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Georgia governor election: Judge orders review of provisional ballots

A federal judge on Monday ordered election officials to review thousands of provisional ballots that haven’t been counted in Georgia’s close election for governor.

>> Watch the news report here

U.S. District Judge Amy Totenberg’s order calls for a hotline for voters to check if their provisional ballots were counted, a review of voter registrations, and updated reports from the state government about why many voters were required to use provisional ballots.

The court decision comes as votes are still being counted in the race for governor between Democrat Stacey Abrams and Republican Brian Kemp. Abrams trails Kemp and would need to gain more than 20,000 additional votes to force a runoff election.

>> Jamie Dupree: Dems win Senate seat in Arizona, as Florida’s Scott heads to D.C.

Totenberg said she’s providing “limited, modest” relief to help protect voters. The order preserves Tuesday’s deadline for county election offices to certify results and the Nov. 20 deadline for Secretary of State Robyn Crittenden to certify the election. The ruling enjoins Crittenden from certifying the election before Friday at 5 p.m.

Her ruling applies to provisional ballots, which were issued to as many as 27,000 Georgia voters because their registration or identification couldn’t be verified. Provisional ballots are usually only counted if voters prove their eligibility within three days of the election, a deadline that passed Friday.

The decision doesn’t say whether additional provisional ballots could be counted after election results are certified at the county level Tuesday. 

“This ruling is a victory for the voters of Georgia because we are all stronger when every eligible voter is allowed to participate in our elections,” said Sara Henderson, executive director for Common Cause Georgia, which filed the lawsuit.

The Secretary of State’s Office is reviewing the judge’s order and considering its options, said spokeswoman Candice Broce.

>> Read more trending news 

Several voters told the judge in sworn statements that they thought they were registered but were turned away when they tried to vote. Only after repeated efforts were they given provisional ballots, and they said they still don’t know if their votes were counted.

The court order said there were more provisional ballots cast this election than normal, and that the voter registration system could be vulnerable to inaccuracies.

“The right to vote is fundamental, and no one should lose that right because of mistakes in the voter registration database,” said Myrna Perez of the democracy program at the Brennan Center for Justice.

— AJC staff writer Greg Bluestein contributed to this article.

Disney pass holder displays pro-Trump signs at park, gets banned again

A man who was banned from Disney World several weeks ago for unfurling a giant Donald Trump banner in the Magic Kingdom has been banned again.

>> Watch the news report here

He said that after Disney officials took away his annual pass in September, they had a change of heart and let him back in.

>> On WFTV.com: WATCH: Disney passholder hangs Trump re-election banner in Magic Kingdom

The picture of Don Cini's latest antics last week show him riding down Splash Mountain with a "Trump 2020” sign, and on Expedition Everest, he held a “Keep America Great" sign.

WFTV in Orlando, Florida, spoke with him from New York on Monday via Facebook Messenger.

"They never mentioned the fact that there was some kind of safety issue on the ride. That I was holding up a sign and I shouldn't be doing that," Cini said. 

Disney revoked his annual pass, which he says he had for 24 years.

He said that a few weeks ago, Disney called and said he was no longer banned and he agreed not to hang any more flags.

Disney’s park rules state that "the usage of any flag, banner or sign to incite a crowd" is prohibited.

>> Read more trending news 

"And I wanted to actually abide by their rules, and not hold up a flag to incite a crowd, but I kind of wanted to test them," Cini said. "I just really wanted to find out whether or not it had to do with unfurling a flag, or what was written on the flag."

Cini shared pictures of deputies issuing him a trespass warning last week.

It says he's banned from all Walt Disney World properties, including theme parks, water parks, resorts and Disney Springs.

Cini says he now plans to unveil a much bigger 50-foot wide flag sometime next week and somewhere in the United States.

'SNL': Pete Davidson apologizes as Dan Crenshaw makes surprise appearance

One week after he mocked Republican U.S. Rep.-elect Dan Crenshaw, a former Navy SEAL who lost an eye in Afghanistan, on "Saturday Night Live," comedian Pete Davidson issued an apology – and got a little payback.

"In what I'm sure was a huge shock to people who know me, I made a poor choice last week," Davidson said on Saturday's "Weekend Update" segment. "I made a joke about Lt. Cmdr. Dan Crenshaw, and on behalf of the show and myself, I apologize."

>> 'SNL' star Pete Davidson slammed for mocking candidate who lost eye in Afghanistan

Davidson was referring to his remarks from the show's Nov. 3 broadcast, in which he said Crenshaw, who wears a patch over his right eye, looks like "a hit man in a porno movie." The joke immediately drew harsh criticism online, prompting a rebuke from the National Republican Congressional Committee.

