An audit of some 145,000 absentee ballots from the 2020 presidential election in Fulton County, Georgia can move forward, a judge ruled Friday, according to The Georgia Star News.
The plaintiffs in the case are hoping to verify signatures on the ballots, which they say wasn’t done previously. Even if they do turn up improprieties, however, it wouldn’t change the outcome of the race, which was already certified by both the state and Congress.
Questions about absentee votes
According to the Wall Street Journal, former President Donald Trump lost the state of Georgia by a razor-thin margin of 12,000 votes thanks in large part to absentee ballots, which skewed to the left, but many on the right had questions about whether procedures were followed concerning drop boxes and ballot collection.
As the largest county in the state, Fulton County, which includes Atlanta, has long been a primary focus of efforts to examine votes from the 2020 race.
Of particular concern, The Georgia Star News reports, is its own previous reporting that a whopping 385 of the 1,591 drop box collections in the county in the weeks leading up to Nov. 3, 2020, had no chain of custody documentation, meaning nobody knows what might have happened to the ballots before they were turned into election officials.
According to Breitbart, the court-ordered examination of the ballots will be done by Fulton County election officials, not by a third party, as is happening in another audit out of Maricopa County, Arizona.
The Maricopa audit was also ordered by a judge, but has been contentious and full of accusations about missing information and alleged incompetence on the part of third-party auditors.
“Voter confidence” in Georgia and beyond
In response to the Georgia judge’s recent ruling, former U.S. Sen. Kelly Loeffler, a Georgia Republican, said that she hopes the latest effort will help bolster voter confidence in her state and beyond.
“Voter confidence in our election system is the bedrock of our republic. Unfortunately, inconsistencies in Fulton County’s November 2020 absentee ballots cast serious doubt on voters’ faith in our elections,” she said in a statement, according to Breitbart.
But Democrats including Fulton County Commission Chairman Robb Pitts are challenging the notion that further review is necessary.
“It is outrageous that Fulton County continues to be a target of those who cannot accept the results from last year’s election,” Pitts told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “The votes have been counted multiple times, including a hand recount, and no evidence of fraud has been found.”
Specifics on the audit weren’t immediately available, according to the AJC.