A Georgia state court on Thursday dismissed a lawsuit filed by the Trump Campaign concerning Chatham County handling of late-arriving mail-in ballots that were improperly mingled with timely ballots awaiting to be tabulated.
Superior Court Judge James Bass of Chatham County made the ruling after an hour-long hearing from the Chatham County Board of Elections Chairman Colin McRae
and orally threw out the case on the claims that there was “no evidence” the ballots referenced in the lawsuit were received after the deadline and Chatham officials failed to “comply with the law.”
“Having read and considered said petition, all argument and evidence of record, including the evidence presented at the hearing, and the applicable law, the Court finds that there is no evidence that the ballots referenced in the petition were received after 7:00 p.m. on election day, thereby making those ballots invalid,” Bass said in a one-paragraph brief decision that was filed Thursday afternoon following the oral ruling.
“Additionally, there is no evidence that the Chatham County Board of Elections or the Chatham County Board of Registrars has failed to comply with the law.”
The Trump campaign and Georgia Republican Party filed the lawsuit Wednesday evening that centered on a registered election watcher who signed an affidavit claiming to witnessed 53 late-arriving “absentee ballots that had not been properly processed apparently mixed into a pile of absentee ballots that was already set to be tabulated.”
The lawsuit asked Georgia officials to “collect, secure, and safely store all absentee ballots” that arrived after the Election Day deadline, and provide an accounting of every voter whose ballot arrived late’s name and the time their ballot arrived to the Trump campaign and state Republican party.
McRae testified that all 53 ballots had been received before the 7 pm deadline on Election Day.
Chatham County currently has more than 17,000 outstanding absentee ballots, with more than 60,000 outstanding ballots still left to count in the state.
As of Thursday mid-afternoon, President Trump maintains a small lead with 49.5% in the Republican battleground state — just 0.3% over Democratic nominee Joe Biden 49.2% of the vote with an estimated 98% reported, according to the New York Times. Only 13,220 votes separate the two candidates with Georgia having 16 electoral college votes.