"I mean this from the bottom of my heart: It was a poor choice of words," Davidson continued Saturday. "The man is a war hero, and he deserves all the respect in the world. And if any good came of this, maybe it was that for one day, the left and the right finally came together to agree on something – that I'm a [expletive]."

>> Ariana Grande releases new single before 'SNL'; Pete Davidson talks split

"Ya think?" Crenshaw said, sliding in behind the "Weekend Update" desk in a surprise appearance.

Crenshaw accepted Davidson's apology, then got a chance to take a few jabs at Davidson.

"This is Pete Davidson," Crenshaw joked as a photo of Davidson appeared on the screen. "He looks like if the meth from 'Breaking Bad' was a person." 

Crenshaw also said Davidson looks like "a Troll doll with a tapeworm" and "Martin Short in 'The Santa Clause 3.'"

"By the way, one of these people was actually good on 'SNL,'" Crenshaw quipped.

>> Read more trending news 

Then the bit took a serious turn.

"There's a lot of lessons to learn here. Not just that the left and right can still agree on some things, but also this: Americans can forgive one another," Crenshaw said. "We can remember what brings us together as a country and still see the good in each other."

Crenshaw continued: "This is Veterans Day weekend, which means that it's a good time for every American to connect with a veteran. Maybe say, 'Thanks for your service.' But I would actually encourage you to say something else: Tell a veteran, 'Never forget.' When you say, 'Never forget' to a veteran, you are implying that, as an American, you are in it with them, not separated by some imaginary barrier between civilians and veterans, but connected together as grateful fellow Americans. We'll never forget the sacrifices made by veterans past and present. We'll never forget those we lost on 9/11, heroes like Pete's father. So I'll just say, 'Pete, never forget.'"

"Never forget," Davidson replied, shaking Crenshaw's hand. "And that is from both of us."

>> Watch the segment here (WARNING: Viewer discretion advised.)

Photos: Trump, world leaders mark 100 years since World War I armistice

World leaders gathered by the dozens Sunday to mark the end of World War I 100 years ago, turning Paris into the epicenter of global commemorations.

Topless protester runs toward Trump motorcade before World War I armistice commemoration

A topless protester approached President Donald Trump's motorcade Sunday morning as dozens of world leaders gathered in Paris to celebrate the 100-year anniversary of the World War I armistice.

>> PHOTOS: Trump, world leaders mark 100 years since World War I armistice

According to The Associated Press, the woman, a member of the Paris-based feminist group Femen, ran past security and into the street, yelling, "Fake peace maker!" at the cars. Police apprehended her just a few yards away from the motorcade, Reuters reported.

>> Read more trending news 

Femen "frequently carries out shock protests against sexism, racism, homophobia and other social and political issues," Reuters reported

Read more here or here.

Hospital fires voter who wore shirt depicting Confederate flag, noose to polls

The man who has been facing backlash for wearing a shirt depicting a Confederate flag and noose while voting in Mississippi has been fired from Regional One Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee. 

>> Watch the news report here

According to Regional One officials, the man was an employee at the hospital, but he was terminated Thursday after an internal investigation. 

>> PREVIOUS STORY: Mississippi voter's shirt depicting noose, Confederate flag sparks outrage

The shirt worn by the man – whom WHBQ is not identifying because he did not commit a crime – depicted a Confederate rebel flag with a noose hanging from the top, with the description “Mississippi Justice.”

>> See the image here

Regional One released the following statement regarding the man’s termination: 

"Regional One Health is committed to a safe, secure, and comfortable work environment for our patients, guests, employees and medical staff. All allegations of inappropriate behavior and violations of trust involving employees are reviewed and investigated. We take this process seriously and are committed to following all necessary steps to verify the truth. 

"On November 7, 2018, we became aware of a photo circulating on social media of an individual identified online as an employee of Regional One Health. The Regional One Health legal and human resources teams promptly began an investigation into this employee and to determine if these allegations were real and accurate. 

"We understand and appreciate the intense feelings related to this situation, but it is our duty to perform a thorough due diligence to verify the truth. 

"As of today, November 8, 2018, we have completed our investigation and what we learned led to the termination of the employee in question. Regional One Health holds employees to a high standard. We are committed to upholding our mission to provide compassionate care and exceptional services to all.

"This includes fostering a safe and protected work and care environment for all. Behaviors contrary to these principles are unacceptable and will not be tolerated." 

