Georgia Democratic gubernatorial nominee Stacey Abrams and Republican nominee Brian Kemp greet each other before a recent debate. (ALYSSA POINTER/ALYSSA.POINTER@AJC.COM)
Photo: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Photo: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

5 things to know about who runs Georgia’s elections 

Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp has taken fire from his political opponents for overseeing Tuesday’s election while also running for governor against Democrat Stacey Abrams.

While Kemp, a Republican, is the chief elections official in Georgia, he doesn’t have unilateral power over elections. 

County-run election offices run most parts of elections, including voting and counting ballots.

Here’s what you need to know about elections management in Georgia:

  1. The Secretary of State’s Office is the primary source for reporting unofficial election results online on its government website Tuesday night. These preliminary results are reported to the state from each of Georgia’s 159 counties.
  2. County elections offices are responsible for counting ballots and managing Georgia’s 27,000 electronic voting machines.
  3. Kemp will conduct the final certification of election results. The state-level certification is scheduled for Nov. 19. Each county must certify its election results a week before the state’s certification.
  4. Voter registration and eligibility is primarily managed by counties, but the Secretary of State’s Office also has a significant role. Under Kemp, at least 1.4 million voter registrations have been canceled since 2012 because voters have moved, died, been convicted of a felony or not participated in elections in recent years, among other reasons.
  5. Losing candidates have a right to request a recount if they lose by less than 1 percent of total votes cast. But if a candidate loses by more than 1 percent, Kemp would have discretion whether to approve a recount request based on evidence of discrepancies or errors.

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