ELECTION 2020POLITICSUS

Trump Campaign Files Georgia Election Contest Right in the ‘Belly of the Beast’ — Fulton County

For the non-lawyers who read these articles, it has probably become dizzying trying to keep straight all the different lawsuits being filed in state and federal courts in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan, Arizona, Nevada, and Georgia.

To add to your confusion, the Trump Campaign filed another lawsuit yesterday in Fulton County seeking to “contest” the vote count in that County.  The lawsuit itself is embedded in the story at that link.

In this story two weeks ago I said the Trump campaign had a chance to reverse the outcome of the vote in Georgia.  I wrote in that story that the Campaign seemed to be employing an analytical approach that targeted the legality of a significant number of “mailed-in” ballots based on improper voter registration information.  At that point in time the Campaign reported that it had uncovered a couple thousand ballots cast by voters who did not provide a legitimate residence address on their application. They also reported that they were looking closely at whether newly registered voters were also registered — and actually lived — in another state.  At that point the indication was that the campaign was still in the early stages of its investigation of these kinds of issues.

The margin of Biden’s “win” in Georgia was only slightly more than 10,000 votes.  If there was wide-spread registration by Democrat party interest groups of ineligible voters, and then widespread use of “mail-in” ballots by those same voters to take advantage of seemingly non-existent efforts to enforce “ballot integrity” measures that were passed along with expanded “mail-in” voting.

It seems to me that the campaign has, for the most part, rightly focused on filing actual election “contest” lawsuits in state courts — the method by which the votes cast and vote count is traditionally challenged — while leaving it for Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell to pursue the “systemic fraud” claims that involved potential foreign penetration and vote shifting through the Dominion election system devices and software.  They have filed lawsuits making those allegations in various federal courts on federal statutory and constitutional grounds, but with little in the way of success because the Campaign has not joined them.

One state where the Campaign has had little luck in seeking to contest the outcome under state law is Pennsylvania.  The campaign’s ability to do so in that state has been compromised by the Penn. Supreme Court handing down multiple decisions that undercut every basis for finding vote irregularity that the Campaign has been able to raise. Admittedly, the efforts in Pennsylvania have been a mess from the beginning, but the vote margin in Pennsylvania — unlike Georgia and Wisconsin — has been so large as to not give the Campaign any meaningful chance of success playing “small ball” — looking for pockets of illegal votes that aggregate to a number large enough to put the outcome of the election in doubt.

But the Giuliani and Powell effort has been effective from a “PR” standpoint as the stories told by witnesses about voting and vote counting irregularities have taken root in the public’s consciousness.  They have brought legal actions in more than one state based on the same set of allegations and evidence — largely anecdotal, largely conclusory — that they have presented in the public hearings before legislative committees in Pennsylvania, Georgia and Arizona.  The legislatures of all three states are controlled by the GOP, and hopefully the impact of the information is great enough to convince those states to abandon “mail-in” voting.


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Let’s return now to the action filed yesterday in Fulton County.  Within the allegations of the 64 page Complaint the Trump campaign claims they have witness testimony for the courtroom that will identify “illegal” votes in the following numbers:

  1. 2,560 felons
  2. 66,247 underage voters
  3. 2,423 votes from people not registered
  4. 1,043 individuals registered at post office boxes
  5. 4,926 individuals who voted in Georgia after registering in another state
  6. 395 individuals who voted in two states
  7. 15,700 votes from people who moved out of state before the election
  8. 40,279 votes of people who moved without re-registering in their new county
  9. Another 30,000 to 40,000 absentee ballots lacking proper signature matching and verification

Under the Georgia election code, these issues are now subject to a courtroom trial where documentary evidence will be presented, and witnesses will testify and be cross-examined. A Judge will make a determination as to each claim.  That outcome can then be appealed through the regular appellate process.

It does strike me as a curious choice that the Campaign opted to file in Fulton County.  My reading of the election statute is that they could have filed in any county where votes were being challenged, and the Judge in that County could have made similar determinations about vote counting in other counties too.

There are 20 Superior Court Judges in Fulton County.  All Judges stand for re-election in non-partisan races.  I have no specific information about the Judges of Fulton County, but you would expect that they would reflect in significant degree the politics of the community that elects and re-elects them to the bench.  So I am surprised that the Campaign would chose to file there when it seems that they could have selected a county less prominently aligned with the Democrat Party.

 

Noteworthy is that the relief requested in the complaint does not include the simple request to remove invalid votes from the vote total of Joe Biden, and determine the winner of the contest accordingly.  The relief requested includes, among other things, a Declaratory Order from the Court that the State Officials decertify the election results, and that that the State be ordered to conduct another Presidential election as soon as possible.

In my earlier story on the process for contesting an election outcome in Georgia I noted this potential issue:

Here is what the statute says:

“(d) Whenever the court trying a contest shall determine that the primary, election, or runoff is so defective as to the nomination, office, or eligibility in contest as to place in doubt the result of the entire primary, election, or runoff for such nomination, office, or eligibility, such court shall declare the primary, election, or runoff to be invalid with regard to such nomination, office, or eligibility and shall call for a second primary, election, or runoff to be conducted among all of the same candidates who participated in the primary, election, or runoff to fill such nomination or office which was declared invalid and shall set the date for such second primary, election, or runoff.”

The statute does not provide that the loser of the election who prevails in the election contest shall be declared the election winner.  Rather, the remedy is to void the election results.

Could it be that both Pennsylvania AND Georgia are put in the position of not having Electors attend the Electoral College on December 14?

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