>> Jamie Dupree: Election overtime – it’s controversial, but much of it is normal

DeSoto County, Mississippi, officials confirmed the man broke no laws by wearing the controversial shirt to the polls.

However, he is facing fierce backlash from the Mid-South community. 

The NAACP branch in Jackson told WHBQ that it is aware of the picture, and its DeSoto County branch office is looking into the situation further.

“It’s a sad time that people still have that mind-set,” said Clarence Walker, a resident. 

DeSoto County election commissioner Paul Beall told WHBQ that he has been contacted about the photo by dozens of people.

>> Read more trending news  

Beall said the man in the photo is an unidentified voter, and he was being assisted by a poll worker on a new machine designed for handicapped people. 

There is a law, however, against “distributing campaign literature” or wearing a shirt with an active candidate’s name on it within 150 feet of a polling location. 

Officials are not investigating the incident any further. 

Although many across the Mid-South said that the laws should change based on that photo alone. 

“There’s no reason why you should fear the person next to you,” Walker said. 

Mississippi voter's shirt depicting noose, Confederate flag sparks outrage

The photo of a Mississippi man who reportedly voted while wearing a shirt featuring a noose and Confederate flag is going viral, according to WHBQ in Memphis, Tennessee.

>> Watch the news report here

The shirt worn by the man – who was not identified in the news report – depicts a noose hanging from the top of the Confederate rebel flag, along with the words, “Mississippi Justice.”

>> See the image here

>> Jamie Dupree: Trump basks in GOP gains in Senate, warns Democrats over investigations

According to DeSoto County officials, the man did not break any laws by wearing the shirt to the polls. 

That is despite fierce backlash from the Mid-South community. 

The NAACP branch in Jackson told WHBQ that it is aware of the picture, and its DeSoto County branch office is looking into the situation further.

>> Jamie Dupree: As Sessions is ousted, Democrats fear Trump will turn next to Mueller

“It’s a sad time that people still have that mindset,” said Clarence Walker, a resident. 

DeSoto County election commissioner Paul Beall told WHBQ that he has been contacted about the photo by dozens of people. 

Beall said the man in the photo is an unidentified voter, and he was being assisted by a poll worker on a new machine designed for handicapped people. 

>> Read more trending news 

There is a law, however, against “distributing campaign literature” or wearing a shirt with an active candidate’s name on it within 150 feet of a polling location. 

Officials are not investigating the incident any further, although many across the Mid-South said the laws should change based on that photo alone. 

“There’s no reason why you should fear the person next to you,” Walker said. 

Election Day 2018: What DeSantis' win over Gillum in Florida governor's race means for state

Republican Ron DeSantis is Florida’s new governor-elect, capturing 55,000 more votes than Democrat Andrew Gillum.

>> See the tweet here

President Donald Trump chimed in on Twitter Wednesday morning to congratulate DeSantis on his win.

In a speech Tuesday night, DeSantis thanked all of his supporters for their dedication and effort during the campaign.

>> Jamie Dupree: Tale of two elections as Dems take House, GOP expands Senate majority

In the position, DeSantis will be able to appoint three members to the Florida Supreme Court. He also will have a hand in congressional redistricting after the 2020 Census, which will have impacts on the state’s congressional races going forward.

His win also makes Jeanette Nunez only the third female lieutenant governor in Florida history.

In a concession speech, Andrew Gillum attributed his loss to low voter turnout among Democrats.

>> Read more trending news 

He said he called to congratulate DeSantis, but added that a congratulatory call is in no way an endorsement of his opponent's policies.

"We still have to be willing to show up every single day and demand our seat at the table. We've got to be willing, inside of elections and outside of elections, to say that our voices still matter. That we still have relevance," Gillum said.

Election Day 2018: Florida governor, U.S. Senate races headed for recount

UPDATE: There will be a recount in the Florida governor and U.S. Senate races, according to the Secretary of State’s office.

The agriculture commissioner race also faces a recount, WFTV reported.

The decision was made Saturday afternoon after the state received unofficial election results from all 67 counties.

>>Here’s how a recount would work

Read the original report below.

The U.S. Senate race between Florida Gov. Rick Scott, a Republican, and Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson is still statistically too close to call – despite Scott calling the race for himself Tuesday night.

>> Jamie Dupree: Tale of two elections as Dems take House, GOP expands Senate majority

Poll results are counting in at 50-50, with Scott pulling ahead slightly with less than 40,000 votes between them.

