A Georgia Superior Courts judge on Wednesday dismissed a lawsuit seeking to inspect Fulton County absentee ballots from last year's presidential election, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.
Judge Brian Amero’s decision came a day after investigators said they were unable to find any counterfeit ballots, according to the Journal-Constitution.
Amero ruled that the plaintiffs lacked standing to sue, bringing the case to a close and keeping the county’s 147,000 original absentee ballots under seal.
The judge's order is the latest setback for former President Donald Trump and the mostly Republican plaintiffs who have said that election fraud contributed to President Joe Biden’s victory over Trump in the state by about 12,000 votes during November’s election.
Amero’s order dismissing the case said the Georgia voters who brought the lawsuit "failed to allege a particularized injury" and therefore lacked the standing to claim that their state constitutional rights to equal protection and due process had been violated, The Washington Post said.
"All citizens of Georgia have a right to know whether or not counterfeit ballots were injected into the Fulton Co. election results, how many were injected, where they came from and how we can prevent it from happening again in future elections," Garland Favorito, one of nine plaintiffs, wrote in an email to the Post.
"It is not adequate for any organizations to secretly tell us there are no counterfeit ballots and refuse to let the public inspect them."
Although state law makes original paper ballots confidential government records, digital images of absentee ballots have been made public.
Georgia election officials have said there’s no indication of fraud after three ballot counts and multiple investigations, the Journal-Constitution said.
Attorneys for Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger told Amero on Tuesday that investigators haven't uncovered any illegitimate absentee ballots after examining batches that four Republicans had claimed contained counterfeits.
The lawsuit alleged that ballots were "pristine," with perfectly filled-in ovals and no creases. Investigators didn’t find any indication of that.
"Today was a win for democracy," Fulton County Chairman Robb Pitts said, the Journal-Constitution reported. "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. Its defeat here today should echo throughout the nation."
Amero, who previously had dismissed the case against Fulton’s elections board and the county itself, allowed it to continue against individual members of the board.
The Journal-Constitution reported that Amero’s decision dismissed remaining claims against three Democrats and two Republicans who were members of the board.
The plaintiffs had sought to allow the case to move forward against only the board’s GOP members, who didn’t oppose the ballot review.
"Petitioners allege their votes have been diluted due to the 'substantial likelihood' that fraudulent ballots were introduced during ballot processing for the General Election," Amero wrote in his dismissal order Wednesday. "However, regardless of the veracity of these allegations, the court finds petitioners have still failed to allege a particularized injury."
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