The New York Times
Georgia has already counted its 2020 presidential vote three times, with the same result: President Biden defeated Donald J. Trump narrowly yet decisively. But now portions of the vote will be inspected for a fourth time, after a judge ruled late last week that a group of voters must be allowed to view copies of all 147,000 absentee ballots cast in the state’s largest county.
The move carries limited weight. The plaintiffs, led by a known conspiracy theorist, will have no access to the actual ballots, Georgia’s election results have already been certified after recounts and audits showed Mr. Biden as the winner with no evidence of fraud, and the review will have no bearing on the outcome.
But the order from Judge Brian Amero of Henry County Superior Court was a victory for a watchdog group of plaintiffs that has said it is in search of instances of ballot fraud, parroting Mr. Trump’s election lies. Election officials in Fulton County, which contains most of Atlanta, worry that if such a review does occur there, it could cast further doubt on the state’s results and give Republican lawmakers ammunition to seek greater power over the administration of elections.
“Where does it end? It’s like a never-ending circus, this big lie,” Robb Pitts, the Democratic chairman of the Fulton County Board of Commissioners, said in an interview on Monday. “When they were accusing Fulton County and me in particular, I listened and I said — I said to the president, his representatives and I said to the secretary of state: ‘If you have evidence of any wrongdoing, bring it to me. If you do not, put up or shut up.’ And I repeat that again today.”
The ruling in Georgia, a state that for months has weathered attacks from Mr. Trump and his allies as they falsely claimed the election had been stolen, coincided with a widely criticized Republican-led recount of over two million ballots cast in Maricopa County, Ariz., the largest county in another state that stunned Republicans by tipping to Mr. Biden last year after decades of G.O.P. dominance in presidential elections. That recount, which was approved by the Arizona state government and funded privately, resumed on Monday despite wide and bipartisan denunciations of the effort as a political sham and growing evidence that it is powered by “Stop the Steal” allies of Mr. Trump’s.
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