A worker at the Fulton County Board of Registration and Elections works to process absentee ballots at the State Farm Arena Nov. 2, 2020, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

By Itoro N. Umontuen
The Atlanta Voice via NNPA

(NNPA Newswire) – On May 21, Georgia Superior Court Judge Brian Amero ordered Fulton County to unseal more than 145,000 absentee ballots to be examined for possible fraud.

The ruling stems from a lawsuit filed by Garland Favorito, co-founder of Voters Organized for Trusted Election Results in Georgia, which claims he and his counterparts are crafting a plan to scan and forensically analyze the Fulton County mail-in ballots. He said they will submit that plan to the judge before May 28.

Georgia’s Electoral College members met at the state Capitol and certified the state’s 16 electoral votes for Joe Biden on Dec. 14, and Judge Amero’s decision comes more than four months after Biden’s victory was certified by Congress in a session interrupted when supporters of then-President Donald Trump stormed the U.S. Capitol, fought with police and vandalized offices inside.

The ruling drew praise from former U.S. Sen. Kelly Loeffler, R-Ga., who founded and chairs the voter registration group Greater Georgia.

“Voter confidence in our election system is the bedrock of our republic,” Loeffler said. “Unfortunately, inconsistencies in Fulton County’s November 2020 absentee ballots cast serious doubt on voters’ faith in our elections.

“The integrity of future elections is critical, and Judge Amero’s decision is a helpful step in restoring transparency, accountability, and voter confidence.”

With the ballots unsealed, Judge Brian Amero said, “Petitioners shall only be permitted to inspect and scan said ballots in accordance with protocols and practices that will be set forth by further order of the Court,” according to court documents. The judge directed counsel for the parties to convene where the ballots are being stored next week.

Democrats accused Republicans of continuing to grasp at straws to overturn an election Biden clearly won.

“The votes have been counted multiple times, including a hand recount, and no evidence of fraud has been found,” Fulton County Commission Chairman Robb Pitts said.

“The fact remains that Fulton County safely and securely carried out an election in the midst of a public health crisis. It’s a shame to see that the ‘Big Lie’ lives on and could cost the hardworking taxpayers of this county.”

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, a Republican who has suffered unending criticism from his own party after standing up to Trump’s attempts to challenge the Georgia results, offered a more sympathetic response to the judge’s ruling.

“From day one I have encouraged Georgians with legitimate concerns about the election in their counties to pursue those claims through legal avenues,” Raffensperger said in a statement. “Fulton County has a longstanding history of election mismanagement that has understandably weakened voters’ faith in its system. Allowing this audit provides another layer of transparency and citizen engagement.”

This article originally appeared in The Atlanta Voice.

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