ATLANTA — The votes were counted, recounted and audited. President Joe Biden and Georgia’s two new U.S. senators took office weeks ago.
The election, in short, is over — except in the courts.
More than 30 lawsuits contested some aspects of the November presidential election or the January U.S. Senate runoff in Georgia. Most were tossed out by judges in short order. But others live on, and new lawsuits are still being filed.
They will not change the outcome of those elections. But the lawsuits underscore the prospect that future elections may be decided in the courts as well as at the ballot box.
Biden’s victory over Donald Trump sparked a wave of litigation in Georgia and other swing states. Trump and his supporters claimed widespread fraud cost him reelection — claims that were consistently rejected by the courts and the people who ran the elections.
The January Senate runoff brought a new round of lawsuits, many filed by Republicans seeking to change the rules for absentee voting or ballot counting. None of them was successful, either, because judges were reluctant to change the rules of an election that was already underway.
Some of the lawsuits stemming from both elections have been appealed. Among them are two lawsuits seeking to overturn the presidential election filed by attorney Lin Wood. Both are pending before the U.S. Supreme Court, which has rejected other lawsuits seeking to overturn the election.
And election litigation continues to proliferate. At least 13 lawsuits related to the November and January elections in Georgia are pending in various courts. Among them:
— Two lawsuits filed last month seeking to overturn election results. One, filed in Fulton County Superior Court, seeks to overturn the election of Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock to the U.S. Senate. The other, filed in a federal court in Texas, seeks to overturn the November federal elections in all 50 states. Both lawsuits cite allegations of voting fraud or misconduct by election officials that have been rejected by other courts.
— Lawsuits seeking to inspect ballots in Fulton and Gwinnett counties, where the plaintiffs say they want to investigate suspicious voting activity.
— Several lawsuits involving Dominion Voting Systems, which makes the equipment used in Georgia elections. A federal lawsuit in Colorado accuses Dominion, public officials in various states (including Georgia) and others of misconduct that undermined election security.
Dominion has filed lawsuits against attorneys Sidney Powell and Rudy Giuliani, saying they spread false claims about the company and claimed its machines helped swing the election to Biden in Georgia and elsewhere.
— Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger has filed a petition in Fulton County Superior Court seeking to invalidate an effort to recall him by two Georgia residents who have accused him of “betrayal of the public trust in his certification of a blatantly fraudulent 2020 election,” among other things.
Investigations by the U.S. Justice Department, the Georgia secretary of state’s office and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation have found no widespread fraud. And the evidence for fraud that Trump and his allies have cited in lawsuits has not stood up in court.
For example, in one Georgia lawsuit, Trump’s lawyers said tens of thousands of people voted illegally in the November election, including out-of-state residents, underage voters, felons and dead people. Georgia officials and election experts said Trump’s list of illegal voters was riddled with errors, based on faulty analyses and demonstrated a lack of understanding of election laws.
Trump withdrew the lawsuit the day before a scheduled court hearing.
Some of the new litigation makes even wilder claims. The Texas lawsuit, filed by a group called Latinos for Trump, claims misconduct in all 50 states should invalidate not only the presidential election, but congressional elections as well.
“Never before in the history of the United States of America (the ‘Republic’) has the entire federal election been conducted in clear and unequivocal violation of duly-enacted federal election law,” the lawsuit contends.
Despite its sweeping claims, the lawsuit is going nowhere fast. A federal judge has already indicated he’s ready to dismiss the case.
David Wickert, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution