A judge in Georgia unsealed roughly 145,000 absentee ballots from the November election for review in a Friday ruling.
The ballots must remain with Fulton County election officials throughout the audit, and the results of the review cannot impact the outcome of the November election, Henry County Superior Court Judge Brian Amero said. The plaintiffs in the case accepted the terms, saying that the review is still needed after controversial behavior by Fulton County election officials last year, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
“Friday’s decision came in a lawsuit filed by nine plaintiffs, including Garland Favorito, a Fulton County resident, and self-styled election watchdog,” the Journal-Constitution reported. “It’s one of more than 30 Georgia lawsuits stemming from the November presidential election and the January runoff for U.S. Senate. Some of the lawsuits are still winding their way through the courts.”
Former Sen. Kelly Loeffler, who now leads the voter registration group Greater Georgia Action after losing a runoff election in January, cheered the judge’s ruling in a statement:
Voter confidence in our election system is the bedrock of our republic. Unfortunately, inconsistencies in Fulton County’s November 2020 absentee ballots cast serious doubt on voters’ faith in our elections. An independent investigation even characterized Fulton County’s absentee ballot handling as ‘generally bad management.’ While there is a dire need to investigate a number of other well-documented issues, we must also inspect Fulton County’s absentee ballots to reassure Georgians that their voices are heard and their votes are counted. The integrity of future elections is critical, and Judge Amero’s decision is a helpful step in restoring transparency, accountability, and voter confidence. We look forward to the findings and their role in promoting transparency and rebuilding faith in our elections.