The Georgia Republican Party filed a lawsuit Wednesday alleging that Chatham County was improperly counting absentee ballots received after the state’s deadline, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. The petition was filed in Chatham County Superior Court.
Ballots received after 7 p.m. on Tuesday should not be counted, the lawsuit stated. It also addressed how absentee ballots were stored. 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.
David Shafer, chairman of the Georgia Republican Party, tweeted Wednesday he had authorized lawyers for the party to file an emergency petition against the Chatham County Board of Elections: “I have authorized lawyers for the Georgia Republican Party to file an emergency petition against the Chatham County Board of Elections to enforce election laws and prevent the unlawful counting of absentee ballots received after the election.”
I have authorized lawyers for the Georgia Republican Party to file an emergency petition against the Chatham County Board of Elections to enforce election laws and prevent the unlawful counting of absentee ballots received after the election.
— David Shafer (@DavidShafer) November 4, 2020
“We will not allow Democrat election officials to steal this election from President Trump with late, illegal ballots,” deputy campaign manager Justin Clark said in a statement. “President Trump and the Georgia Republican Party have filed suit to require all Georgia counties to separate any and all late-arriving ballots from all legally cast ballots to ensure a free, fair election in which only legal, valid ballots count.”
Voters in Georgia and other states also have the opportunity to fix their ballot or restore their rejected ballots in the days after the election on Tuesday. Georgia law requires that the state notify voters if it rejects their ballots, which can occur if the ballot isn’t properly signed, according to Georgia’s state website. They can also check the Secretary of State’s My Voter Page for confirmation. Voters have a three-day window to complete this process after election day. To be “cured,” each of the ballots must have reached the county registrar’s office before polls closed on Election Day, 11 Alive reports. Voters in Georgia have a three-day window to complete this process after election day.
The largest county in Georgia, Fulton County, where the city of Atlanta is located, announced that results were delayed Tuesday after a pipe burst in a room containing mail ballots. A report from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution said that none of the ballots were damaged, and the burst pipe took only two hours to repair, however, election officials fell behind schedule in terms of tabulating both mail and in-person votes.
“As planned, Fulton County will continue to tabulate the remainder of absentee ballots over the next two days,” a county spokesperson said in a statement Tuesday evening. “Absentee ballot processing requires that each ballot is opened, signatures verified, and ballots scanned. This is a labor-intensive process that takes longer to tabulate than other forms of voting.” Elections board member Mark Wingate added that “from a candidate standpoint, [the final results might not be known] until Friday.”
The Trump campaign has also filed suits in Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Michigan where ballots are still being counted.