Georgia Judge Orders Audit of 147K Fulton County Absentee Ballots
Henry County Superior Court Judge Brian Amero ordered the unsealing of absentee ballots, The Hill reported, which will allow a group of Georgia voters and experts to review absentee ballots which Republicans claim might be tainted by voter fraud.
"The integrity of future elections is critical, and Judge Amero's decision is a helpful step in restoring transparency, accountability, and voter confidence," former Sen. Kelly Loeffler, R-Ga., told The Hill. "We look forward to the findings and their role in promoting transparency and rebuilding faith in our elections."
Former President Donald Trump lost the state's most populated county in November to Democrat Joe Biden by a vote of 381,144 to 137,240, with a 65.57% voter turnout, according to Fulton County's official results.
Trump lost the state by around 13,000 total votes.
Fulton County includes the city of Atlanta and has an estimated population of just over 1 million, according to the county.
In his one-page order, Amero's order said the county election officials must allow plaintiff Garland Favorito and his group called Voters Organized for Trusted Election Results in Georgia to review the ballots "at a time and place to be determined later," according to The Wall Street Journal.
The county said in a statement it would comply with the order.
"We will continue to participate in the judicial process that will ultimately validate the integrity of the elections process within Fulton County," the statement said.
Georgia now joins Arizona in having votes audited because of lawsuits following the election.
An audit of the populous Maricopa County is currently underway by a private Florida firm called Cyber Ninjas, hired by Republicans for $150,000.
Like Fulton County in Georgia, Maricopa County in Arizona is the state's largest county by population and includes the city of Phoenix.
Trump lost that county to Biden 1,040,774-995,665 with 80.5% turnout of its 2,595,272 registered voters, according to the county.
Early voting accounted for 73.81% of the total votes cast in November.
Statewide, Trump lost the election by just over 10,000 votes, 1,672,143-1,661,686, according to the state.
The audit in Arizona is expected to last for another six weeks, as the firm reviews 2.1 million ballots.
The Arizona audit created a firestorm when Cyber Ninjas initially accused the county of "deleting data," that they later said "was found."