Fulton County Must Unseal Ballots For Potential Review : NPR

Fulton County employees count postal ballots in Atlanta on November 6, 2020. The order of a judge marks the most recent challenge for the county in a seemingly endless electoral cycle. Jessica McGowan / Getty Images Hide caption

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Jessica McGowan / Getty Images

Fulton County employees count postal ballots in Atlanta on November 6, 2020. The order of a judge marks the most recent challenge for the county in a seemingly endless electoral cycle.

Jessica McGowan / Getty Images

A judge on Friday ordered Georgia’s most populous county to make plans to unseal at least 142,000 postal ballot papers received in the 2020 election, paving the way for another possible ballot review.

The order comes in a state lawsuit filed by multiple plaintiffs alleging fraudulent postal ballot papers were counted in Fulton County.

Supreme Court Justice Brian Amero ordered Fulton County, which includes much of Atlanta, and plaintiffs to attend a hearing at a later date to discuss the logistics of handling the paper votes, the district spokeswoman said , Jessica Corbitt-Dominguez.

“We will continue to participate in the trial that ultimately confirms the integrity of the electoral process,” said Corbitt-Dominguez.

The command marks the latest challenge for Fulton County in a seemingly endless election cycle that includes threats against election workers, a hand check, a recount, and two high profile runoffs to the U.S. Senate.

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President Biden narrowly defeated Donald Trump in Georgia, and the former president and his allies targeted Fulton County on a disinformation campaign aimed at reversing the state’s election results.

Several federal lawsuits for widespread electoral fraud in Georgia have been dismissed.

The news comes from Georgia as a controversial 2020 election review continues in Arizona’s largest county, despite concerns raised by Georgia district and the US Department of Justice.

As part of the Georgia lawsuit, Fulton County had already created scanned images of the postal ballots, but one of the plaintiffs, Garland Favorito, who has been questioning Georgia’s voting technology for years, said he wanted the ballots to be scanned at a higher resolution “forensically analyzed”.

Favorito insists the lawsuit is important to ensure that the future elections in Georgia are transparent and fair. He said the judge had ordered Fulton County to physically handle the ballot papers for possible scanning.

An amicus letter filed by attorneys for Georgian Foreign Minister Brad Raffesnperger warned against allowing plaintiffs in the lawsuit to edit the paper votes themselves. He said there were “serious privacy and security risks,” pointing out that the ballot papers “can be easily changed and tampered with” “to spread potential misinformation.

Raffensperger, a Republican, said in a statement Friday: “From day one, I have encouraged Georgians with concerns about the elections in their counties to pursue these claims legally.”

Fulton County’s top elected official Rob Pitts, a Democrat, struck down the lawsuit and linked it to Trump’s repeated unsubstantiated allegations of electoral fraud.

“It is a shame to see the ‘big lie’ live on and cost the county’s hardworking taxpayers,” he said.

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