Attorneys for Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger told the judge on Tuesday that investigators haven’t uncovered any illegitimate absentee ballots after they examined batches that four Republicans had claimed contained counterfeits. Investigators didn’t find any indication of “pristine” ballots with perfectly filled-in ovals and no creases, as alleged in the lawsuit.
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“Today was a win for democracy,” said Fulton Commission Chairman Robb Pitts. “This lawsuit was the result of the ‘big lie,’ which is nothing more than a meritless conspiracy theory being spread by people who simply cannot accept that their side lost. Its defeat here today should echo throughout the nation.”
The lead plaintiff in the case, Garland Favorito of the group VoterGA, said an in-depth inspection of absentee ballots was necessary to search for the counterfeit ballots that state investigators couldn’t find.
“All citizens of Georgia have a right to know whether or not counterfeit ballots were injected into the Fulton County election results,” Favorito said. “It is not adequate for any organization to secretly tell us there are no counterfeit ballots and refuse to let the public inspect them.”
Amero had previously dismissed the case against Fulton’s elections board and the county itself, but he allowed it to continue against individual members of the elections board.
Amero’s decision Wednesday dismisses remaining claims against three Democrats and two Republicans who were members of the board. The plaintiffs had sought to allow the case to move forward against only the board’s Republican members, who didn’t oppose the ballot review.
“Petitioners allege their votes have been diluted due to the ‘substantial likelihood’ that fraudulent ballots were introduced during ballot processing for the General Election,” Amero wrote in his dismissal order Wednesday. “However, regardless of the veracity of these allegations, the court finds petitioners have still failed to allege a particularized injury.”
While original paper ballots are confidential government records, according to state law, digital images of absentee ballots have been made public.
The ballot images don’t contain the kind of perfectly filled-in ovals and lack of fold marks that the plaintiffs had alleged, but they had said they needed to keep looking for problems with the original ballots.
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