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Democrat in Georgia's 7th district race seeks emergency restraining order

Late Sunday night, Democrat Carolyn Bordeaux filed an emergency motion in federal court to keep the election from being certified.
Credit: WXIA

Democrat Carolyn Bourdeaux filed an emergency motion asking Gwinnett County to count previously rejected absentee ballots. 

The race between her and Republican incumbent Rob Woodall is less than a percentage point apart, with Woodall edging ahead.  The motion in federal court asking for a "temporary restraining order prohibiting" anyone from "certifying the election until all absentee ballots that were improperly rejected have been counted." 

Bourdeaux held a news conference Monday morning to talk about the motion.

"We have asked that Gwinnett delay in certification of the vote and go back and counting many of the absentee ballots that were thrown out for very trivial reasons," Bourdeaux said.

As of Monday morning, Woodall and Bourdeaux are only separated by 901 votes, 0.32% of the vote. The 7th District covers Forsyth and Gwinnett Counties. Woodall, who's been in charge there since 2011, grabbed 68% of the vote. Bourdeaux, the Democratic challenger, won Gwinnett with 55% of the vote.

Because the race is so close, there is still no official winner. 

Bourdeaux claims Gwinnett rejected nearly 1 in 10 absentee ballots, more than any other county in Georgia.She claims that nearly 900 absentee ballots were thrown out in Gwinnett County in the 7th District for "trivial reasons."

She claims the ballots could have been rejected because of an accidental error like a wrong birth year or address, or the voter might have forgotten to sign their oath, but said that shouldn't take out their vote.

"The vast mast majority of these voters, in fact all of them, successfully filled out an application for an absentee ballot," she said.

"I think this is a clear violation of federal law and the Voting Rights Act," she said.

That congressional district has been decidedly Republican since 1995, but an influx of minority voters changed the look of Gwinnett. Last year, they became the first county in the state to have bilingual ballots.

"We need to stop the practice of disenfranchising people in Gwinnett," she said.

Counties are supposed to certify their votes by Tuesday. The Secretary of State's office certifies the election Wednesday. That means we should have had a winner in a matter of hours.

To read the full brief, click hereTo read Bourdeaux's full legal complaint, click here.

11Alive has reached out to Woodall for a response.  

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