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Judge agrees to unseal 2020 ballots in Georgia county for audit

A Georgia judge on Friday agreed to unseal absentee ballots in Fulton County in a lawsuit alleging that thousands of counterfeit ballots were cast there.

Henry County Superior Court Judge Brian Amero’s order forces Georgia’s largest county to allow a group of Georgia voters and their experts to inspect copies of 147,000 mail-in ballots cast in light of their evidence-challenged claims that the ballots were fraudulent.

Amero said details regarding specifics of the inspection would be forthcoming.

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The order comes after Georgia ballots were audited on three separate occasions, all confirming President BidenJoe BidenObama: Ensuring democracy 'continues to work effectively' keeps me 'up at night' New Jersey landlords prohibited from asking potential tenants about criminal records Overnight Defense: Pentagon pulling some air defense assets from Middle East | Dems introduce resolution apologizing to LGBT community for discrimination | White House denies pausing military aid package to Ukraine MORE’s victory in the Peach State in November and that no widespread fraud occurred.

Rob Pitts, the chair of the Fulton County Board of Commissioners, panned the ruling as “outrageous” and said it perpetuated the lie touted by former President TrumpDonald TrumpWhite House denies pausing military aid package to Ukraine Poll: 30 percent of GOP voters believe Trump will 'likely' be reinstated this year Black Secret Service agent told Trump it was offensive to hold rally in Tulsa on Juneteenth: report MORE and his allies that the White House election was stolen.

“The fact remains that Fulton County safely and securely carried out an election in the midst of a public health pandemic,” Pitts said in a statement to The Washington Post. “It’s a shame to see that the ‘Big Lie’ lives on and could cost the hardworking taxpayers of this county.” 

Still, the ruling underscores the sway unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud still hold on large swaths of the GOP. Polls have showed that many Republicans continue to doubt President Biden’s victory in November despite no evidence of widespread fraud or irregularities emerging since votes were tallied last year.

Republicans touted the ruling, saying it was a step in restoring faith in election integrity.

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“Allowing this audit provides another layer of transparency and citizen engagement,” tweeted Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger.

“The integrity of future elections is critical, and Judge Amero's decision is a helpful step in restoring transparency, accountability, and voter confidence. We look forward to the findings and their role in promoting transparency and rebuilding faith in our elections,” added former Sen. Kelly LoefflerKelly LoefflerLoeffler meets with McConnell amid speculation of another Senate run Herschel Walker skips Georgia's GOP convention Georgia agriculture commissioner launches Senate campaign against Warnock MORE (R-Ga.).