By Alexis Stevens – The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Mark Niesse – The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
(CNT) City News Talk #atlanta-ga
The Georgia Republican Party and President Donald Trump’s campaign filed a lawsuit Wednesday alleging that Chatham County is improperly counting absentee ballots received after the state’s deadline.
The petition, filed in Chatham County Superior Court, was the third filed by the Trump campaign, all in states with close races where ballots were still being counted late Wednesday.
In Georgia, Trump held a small lead over Democratic candidate Joe Biden as tens of thousands of absentee ballots remained to be counted in metro Atlanta and Savannah.
The Georgia suit addresses how absentee ballots were stored and states that ballots received after 7 p.m. Tuesday should not be counted. A poll watcher claims he saw a poll worker handling ballots incorrectly.
“Failing to ensure that absentee ballots received after the deadline are stored in a manner to ensure that such ballots are not inadvertently or intentionally counted, as required under Georgia law, harms the interests of the Trump Campaign and President Trump because it could lead to the dilution of legal votes cast in support of President Trump,” the petition states.
The petition seeks to have a judge ensure that Chatham County elections officials account for all absentee ballots.
“A significant degree of confusion may still exist regarding whether ballots received after 7:00 p.m. can be legally counted in Georgia — and they cannot,” the petition states.
Neither the Chatham County Board of Elections nor the county attorney immediately responded to a request for comment on the lawsuit late Wednesday.
Chatham County Elections Supervisor Russell Bridges told The Current, a Coastal Georgia news site, that he was unaware of the lawsuit or social media posts from David Shafer, chairman of the Georgia Republican Party.
“He doesn’t know what he’s talking about,” Bridges said after reading a Twitter post from Shafer. “If he was observing something in our absentee center, there is a control on everything that moves through that building. There’s a log of every ballot that’s going in there and a log of every ballot that’s processed. If somebody was mixing something or moving something, it was already recorded and accounted for.”
Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, a Republican, said earlier Wednesday that every legitimate vote must be counted.
“We held an election that was a safe, sensible and responsible election for every eligible voter to access,” Raffensperger said at a state Capitol press conference. “Every legal vote in Georgia will be counted.”
But others said the suit was a last-minute attempt by Republicans to keep Trump in the White House.
“The Trump campaign knows that he is losing across the country and that his incredibly slim lead in Georgia is disappearing,” Lauren Groh-Wargo, CEO of Fair Fight Action, said late Wednesday. “We should not be surprised that he is doing in Georgia what he is seeking to do everywhere: stop eligible voters from having their voice heard.”