ATLANTA (AP) — Citing newly filed motions, a judge has canceled a meeting to discuss logistical plans for a review of absentee ballots from Georgia's most populous county.
Henry County Chief Judge Brian Amero last week agreed to unseal 147,000 mail ballots from Fulton County after a group of voters sued for access to look for evidence of fraud in last year's general election. He had scheduled a meeting Friday to discuss the specifics of the scanning and visual inspection of the ballots.
But in motions filed Wednesday and Thursday, Fulton County, the county board of elections and the county court clerk all asked the judge to dismiss the lawsuit. In an email sent to the parties Thursday, the judge said those motions need to be dealt with before logistics can be discussed.
Amero wrote in the email that he hopes to hold a hearing on the motions June 21 and plans to issue an order next week setting the hearing date.
The ballot review effort in Georgia is among several around the country pushed by Trump supporters and others who claim the 2020 election was marred by fraud. State and federal authorities have repeatedly said there was no evidence of widespread fraud in the election.
Georgia election results were certified months ago, and a new review cannot change the results. After the initial tally and before certification, the state did a full hand recount of the presidential race to satisfy a new audit requirement in state law. Another recount, in which the ballots were run through scanners to be tallied again, was done at the request of former Republican President Donald Trump’s campaign after he lost the state by a narrow margin to Democrat Joe Biden.
Garland Favorito, who is known for espousing numerous conspiracy theories, is leading the review effort in Georgia. He says he's seeking the truth.
“If all these votes are correct and there are no counterfeit ballots, then we can go home and rest assured that the election was conducted correctly,” he said. “If there are a lot of counterfeit ballots, then we need to figure out how to prevent that in the future.”
Fulton County Commission Chairman Robb Pitts has repeatedly slammed the push for a review.
“It is outrageous that Fulton County continues to be a target of those who cannot accept the results from last year’s election,” he said last week after Amero agreed to unseal the ballots. “The votes have been counted multiple times, including a hand recount, and no evidence of fraud has been found.”
Kate Brumback, The Associated Press