Georgia Judge Dismisses Lawsuit by Trump Campaign Over Late-Arriving Ballots

Georgia Judge Dismisses Lawsuit by Trump Campaign Over Late-Arriving Ballots
Election officials count absentee ballots in Milwaukee, Wis., on Nov. 4, 2020. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Janita Kan

A judge in Georgia on Nov. 5 dismissed a lawsuit filed by President Donald Trump’s campaign alleging that a county was improperly counting ballots that were received after the state’s Election Day deadline.

Chatham County Superior Court Judge James Bass made the decision at the close of a roughly one-hour hearing, according to The Associated Press. He didn’t provide a reason for his decision. The county includes the heavily Democratic city of Savannah.

The Trump campaign and the Georgia Republican Party on Nov. 4 filed the lawsuit against the Chatham County Board of Elections, asking a judge to order the county to secure and account for ballots received after 7 p.m. on Nov. 3.

The campaign alleged that late-arriving ballots in the county were improperly mingled with valid ballots. According to court documents, a registered poll watcher said that he saw 53 mail ballots that appeared to have arrived after the 7 p.m. deadline being added to a group of ballots that arrived on time.

County elections officials testified that all 53 ballots had been received on time.

As of the morning of Nov. 5, Trump held a razor-thin lead in Georgia, with 99 percent of the votes counted, according to The Associated Press.

Georgia officials said at the time that the Peach State has just over 60,000 votes left to be counted. The state has 16 electoral votes.

The Trump campaign mounted legal challenges in several states on Nov. 4. The campaign announced that it was suing to temporarily stop ballot counting in Michigan and Pennsylvania “until meaningful access has been granted” to the Trump campaign to observe the opening of ballots and the counting process.

Meanwhile, the campaign has also filed a motion in a pending Supreme Court case—cited as Republican Party v. Boockvar—to allow Trump to join in the case. It challenges a Pennsylvania Supreme Court decision that requires election officials to accept absentee ballots received up to three days after Nov. 3.

A number of justices on the court have signaled that it was open to reviewing the case.

Trump’s campaign said on Nov. 5 that it’s filing a lawsuit in Nevada, alleging that there were more than 10,000 ballots cast in the state by voters who don’t live there.

Trump campaign Nevada chairman Adam Laxalt said at a news conference that there were “examples of ballots mailed across this valley ... in trash cans ... people getting as many as 18 ballots” in the mail, saying that it’s evidence of voter irregularity.

“We still have not been able to observe these signatures or meaningfully examine mail-in ballots out of hundreds of thousands of ballots cast,” Laxalt, a former Nevada attorney general, said in the news conference. He added there were “dead voters that have been counted.”

The Trump campaign didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Jack Phillips, Mimi Nguyen-Ly, and The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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