After months of consideration, a judge in Fulton County, Georgia, has ruled that absentee ballots from the 2020 presidential election will be unsealed and examined for evidence of fraud.
Henry Superior Court Judge Brian Amero said in a hearing Friday that Fulton election officials will be required to keep ballots in their custody. More than 145,000 ballots will be analyzed. The decision comes on the heels of a lawsuit filed by voting integrity advocate Garland Favorito, who determined county workers may have recorded individual votes multiple times, and eight others. His lawsuit directly points to footage of the counting process and statements from individuals who observed the counting. There have been dozens of election-related lawsuits in Georgia.
“Georgia voters deserve to have confidence that their voice — and their vote — is heard,” said former Republican Georgia Sen. Kelly Loeffler, who lost her seat to Democrat Raphael Warnock in a January runoff election. “Unfortunately, the many irregularities we saw in the 2020 elections have eroded trust in our electoral process. We fully support the move to unseal and investigate absentee ballot process in Fulton County. Transparency is the first step toward restoring integrity and accountability in our elections, and we look forward to the investigations’ findings.”
In March, Amero stressed the need for a thorough plan to ensure the security of the ballots. “We want to do this in such a way that dispels rumors and disinformation and sheds light,” the judge said at a hearing. “The devil’s in the details.”
The plaintiffs initially desired to take the ballots to a private company for contractual work, but Amero declined the move. At the direction of the judge, absentee ballots will be scanned and county officials will be asked to provide images of the voting information. The plaintiffs are paying for the audits.
In the 2020 election, Fulton County swung heavily to President Joe Biden, who took a little over 72 percent of votes: 380,212 compared to former President Donald Trump’s 137,237 votes. Georgia ended up being a major battleground state, with Biden being declared the victor by about 11,700 votes.