Georgia Judge Postpones Ballot Examination After County Files Motion to Dismiss

Georgia Judge Postpones Ballot Examination After County Files Motion to Dismiss
Media crews film while election workers process absentee ballots at State Farm Arena in Atlanta on Nov. 2, 2020. (Megan Varner/Getty Images)
Zachary Stieber

A judge in Georgia told parties in an election integrity case on May 27 that a previously scheduled meeting at a ballot storage warehouse was canceled after officials filed a flurry of motions in the case.

Henry County Superior Court Judge Brian Amero said a May 28 meeting was no longer taking place because of motions filed by Fulton County, the county’s Board of Registration and Elections, and the county’s clerk of Superior and Magistrate Courts, a spokesperson for the court confirmed to The Epoch Times.

Amero said the motions must be heard before the plaintiffs can gain access to the absentee ballots. He will hear the motions on June 21.

“It seems like a desperation move. The silver lining is that we now have more time to perfect the changes we had to make in our inspection plan,” Garland Favorito, the lead petitioner, told The Epoch Times via email.

County officials argued that the complaint filed by voters should be dismissed because the petitioners failed to serve, or even attempt to serve, the county. They also said Fulton County doesn’t have final control over elections, that petitioners aren’t entitled to declaratory judgment, and that petitioners haven’t complied with election contest requirements.

Amero heard in a hearing last week that petitioners weren’t able to properly examine ballot images they’ve received because of their low resolution—200 dots per inch (DPI). Amero granted the petitioners’ request to unseal the mailed ballots and said they could go to where they were stored in order to observe county workers create higher resolution images of the ballots.

Amero mentioned during the hearing that no parties had filed a motion to dismiss, allowing petitioners to obtain some discovery.

During the hearing, lawyers for the county urged the judge not to grant access to the ballots.

Before the latest update in the case, some officials had supported the ballot examination.

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, a Republican, opposed letting petitioners get access to the ballots, but said he supported Amero’s ruling.

“From day one, I have encouraged Georgians with concerns about the election in their counties to pursue those claims through legal avenues. Fulton County has a long standing history of election mismanagement that has understandably weakened voters’ faith in its system. Allowing this audit provides another layer of transparency and citizen engagement,” he told The Epoch Times in an email.

However, Democrat Fulton County Commission Chairman Robb Pitts criticized the attempt to examine the ballots.

“It is outrageous that Fulton County continues to be a target of those who cannot accept the results from last year’s election,” he told news outlets in a statement.

Zachary Stieber is a senior reporter for The Epoch Times based in Maryland. He covers U.S. and world news. Contact Zachary at [email protected]
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