In a speech to supporters in Naples just before midnight on Tuesday, Scott said he was confident in his victory.

>> Watch the video here

"We've done this for over 200 years, and after these campaigns we come together and that’s what we're gonna do, we come together," he said.

"So thank you to all of you because everyone in this room has been a part of it.”

>> Election Day 2018 live updates: Democrats seize control of House; GOP retains Senate

Nelson has not conceded the race, and never came out to speak to the crowd at his campaign watch party Tuesday night. But his campaign manager said Nelson is likely to address supporters Wednesday. 

Nelson has served in the Senate since 2001, and before that in Congress since 1979.

>> Read more trending news 

An automatic recount will be called if final numbers between the candidates tally in within 0.5 percent of each other. Final vote counts are still pending.

Election Day 2018: Kemp 'confident' of victory, Abrams predicts runoff for Georgia governor

Republican Brian Kemp clung to a slim lead over Stacey Abrams in the Georgia governor's race early Wednesday as final election returns trickled in, but the Democrat said she would not concede until more absentee ballots were counted.

>> Jamie Dupree: Tale of two elections as Dems take House, GOP expands Senate majority

Predicting a Dec. 4 runoff matchup with Kemp, Abrams told voters to prepare for a “do-over” as her campaign pointed to tens of thousands of absentee ballots still out in metro Atlanta counties.

“And I need you to know that it is my mission to serve you, to serve Georgia, to make you proud,” she said. “And for those who didn’t pick me the first time, to change your mind about me and what we can accomplish together.”

Kemp’s supporters, meanwhile, said there was no way for Abrams to force the race into overtime. U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, a former Georgia governor, said it was “mathematically impossible” for Abrams to win. And Kemp said he was “confident” he would win, though he did not declare victory.

>> Election Day 2018 live updates: Democrats seize control of House; GOP retains Senate

“There are votes left to be counted, but we have a very strong lead,” he said. “And folks, make no mistake: The math is on our side to win this election.”

WSB-TV reported early Wednesday that Kemp led Abrams by nearly 89,000 votes with 100 percent of precincts reporting. There were roughly 284,000 mail-in ballots cast statewide, including about 110,000 in DeKalb, Cobb, Fulton and Gwinnett counties. It was unclear how many have been counted.

If neither candidate gets the majority-vote margin they need to win the election outright, that would mean the nation’s political spotlight would shift firmly to Georgia over the next month – and the most expensive gubernatorial election in state history gets even pricier.

>> Election Day 2018: Voting security; why proposed security changes never happened

Other contests that remained unsettled Tuesday night included the 6th and 7th congressional district races in Atlanta’s northern suburbs, as well as the battle for secretary of state, which appeared headed to a runoff.

In the race for the state’s top job, Abrams is trying to upend nearly two decades of Republican rule to become the nation’s first black female governor by staking her campaign on a wave of support from progressives and left-leaning minorities who usually skip midterm elections.

Kemp has tried to energize supporters of Donald Trump by relentlessly appealing to conservatives with promises to expand gun rights, cut taxes and defend the president. He’s worked to bring in Trump supporters who typically ignored statewide elections before his run for the White House two years ago.

>> Election Day 2018: Fulton County, including Atlanta, using 700 fewer voting machines … here's why

It would mean a flood of additional attention to a race that’s already become a national proxy fight. Runoffs in Georgia tend to favor Republicans, but Democrats hope a flood of momentum would help keep Abrams’ supporters motivated.

In the race’s final stretch, Abrams campaigned with former President Barack Obama, media icon Oprah Winfrey and virtually every potential 2020 Democratic hopeful for president as she ratcheted up her attempts to energize the party’s liberal base rather than trying to persuade moderate voters to support her.

Kemp focused his campaign on mobilizing conservatives who helped power Trump’s victory in the state in 2016, and the president headlined a final, raucous rally for the Republican on Sunday in Macon that drew thousands of voters.

>> Read more trending news 

The two candidates, who were bitter rivals long before the campaign, were sharply divided on many of the state’s biggest debates, such as tax policy, criminal justice, illegal immigration and climate change. But they may have clashed most bitterly over voting rights and ballot access.

Abrams’ allies demanded Kemp resign from his role as secretary of state, which oversees state elections, and she warned that his office was implementing policies to intimidate and suppress minority voters.

Democrats amplified their calls for his resignation when Kemp’s office opened an investigation of the state Democratic Party two days before the election, claiming an attempted hack of voter registration files without disclosing evidence of the alleged incursion.

– Information from WSBTV.com was used in this report.

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