? Where do things go?

KAUFFMAN: I'm not totally sure. But again, the numbers, even with these outstanding provisional ballots, they don't look good for Abrams. Even though, you know, this race is still too close to call, I think - you know, Abrams and her campaign have accused Kemp of voter suppression. And there are more obstacles to voting in Georgia than many other states. And this has made it harder for some people to vote. But most, if not all, of these laws and policies have been approved by the courts. So there's this question is, will the Abrams campaign challenge the results of this election based on those obstacles and based on votes that may not have been cast? And that would seem to be a much, much tougher legal fight than just searching for votes that are already cast and maybe not counted. So it's kind of tough to see exactly where this goes from here.

KELLY: That is Johnny Kauffman, a reporter with member station WABE in Atlanta.

Thanks so much, Johnny.

KAUFFMAN: Thanks for having me. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.