Carolyn Bourdeaux, the Democratic nominee for Georgia’s 7th Congressional District, displays a Gwinnett County absentee ballot as she speaks during a press conference Monday outside the Gwinnett County Board of Voter Registration and Elections in Lawrenceville. Bourdeaux’s campaign filed an emergency motion Sunday night seeking to force Gwinnett County to count previously rejected absentee ballots for the 2018 midterm elections. (ALYSSA POINTER/ALYSSA.POINTER@AJC.COM)
Photo: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Photo: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Georgia 7th: Bourdeaux to request recount 

Democrat Carolyn Bourdeaux said Friday she plans to request a recount in Georgia’s 7th Congressional District, where she appears to have been narrowly defeated by Republican incumbent Rob Woodall. 

The Georgia State University professor trailed Woodall by 419 votes, about 0.14 percent of votes cast, as the state prepared to certify its election results on Friday evening. 

“It is crucial that every eligible vote is counted and every voice is heard,” Bourdeaux spokesman Jake Best said. “We want to make sure every vote was counted correctly and fairly, and that is why we intend to request a recount of this race.”

Georgia code allows a losing candidate down by less than 1 percent of the vote to request a taxpayer-funded recount within two business days of the election results being finalized by the state. 

The exact timing of a recount was unclear. A spokeswoman for the Secretary of State, which is charged with directing recounts, did not immediately respond to an inquiry. 

Recounts are relatively quick for the state to administer, according to three elections lawyers interviewed Friday by the AJC, since most votes are cast electronically and can be easily be reprocessed. Absentee and provisional ballots take slightly longer to tabulate. 

But recounts rarely change election results by substantial margins. 

A spokesman for Woodall did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but the Lawrenceville Republican urged for voters to unify on Thursday evening .

“We must turn our attention from elections to service, from those things that divide us to those things that make us stronger,” he said shortly after Gwinnett County certified its election results. “The next two years are full of opportunity for our community, our State, and our Nation.” 

While relatively common at the local level, it’s been years since Georgia held a congressional recount. Part of that is because most of the state’s congressional districts are drawn to favor one party and are rarely competitive in general elections. 

Two of the last congressional recounts came in 1992, when then-Congressman Newt Gingrich edged out primary opponent Herman Clark. A recount that same summer also helped propel former U.S. Attorney Bob Barr into a U.S. Senate primary runoff with Republican Paul Coverdell. 

The Bourdeaux announcement came minutes before Democrat Stacey Abrams announced she was ending her gubernatorial bid. 

Read more: Woodall on track to hold onto 7th District seat

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About the Author

Tamar Hallerman
Tamar Hallerman
Tamar Hallerman is a senior reporter for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution's enterprise team, where she covers gender, the urban-rural divide and other...