Election integrity efforts are heating up, as forensic audits are being discussed in multiple states and many states have traveled to Arizona to look at how they are conducting the Maricopa County Forensic audit. In Fulton County, Georgia, there are currently two interrelated, "dueling" election integrity lawsuits. In many ways, Georgia has been the epicenter of contentious politics surrounding the election. It was a key swing state that helped determine the Presidential race and some key Senatorial races.
Ruby Freeman and her daughter Shaye were the subjects of reporting by UncoverDC on June 12, given that they were sent subpoenas for depositions that were served earlier in the week. The mother and daughter were seen in the State Farm Arena late at night, allegedly running ballots through tabulators multiple times. David Makever Alligood has also been subpoenaed for video-recorded testimony.
One lawsuit has been filed by Garland Favorito to investigate alleged election fraud that he says includes fraudulent ballots and improper counting. About 147,000 ballots stand to be examined. Judge Brian Amero granted a review on May 21, ruling the auditors and experts could not touch the ballots. Secretary of State Brad Raffensberger agreed that the ballots should be reviewed, although he continues to contend that claims of a stolen election are false.
"Noticed an alarmingly odd pattern of uniformity in the markings for Joseph R. Biden. One after another, the absentee votes contained perfectly filled-in ovals for Biden—except that each of the darkened bubbles featured an identical white void inside them in the shape of a tiny crescent, indicating they'd been marked with toner ink instead of a pen or pencil."
She also "noticed that all of the ballots were printed on different stock paper than the others she handled as part of a statewide hand recount of the razor-thin Nov. 3 presidential election. And none was folded or creased, as she typically observed in mail-in ballots that had been removed from envelopes."
Garland Favorito told Real Clear Investigations that he believes there is almost certainly absentee-ballot fraud in Fulton County to the tune of 10,000 to 20,000 ballots. The Biden win was only a margin of about 12,000 votes.
A June 21 hearing will attempt to resolve, among other things, the details of the inspection of the 147,000 ballots. All discovery and depositions are "stayed" until the June 21 hearing. The judge had ordered on May 21 a 24-hour round-the-clock security for the warehouse housing the ballots, but on May 29, a breach was reported.
According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Fulton Commission Chairman Robb Pitts said:
“This is nothing more than a circus that’s being put on by those who promote the ’big lie’...Where does it end? The votes have been counted. The elections have been certified. It’s over.”
Attorneys for Fulton County argued on May 26 that the Garland Favorito lawsuit should be dismissed because the Fulton County Superior Court has no jurisdiction, the petitioners have failed to serve Fulton County. Fulton County is not a party to the case.
Motion to Dismiss/Favorito/May 26, 2021
Favorito/Motion to Dismiss/May 26
A hearing in the case took place on May 27 to discuss how to handle discovery since parties last met, among other issues. During the hearing, attorney Cheeley presented expert witnesses, including a forensic auditor named David Sawyer. Sawyer maintained they should have access to the paper ballots and envelopes due to a high error rate of 22-23% when analyzing the scanned ballot images. Additionally, there were 174 batches missing out of a total of 1539; there should have been 1659 batches. According to Cheeley, the risk-limiting audit conducted in November, which officials used to certify the election, only showed 1283 batches—a difference of 256 batches.
Dr. Lisa Detter-Hoskin, a materials expert with the Georgia Tech Research Institute, was also present. She spent 27 years there and was funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). She is a world-renowned expert on counterfeit analysis of paper and ink. She stated in the hearing that she wants to pull the entirety of ballots for examination and not resort to sampling because then "you get into statistical arguments." She said she does non-destructive testing with infrared—"just a touch" on the paper. She also stated she can give a granular level of forensics "that is absolutely conclusive" based on examination of the ballots—including where they were made, the type of tree used for the paper, and how the ballot was manufactured.
One of the issues is that it is difficult to tell the difference between Runbeck ballots and Fulton County ballots with just the images. Runbeck is a ballot printing company in Arizona that was used as an on-demand printer of Absentee ballots in Fulton County. In many cases, those ballots were allegedly delayed by 30 days, according to the Atlanta tribune. Elections officials are required to process absentee ballot applications within three days. More than 1.4 million people in Georgia requested an absentee ballot. The ballots from Runbeck were custom-made for the various counties for their absentee ballots since there is no uniformity of ballots across counties. In 2014, there were printing "mishaps" that were attributed to Runbeck ballots in Arizona.
Folds are difficult to decipher with images only. It is also difficult to determine from the images whether the ballot was marked with a pen or toner from a machine.
A Second Lawsuit
In a separate case, that split from the original Fulton County Superior Court case, Atlanta lawyer Bob Cheeley is requesting the depositions of Ruby Freeman and her daughter Shaye on behalf of plaintiffs Caroline Jeffords and Robbin Sotir.
On June 10, lawyers for the county "filed an emergency motion for protective order to postpone the depositions" until after the already delayed June 21 hearing of the Favorito case. The depositions were delayed, and added to the list for subpoenaed witnesses were the Fulton County Commission Chair, Robb Pitts and Richard Barron, the Fulton County Elections Director. Jeffords and Sotir contends that these two witnesses will "prove" that the County does have "control over elections."
Petitioners Jeffords and Sotir will also seek to amend the petition, mooting the county's petition to dismiss.
On Sunday, Tennessee Star investigative reporter, Laura Baigert reported that all 30 files of the chain of custody documents (all of the ballot transfer forms) from the November 2020 election were provided to the Georgia Star by Fulton County. Baigert wrote a comprehensive story on the chain of custody issues and dropboxes on May 20. The Georgia Star wrote a companion story about the chain of custody record irregularities on May 18.