2. SOUNDBITE (English) Nan Orrock, Georgia State Senator
"Yesterday as you know a seated state senator, my colleague Nikema Williams was arrested in this very building, in her place of work for standing with her constituents on the second floor and for urging that we count every vote."
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Atlanta, Georgia - 13 November 2018
3. Amateur of Williams being arrested and peaceful protest
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Atlanta, Georgia - 14 November 2018
4. Shot of Nikema Williams speaking at capitol
5. SOUNDBITE (English) Nikema Williams, Georgia State Senator
"I was going about my day and I heard a lot of commotion downstairs and saw that people that I recognized, constituents, and I joined them downstairs and I joined them down in the rotunda of the capitol, never did I imagine that my day would end up with me being in jail. I spent 5 hours, a little over 5 hours in the Fulton County jail, because I as a senator did not leave the state capitol when capitol police told me to leave during "Special Session" as a sitting member of the legislature, I did not leave the capitol and so I was taken out in handcuffs and jailed because I stood with my constituents to voice their concerns and make sure that every vote is counted."
Amid lingering uncertainty over Georgia's still unsettled race for governor, a state senator on Wednesday decried her arrest a day earlier during a protest with her constituents as they demanded all votes be counted.
Sen. Nikema Williams, an Atlanta Democrat, was one of 15 people arrested as dozens gathered in the second-floor rotunda of the statehouse loudly chanting "Count the votes!" and waving signs with the same slogan. Police zip-tied Williams' hands behind her back and led her from the Capitol to one of two vans holding other arrested protesters.
Unofficial results in the governor's race give a slim majority to Republican Brian Kemp, who served until last week as Georgia's secretary of state and chief elections official. But Democrat Stacey Abrams maintains that enough uncounted absentee, mail-in and provisional ballots remain to force a Dec. 4 runoff and keep alive her bid to become the first black woman in American history to be elected governor of a state. Other down-ballot contests also remain undecided.
She told Senate colleagues, who are gathered for a special legislative session, that she was booked and strip-searched at the Fulton County jail and held for five hours.
"I as a senator did not leave the state capitol when capitol police told me to leave during "Special Session" as a sitting member of the legislature, I did not leave the capitol and so I was taken out in handcuffs and jailed because I stood with my constituents to voice their concerns and make sure that every vote is counted," Williams said.
The Georgia Constitution says legislators "shall be free from arrest during sessions of the General Assembly ... except for treason, felony, or breach of the peace."
State law sets a Nov. 20 deadline, but secretary of state's office elections director Chris Harvey testified last week that the state had planned to certify the election results Wednesday, a day after the deadline for counties to certify their results. He said that would allow preparations to begin for any runoff contests, including those already projected in the races for secretary of state and a Public Service Commission seat.
Unofficial returns show Kemp with a lead just shy of 60,000 votes out of more than 3.9 million cast. Abrams would need a net gain of about 21,000 votes to force a runoff.
The Associated Press has not called the race.
Kemp's campaign has repeatedly called on Abrams to concede, calling her campaign's lawsuit "a disgrace to democracy" that ignores mathematical realities.
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Government and politics , State governments , Legislature , Gubernatorial elections , State elections , Elections , Arrests , Crime , General news , Arrests , Law and order , Protests and demonstrations , Political and civil unrest , State legislature , State legislature
Stacey Abrams , Brian P. Kemp
Georgia state government, Georgia State General Assembly