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The Georgia Court of Appeals on May 11 revived a lawsuit alleging that fraudulent or counterfeit ballots were found in Fulton County during the 2020 general election.
The appeals court issued an order (pdf) remanding the ballot case back to the Superior Court. However, the order only applies to petitioners who are residents of Fulton County.
Nine plaintiffs, among them Garland Favorito, founder of the group Voters Organized for Trusted Election Results in Georgia (VoterGA), initially filed the lawsuit against members of the Fulton County Board of Registration and Elections in December 2020.
As part of their lawsuit (pdf), the plaintiffs produced sworn affidavits from multiple senior poll managers who participated in the ballot counting process and contended they saw mail-in ballots that had no fold marks from being mailed, not marked with a writing instrument, and printed on different paper stock, leading them to believe there were additional absentee ballots added in a fraudulent manner.
Plaintiffs in the lawsuit had called for an inspection of all 147,000 absentee ballots cast in the state’s election.
Superior Court Judge Brian Amero had previously dismissed the case in October 2021, stating that petitioners did not have proper standing to pursue their case.
However, a state Supreme Court decision in December widened the definition of standing, concluding that Georgians can have standing to sue if they’re “community stakeholders” who suffer an injury when their local government “fails to follow the law,” paving the way for several of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit to pursue the case.
Appeals Court Order
According to the order from the appeals court, five of the plaintiffs—Michael Scupin, Sean Draime, Stacy Doran, Brandi Taylor, and Robin Sotir—are not Fulton County residents, but are residents of other counties, and thus their claims lack standing because they “did not allege that they are citizens, residents, or taxpayers of . . . the count[y] that they sued[ and] have set forth no allegations showing that they are community stakeholders.”
The four other plaintiffs in the suit—Garland Favorito, Caroline Jeffords, Trevor Terris, and Christopher Peck—have all asserted that they are residents of Fulton County, court documents show.
“Accordingly, we vacate the dismissals of their claims and remand to the trial court for further consideration in the first instance of their standing,” presiding judge Christopher McFadden wrote. “We note our Supreme Court’s admonition regarding federal authority.”
While the order does not automatically mean that a judge will grant the ballot inspection, the decision was welcomed by Favorito.
“The citizens of Georgia have been victimized for well over two years by false claims that there is no evidence of election fraud,” Favorito said of the 28-month legal battle in a press release (pdf).
“This inordinate delay is attributable to lower court rulings that falsely claimed we had no standing. The Secretary of State and Attorney General should have helped us all this time instead of fighting against us. It is critical that Georgians quickly know how many counterfeit ballots were included in the 2020 Fulton election results so we can implement more fraud protection measures prior to the next election,” Favorito continued.
He added that he and other eligible petitioners “fully expect the lower court to move expeditiously since it had already ordered a ballot inspection before Fulton County hired criminal defense attorneys to prevent us from looking at the ballots.”
“If there is nothing to hide, all involved should be willing to show us the ballots,” he said.
‘Huge Win’ for Georgia, American People
Elsewhere, attorney Bob Cheeley, who represents plaintiffs Jeffords and Sotir, called the decision a “huge win,” not only for the people of Georgia, but also the rest of the United States, adding that it “recognizes that, in a democracy, the people control the government, not the other way around.”
“Standing should be inherent in the constitution of every state and we are very pleased that the Georgia Supreme Court and the Georgia Court of Appeals have officially recognized that citizens have the right to demand accountability and transparency from their government,” Cheeley told Just The News.
“We intend to go forward and examine the many irregularities that have been identified and associated with Fulton County’s handling of the election, both in the way they tabulated ballots and we want to see the envelopes that should have accompanied all the absentee ballots,” he added.
Cheeley also told the publication that both he and his clients have recently discovered another 17,000 votes in the final tally that do not have the relevant underlying documentation or corresponding scanned ballot images needed to support their existence.
Fulton County officials, including Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, have repeatedly said they have found no evidence substantiating election fraud claims in the 2020 election count following multiple investigations, including a hand count.
Raffensperger previously called such allegations “nothing more than conspiracy theories and innuendo,” in a statement to the Epoch Times.
However, former President Donald Trump, who lost to Democratic rival Joe Biden in Georgia by fewer than 12,000 votes, out of over 4.9 million cast, has claimed that thousands of ballots were “illegally” cast and counted in the state.
He previously called the hand recount in Fulton County “a total fraud.”
The Epoch Times has contacted Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger’s office for comment.