Both Sides Claim Victory After Judge’s Ruling in Lawsuit Requiring Audit of Fulton County Absentee Ballots

Fulton County election workers examine ballots while vote counting, at State Farm Arena on November 5, 2020, in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Tami Chappell / AFP) (Photo by TAMI CHAPPELL/AFP via Getty Images)
TAMI CHAPPELL/AFP via Getty Images

A Georgia judge issued a ruling on Thursday in a lawsuit brought against Fulton County governmental entities by nine residents of Georgia seeking an audit of an estimated 147,000 absentee ballots cast in the November 2020 election that has both sides claiming victory.

Judge Brian Amero ruled that sovereign immunity prohibited the plaintiffs from suing the defendants, Fulton County, the Fulton County Board of Registration and Elections, and the Fulton County Clerk of Superior and Magistrate Courts, and granted the requests of the defendants to dismiss the case against them.

But the judge also permitted the plaintiffs to add the five individual members of the Fulton County Board of Registration and Elections to the lawsuit, thereby keeping parts of it alive, and allowing a previously ordered ballot inspection to continue.

“This is a huge victory for everyone who wants to get to the truth about the way in which Fulton County mishandled the absentee ballot count,” Bob Cheeley, an attorney for two of the nine plaintiffs, told Just the News.

“We were really pleased that the court has ruled in our favor for the fifth time,” plaintiff Garland Favorito told The Gateway Pundit Thursday night:

It muted the attempt to dismiss our case and that’s why we think it’s a significant victory for us… And by the way, this is being portrayed as a loss for us in one or two of the media. But actually, it’s really funny, it’s actually a victory. This continues the string of victories we have. We obtained the original protective order, we got the provisional approval to inspect the ballots, we got access to ballot images, we got the order to unseal the ballots. So every time we’ve gone to court we’ve come up with some victory.

Fulton County officials and establishment media outlets characterized the judge’s ruling as a victory for the defendants.

“Superior Court Judge Brian Amero’s ruling jeopardizes the prospects for the ballot inspection to continue, though a plaintiff in the lawsuit said he believes it will soon move forward,” The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported:

An attorney for the Fulton elections board said the ruling prevents the possibility for an in-person review of absentee ballots using high-powered microscopes in the Georgia World Congress Center, as sought by those who believe fraud produced Democrat Joe Biden’s 12,000-vote win in Georgia over Republican Donald Trump.

“That litigation is finished,” said Don Samuel, a prominent Atlanta attorney hired by the Fulton elections board. “Is there going to be an audit? Not right now. … There’s no discovery permitted. There’s no lawsuit pending anymore.” . . .

The judge left in place a previous order requiring the county to produce digital images of absentee ballots and other election records that are public documents under the Georgia Open Records Act.

Joe Biden was certified the winner of Georgia’s 16 Electoral College votes in the November 3, 2020, presidential election by a margin of less than 12,000 votes over former President Donald Trump.

It is unclear when the inspection of the Fulton County absentee ballots, currently stored at a warehouse in Atlanta, will begin or if further litigation could stop that inspection.

This case is Favorito v. Fulton County, No. 20CV343938 in the Superior Court of Fulton County.

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