Despite the attempts by Fulton County to have a case alleging ballot fraud dismissed, a state judge has allowed the cased to proceed:
NBC NEWS – A judge on Thursday allowed a lawsuit alleging fraud in Georgia’s most populous county during the November election and seeking a review of absentee ballots to move forward.
Originally filed in December, the lawsuit says there is evidence of fraudulent ballots and improper ballot counting in Fulton County. The county, county elections board and county courts clerk had filed motions to dismiss the lawsuit. They argued, among other things that the the lawsuit was barred by sovereign immunity, a principle that says state and local governments and can only be sued if they agree to it.
After holding a hearing on those motions Monday, Henry County Superior Court Chief Judge Brian Amero, who was specially appointed to preside over the case, agreed. He ruled that the constitutional claims against those three entities are barred by sovereign immunity and dismissed them. But he also granted a request by the petitioners to add the individual members of the county election board as respondents in the lawsuit instead.
The suit was filed by nine Georgia voters and is spearheaded by Garland Favorito, a longtime critic of Georgia’s election systems. As part of the suit, they are seeking to inspect some 147,000 absentee ballots to determine whether there are illegitimate ballots among them.
Several election workers and volunteers have signed sworn statements saying they saw absentee ballots during the audit that weren’t creased from being mailed, appeared to be marked by a machine rather than by hand and were printed on different paper. The lawsuit also repeats a widely circulated claim of fraud based on security video that shows cases of ballots being pulled from under a skirted table and counted while observers and the news media weren’t present.
The ballots are kept under seal in the custody of the clerk of Fulton County Superior and Magistrate courts. Amero in April ordered the court clerk to release the scanned absentee ballot images. At a hearing last month, Amero ordered that the paper ballots themselves be unsealed so that the petitioners who filed the lawsuit can inspect and scan them.
He had set a meeting for May 28 with the parties to sort out the logistics of how that review and scanning of paper ballots would proceed. But that meeting was canceled so he could hear the motions to dismiss first.
If I am understanding this correctly, today’s ruling is a big blow to Fulton County officials because the petitioners in the case were about to begin inspecting paper ballots last month after the judge had them unsealed. That was put on hold so the judge could weigh in on the dismissal. So now that the judge is refusing to completely dismiss the case, the petitioners can now proceed to work out the logistics of reviewing the paper ballots.
Let the audit begin!