Georgia Election Officials May Be Satisfied, but the New Audit Doesn't Belong to Them

AP Photo/Ben Gray

As Shipwreckedcrew covered yesterday, “[o]n Friday, a Georgia State Court Judge ruled that approximately 145,000 absentee ballots cast and counted in Fulton County, Georgia, must be copied and turned over for inspection to Plaintiffs in lawsuits brought in the aftermath of the outcome of the November 2020 presidential election contest in Georgia.”

This new ruling has unfortunately led to renewed usage of the execrable term “The Big Lie” from some Georgia Democrats and members of the media. The denigration of the effort, particularly on the part of officials who, in theory, should care about election integrity on behalf of the voters in the state, has been swift. This matters even more now in Georgia because the new audit is being driven by a lawsuit from actual voters and poll observers concerned about potential fraud in the 2020 election in Georgia’s most populous county. They’re so serious, in fact, the plaintiffs are paying for it themselves.

A fact apparently not compelling enough to keep Fulton County Chairman Robb Pitts, an elected official, from characterizing the effort as futile and insinuating it’s in the realm of conspiracy.

“This conspiracy theory about counterfeit ballots has been trotted out by proponents of the ‘Big Lie’ across the country and shot down every time,” he said in a statement on Friday after the judge ordered the county to unseal the ballots.

The Georgia voters driving this new audit should surely be forgiven for expecting a tad more support from someone they elected to help protect them in these matters. But they are seemingly undeterred.

The nine petitioners seeking to inspect and scan Fulton County’s absentee ballots are led by Garland Favorito, a Fulton County voter who said, in the petition last December that launched the case, that he saw an “abnormal” increase in votes for Biden while observing the ballot tabulation in his county. Favorito is the co-founder of a self-described election watchdog group called Voters Organized for Trusted Election Results in Georgia, according to his Twitter profile.

The new Georgia audit is markedly different from the one happening in Maricopa County, AZ, where millions of ballots are being recounted by hand. Georgia’s audit is less focused on the final tally. It’s intended to identify evidence of fraud if any exists.

First, there’s the matter of what these are in a practical sense, and what their goals are.

In Arizona, they are recounting by hand all 2.1 million ballots in Maricopa County, the state’s largest and home to Phoenix. The idea is to determine if the results were somehow incorrect.

In Georgia, it’s a very different case. The state conducted its own hand-count audit immediately after results were first certified, and then re-counted by machine a third time at the request of the Trump campaign, which it was legally entitled to do by state law because of how close the results were.

What’s happening in Georgia is that a group of voters and election observers are contending that fraudulent absentee ballots were inserted into the votes of Fulton County, the state’s largest and home to Atlanta.

They will be inspecting the county’s 145,000 ballots and taking digital images of the ballots to be “distributed to experts for forensic inspection” because they believe they will prove that some of these ballots were not legitimate.

In short, this new audit is the result of concerns some voters had about what they say they saw at the polls. These voters weren’t satisfied with official recounts that had already occurred in Georgia, so they decided to take matters into their own hands, as is their right.

Tea Party Patriots Foundation (TPPF), headquartered in Atlanta, had filed an amicus curiae brief in support of Favorito’s lawsuit and TPPF President Jenny Beth Martin called the judge’s ruling a win for election integrity Sunday.

This is a big win for all those who care about election integrity and want to make sure that future elections are conducted the right way,” Martin said. “This is a critical issue for all Americans, regardless of party affiliation. For the American people to accept election results, there has to be confidence in the process. As of right now, there is a lack of confidence in that process and that confidence must be restored. Today’s ruling is an important step in giving us the answers we need to move forward and rebuild trust.”