The VoterGA Fulton County lawsuit to gain access to inspect and scan approximately 147,000 mail-in and absentee ballots will reconvene on Nov. 15. In a hearing on Sept. 20, Henry County Superior Court Judge, Brian Amero, gave the Fulton County attorney, Don Samuel, 20 days to allow Secretary of State, Brad Raffensberger and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) to file amicus briefs proving the (GBI) is investigating counterfeit ballots in the county prior to the Nov. 15 hearing. According to Favorito, during the Sept. 20 hearing, Samuel tried to convince Judge Amero to dismiss the case based on a number of “lies.” Favorito stated:
“It is a blatant lie that the GBI is investigating counterfeit ballots. The GBI is not investigating anything to do with counterfeit ballots. That’s a complete lie and also the Inspector General of the Secretary of State—their investigation is not legitimate, and we’ll be able to show that next time we go back to court.”
Favorito also explained Samuel “also tried to imply that the protective order was inhibiting investigations.” Favorito said the judge was visibly “infuriated” by Fulton County’s attempts to convince him that the case had no standing or merit.
“If you were listening to the hearing, the judge was basically telling the defense that we have a rock-solid case. We have the evidence. We have the affidavit attesting to counterfeit ballots. We have the correct legal claims that protect due process. We have the correct standing. We just need an inspection to be able to determine whether ballots are counterfeit. We have a four-legged case. We just need to get the inspection done and open discovery. I think we can easily show that Samuel was lying, so the judge called him out on it and asked to know where the evidence is that GBI is involved. The judge agrees that the protective order just preserves the evidence and does not prevent investigation of the ballots by the GBI.”
At one point during the hearing, Judge Amero cites an Oct. 2020 case signed by Judge Totenberg (Curling et al. v. Raffensberger, et al.), where she writes that “voting alone is not enough to keep democracy’s heart beating. Legitimately cast votes must then be counted.” Amero tells Samuel:
“Isn’t the argument that they’re making that there is rampant negligence, rampant mismanagement—ballot insecurity. A failure to vet independent contractors appropriately while working on this important work and, as a result of that, they have created a precondition. The preconditions necessary for misfeasance to occur—for example—by actors with malintent who are designed and focused on inserting these sort of counterfeit ballots that could potentially dilute their votes.”
A significant victory in the Garland Favorito et al. v. Fulton County case happened in May when Judge Amero granted access to the ballots for the petitioners in the case. Garland Favorito and eight other petitioners filed the request for access in December of 2020. The original petition can be found here. All briefs and documents for the case can be found here.
Favorito believes that Georgia voters will be vindicated in the case, and ballots will be inspected, possibly as early as January. He said about Amero:
“I do think that Judge Amero would like to get rid of this case if he could. However, he has too much integrity; he knows that all of the points of fact and law and evidence are on our side. Amero knows this is a legitimate case. He knows it needs open discovery and, I mean, he has delayed a couple of times—to give them every conceivable benefit of the doubt—which also means that they won’t have any argument to appeal.”
When asked about the Cheeley case in which the depositions of Shaye and Ruby Freemanwere postponed on June 10, Favorito said his organization split from the case but may rejoin at a later date in some form.
“[VoterGA’s lawsuit] is laying the groundwork in Georgia. We’ve got multiple cases here in Georgia. Once discovery is reinstated, we’ll be able to get their depositions. We would have taken the depositions, too but we want to collect evidence first. We don’t want to depose them until we have all the evidence so we can ask them all the right questions with the ballots already inspected.”
Favorito continues to maintain this lawsuit has always been non-partisan, and he has no idea what the inspection results will be. He says, however, Americans deserve fair and legitimate elections. After all the many years VoterGA has worked to restore confidence in elections, he has never seen so much interest from citizens—adding that the skilled volunteer force has “exploded” in the last year.
A Sept. 17 letter from the desk of former President Donald J. Trump states that SoS Raffensberger and Governor Brian Kemp “are doing a tremendous disservice to the Great State of Georgia, and to our Nation” for not acknowledging “claims of voter fraud and voter irregularities.”
As for Raffensberger and Kemp—Favorito says Kemp “is trying to be above the fray by avoiding saying much of anything.” Raffensberger, says Favorito, “has basically filed an Amicus Brief against us in the courts with the help of the Georgia Attorney General.”
“Raffensberger,” he continued, “Has put the entire state on record as being opposed to election transparency.” Favorito hopes his efforts will change that trajectory.