Georgia ballot inspection case dismissed after no fraud found

A judge dismissed a lawsuit Wednesday by Donald Trump supporters who sought to inspect absentee ballots from last year’s presidential election, a decision that came a day after Georgia investigators told the court they were unable to find any counterfeit ballots.

Superior Court Judge Brian Amero’s ruling ended the last remaining major lawsuit over Georgia’s 2020 election and prevented an outside review of Fulton County’s 147,000 original absentee ballots.

The judge’s order is the latest in a series of decisions against supporters of the former Republican president who have asked the courts to help them pursue suspicions of fraud or reverse the results of the election.

State election officials have said there’s no indication of fraud after three ballot counts and multiple investigations. In last year’s presidential election, Democrat Joe Biden defeated Trump in Georgia by about 12,000 votes.

Though Amero’s decision was based on the legal principle of standing — the plaintiffs hadn’t suffered a specific injury that would give them a right to sue — he reviewed the evidence before making his ruling.

State election investigators couldn’t find any fraudulent or counterfeit ballots within ballot batches cited by Republican vote-counters who participated in a statewide audit in November, according to a court filing Tuesday on behalf of Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger.

There was no indication of “pristine” ballots with perfectly filled-in ovals and no creases, as alleged in the lawsuit. All ballots in those batches appeared to be authentic.

“While no election is perfect, there was no widespread fraud or illegal voting large enough to overturn the election,” Raffensperger, a Republican, said Wednesday. “The results were, as we reported, that President Trump came up short in the state of Georgia.”

Fulton Commission Chairman Robb Pitts called the dismissal of the lawsuit “a win for democracy.”

“This lawsuit was the result of the ‘big lie,’ which is nothing more than a meritless conspiracy theory being spread by people who simply cannot accept that their side lost,” Pitts said. “Its defeat here today should echo throughout the nation.”

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