Georgia Official Says 'Circus Keeps on Going' as Judge OKs Unsealing Fulton County Ballots for Audit

A judge in Georgia ruled Friday that an audit of Fulton County's absentee ballots can proceed, leading one local official to lament that the "circus keeps on going."

Georgia was a key battleground state during the 2020 election and President Joe Biden narrowly flipped the traditionally conservative state blue by a margin of nearly 12,000 votes. Despite multiple audits of the Georgia results—including a full hand recount—former President Donald Trump and his allies continue to claim that Biden won through "widespread fraud."

"Obviously I was just stunned to think that it has gotten this far. It's a circus that just keeps on going," Fulton County Chairman Robb Pitts, a Democrat, said of the decision to allow the new audit to move forward, Atlanta's WSB-TV 2 reported.

"It gets to be a little ridiculous what's happening with this. Sometimes in politics, sometimes you lose, sometimes you win. In this case, the other side lost," Pitts added.

Georgia recount
A judge in Georgia ruled that another audit of Fulton County's absentee ballots could proceed on Friday. In this photo, an election worker handles ballots as part of the recount for the 2020 presidential election on November 16, 2020 in Lawrenceville, Georgia. Megan Varner/Getty Images

Superior Court Judge Brian Amero ruled that the audit, requested by among other plaintiffs Garland Favorito, co-founder of the group Voters Organized for Trusted Election Results in Georgia, could go forward. However, Amero ruled that the plaintiffs would have to cover the costs and that Fulton County officials will maintain custody of the ballots throughout the process. The details and timeline have not yet been set.

"It is outrageous that Fulton County continues to be a target of those who cannot accept the results from last year's election," Pitts said in additional comments to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "The votes have been counted multiple times, including a hand recount, and no evidence of fraud has been found."

Georgia has already recounted all of its ballots three times, including in a hand recount that concluded in early December. The election was overseen by Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, a Republican who voted for Trump and also donated to the former president's campaign.

"Georgians can now move forward knowing that their votes, and only their legal votes, were counted accurately, fairly, and reliably," Raffensperger said after the third recount was completed late last year.

But the plaintiffs requesting the audit believe those recounts are all "illegitimate."

"We've had three—what we feel like are illegitimate—attempts to determine what the election results are and I think we'll actually, this time, find out for sure what's right," Favorito told WSBT-TV.

Trump continues to claim that Biden only won the 2020 election through widespread fraud, but has not provided evidence to substantiate the extraordinary allegation. Dozens of lawsuits filed by Trump and his allies challenging the election results have been dismissed in state and federal courts. Even judges appointed by Trump and other Republicans have rejected the allegations.

Former Attorney General William Barr, who was widely seen as one of Trump's most loyal Cabinet members, said in December that there was "no evidence" of fraud that would change the election's outcome. The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency at the Department of Homeland Security said last year after the election that it was the "most secure in American history." The agency, which was led by a Trump appointee at the time, asserted that there was "no evidence that any voting system deleted or lost votes, changed votes, or was in any way compromised."

Newsweek reached out to Pitts for further comment.