A Georgia state judge on Friday directed Fulton County to allow a group of local voters to inspect all 147,000 mail-in ballots cast during the 2020 presidential election.
The decision, which comes in response to a lawsuit alleging that officials accepted thousands of fraudulent ballots, is a step forward, however is likely to be different than the audit in Maricopa County, Arizona.
In Georgia, Superior Court Judge Brian Amero ruled that the nine plaintiffs and their team of experts are able to examine copies of the ballots, but are prohibited from touching the originals. Further details are expected next week, the Washington Post reports.
However, Fulton County Board of Commissioners Chairman Robb Pitts is not happy.
“The fact remains that Fulton County safely and securely carried out an election in the midst of a public health pandemic,” Pitts said. “It’s a shame to see that the ‘Big Lie’ lives on and could cost the hardworking taxpayers of this country.”
Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said the decision will allow transparency.
“Fulton County has a long-standing history of election mismanagement that has understandably weakened voters’ faith in its system,” he said. “Allowing this audit provides another layer of transparency and citizen engagement.”
In an interview, Michael Patrick Leahy of Star News provided a deeper look into the ballot chain of custody or lack thereof in Georgia.
“Now, there were 145,000 absentee ballots cast in Fulton County in 2020. Some were delivered by mail, some were deposited in drop boxes,” he said. There were roughly around half a million votes cast in Fulton County.
“So, now they’re going to be able to look at those ballots. Here’s the problem,” he continued. “How do the ballots get there to be counted? We as the Georgia Star News asked Fulton County to deliver us all of those ballot transfer forms that track the absentee ballots. Finally, on May 3, they delivered what they said was a complete list except it wasn’t. They missed about 18,000 absentee ballots, according to their own spreadsheets. We only got 59,000. On Friday, we said ‘hey, send us the rest, breaking the story this morning.’ They responded, ‘we need more time.'”
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