Nov. 13 (UPI) -- Georgia's high-profile race for governor will not be decided until thousands of provisional ballots have been reviewed, a federal judge has ruled.
U.S. District Judge Amy Totenberg said her ruling Monday provides "limited, modest" protections to voters who weren't allowed to cast a ballot on Election Day because their identification or registration couldn't be verified at the polls.
The provisional ballots were held pending verification, but still count in the final tally.
The judge's order, prompted by a lawsuit in Gwinnett County, applies to the whole state.
"Plaintiff alleges that Brian Kemp, as secretary of state, failed to maintain the security of voter information despite known vulnerabilities leading up to the 2018 election," Totenberg's order reads. Also, it requires an explanation for why each voter had to use a provisional ballot.
Kemp is the Republican candidate for governor, running against Democrat Stacey Abrams.
Totenberg ordered a hotline be set up so voters who used provisional ballots can call for updates about their ballot.
Abrams contends that voter registrations from minority precincts were purposely rejected by Kemp. Her goal is to get close enough to force a runoff.
"From the beginning of this campaign, we have said that every single vote matters," said Lauren Groh-Wargo, a campaign manager for Abrams.
Kemp, who has about a 20,000-vote lead, has declared victory. Abrams has not conceded.
Good news tonight 1) Federal judge rules the state must count provisionals and delays state certification until the end of the week thanks to @CommonCauseGA suit 2) More votes came in for @staceyabrams, gap continues to narrow 3) We'll be in court tomorrow #CountEveryVote #gapol- Lauren Groh-Wargo (@gwlauren) November 13, 2018