The Fulton County ballot review lawsuit in Georgia has been complicated by a security breach. On May 30, an alarm was triggered at the building storing 147,000 absentee ballots from the 2020 presidential race.
Investigating vote count abnormalities
Last year, a group of voters filed a petition to inspect mail-in ballots in Fulton County from the 2020 presidential election because of alleged vote count abnormalities. In March this year, Henry County Superior Court Judge Brian Amero granted the petitioners access to scanned images of the ballots.
However, petitioners said that the 200 dots per inch (DPI) resolution of the ballot images was too low to conduct a proper examination, and requested 600 DPI images as well as access to the original ballots. The respondents in the case, Fulton County officials, asked the judge not to give petitioners access to the ballots.
On May 21, Judge Amero ruled to unseal the ballots for review. He allowed petitioners to visit the site where the ballots were stored so that they could observe county workers creating higher resolution images of the ballots. Amero then scheduled a meeting between the parties involved in the case at the ballot storage location on May 28.
However, on May 27, the judge called off the meeting after Fulton County officials filed several motions. Judge Amero decided that the motions needed to be heard before the plaintiffs could be given access to the absentee ballots. He proposed a hearing on June 21.
“It seems like a desperation move. The silver lining is that we now have more time to perfect the changes we had to make in our inspection plan,” Garland Favorito, the lead petitioner, said to The Epoch Times via email.
Emerald Robinson, a White House correspondent at Newsmax, broke the news of the alarm incident through her Twitter account on May 30.
“Attorney dealing with Fulton County GA on audit of more than 145k ballots from 2020 election tells me that alarm went off today at secure building where ballots were kept. The building was found left wide open & unattended,” Robinson said in a tweet.
The attorney also provided her with a picture of the building, which showed that the doors were left wide open. In another tweet on May 31, Robinson said that two deputies from the county were assigned to look after the building. However, they “appear to have left the building 20 minutes before the alarm went off.”
A spokesperson from the county told The Epoch Times that the issue is “under review by the Fulton County Sheriff’s Office,” and that they are confident about the security of the ballots.
However, Bob Cheeley, an attorney for the plaintiffs, said in an interview with The Atlanta Journal Constitution that the county sheriff deputies at the building left on Saturday afternoon when their shift ended, and that the front door was probably left unlocked during the long holiday weekend.
He said that the county had promised the judge that station deputies would watch over the building 24/7. Cheeley expressed concern about the “lackadaisical attitude toward security,” as evidenced by the door of the building being left unlocked. “Obviously, Fulton County doesn’t take their job responsibility seriously to protect ballots… Somebody could have walked in there and set the whole place on fire,” he said.
In a statement issued on May 31, former President Donald Trump said that no one should be allowed to “compromise these ballots.” He said, “Republicans and Patriots must protect this site and the Absentee Ballots. The Left talks about election security but they do not practice what they preach because they are afraid of what might be found. Fulton County Leadership—do the right thing and protect these ballots. Our Country is at stake!”
In an emailed statement to supporters, Republican and Georgia gubernatorial candidate Vernon Jones called on the state’s governor, Brian Kemp, to “immediately order an investigation” into the matter.
The GOP member said that the incident “further underscores” the need to conduct a forensic audit in Georgia, and added that the integrity of elections is non-negotiable. “These ballots must be protected at all times. If the building they are housed in was left unsecured, we need to know how and why it happened!” he stated.