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Judge dismisses ballot inspection lawsuit alleging fraud in Georgia’s 2020 presidential race

The ruling comes one day after state election investigators told the court they were unable to find evidence supporting the allegation that counterfeit ballots were counted in the state's most populous county.

ATLANTA (CN) — A state court judge on Wednesday dismissed a lawsuit filed by nine voters in Georgia’s most populous county alleging fraud in the 2020 presidential election and demanding an inspection of 147,000 absentee ballots.

Filed in December against members of the Fulton County Board of Elections, the complaint alleged that counterfeit ballots were counted during the November election, diluting the votes of qualified voters.

The plaintiffs also alleged that the county failed to properly manage and oversee ballot processing during a recount of votes in Fulton County, the majority-Democratic county where much of Atlanta is located.

But Henry County Superior Court Judge Brian Amero ruled that, "regardless of the veracity of these allegations," the voters lacked standing to bring the lawsuit. Amero's ruling blocked an outside review of the ballots.

The decision comes one day after state election investigators filed a brief in the case telling the court they found no evidence to support the plaintiffs’ allegations that fraudulent ballots were counted in a November statewide audit.

Amero ruled Wednesday that the voters, including lead plaintiff Garland Favorito of the group VoterGA, “failed to allege a particularized injury” and therefore cannot claim that their equal protection and due process rights have been violated.

The lawsuit was based on sworn statements by two Republican election auditors who claimed during the November audit that there were large numbers of “pristine” absentee ballots that looked as though they had been marked by machine rather than by hand.

Other Republican auditors claimed some absentee ballots did not have creases which should have been present from folding the ballots into envelopes.

According to the brief filed Tuesday on behalf of Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, election investigators did not find any counterfeit or fraudulent ballots in the ballot batches cited by the auditors.

Favorito has reportedly said he plans to appeal the order.

“All citizens of Georgia have a right to know whether or not counterfeit ballots were injected into the Fulton County election results,” he said in a statement.

The order is the latest in a series of decisions against supporters of former President Donald Trump who have asked courts to help them pursue audits and reviews based on suspicions of fraud during last year’s election.

Democrat Joe Biden defeated Trump in Georgia’s November 2020 presidential election by a slim margin of 12,284 votes, becoming the first Democratic presidential candidate to win the state since 1992.

Trump directed much of his ire after the loss on the Peach State’s election officials. The former president publicly blamed Republican Governor Brian Kemp and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, also a Republican, for failing to act to overturn his defeat.

Trump lambasted the ruling in an email to his supporters Wednesday.

“After a very long wait, a judge in Georgia refuses to let us look at the ballots, which I have little doubt are terrible,” Trump wrote. “This whole situation is a disgrace to our country… The fight continues, we will never give up.”

Multiple investigations and three ballot counts have confirmed that no widespread fraud occurred in Georgia.

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