ATLANTA — A federal judge on Monday delayed the certification of the results of Georgia’s governor’s race, citing concerns about the counting of provisional ballots and effectively deepening the turmoil surrounding one of this year’s most acrimonious campaigns.
The ruling, by Judge Amy Totenberg of Federal District Court in Atlanta, was also a political lifeline for Stacey Abrams, the Democratic candidate who has been scouring the state for enough votes to force a runoff against Brian Kemp, the Republican nominee.
In a 56-page ruling, Judge Totenberg forbade Georgia’s secretary of state, Robyn A. Crittenden, from certifying the election outcome until at least Friday evening. She also ordered Ms. Crittenden’s office to “immediately establish and publicize on its website a secure and free-access hotline or website for provisional ballot voters to access to determine whether their provisional ballots were counted and if not, the reason why.”
The campaign of Ms. Abrams, who trails Mr. Kemp by about 58,000 votes, has argued in recent days that it believes enough ballots remained uncounted that the margin could narrow enough to require a runoff election in December. Ms. Abrams needs to pick up about 21,000 votes to force a runoff, and fewer than 19,000 to require a recount.
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