A Georgia state judge dismissed a lawsuit on Thursday brought forward by the Trump campaign over allegations that some ballots for the presidential election were improperly included in the total vote count.
The campaign had alleged that late-arriving ballots to Chatham County voting jurisdictions were mixed in with ballots that had arrived on time. Per Georgia law, any ballots received after 7 pm on Election Day are not to be counted.
Chatham County Superior Court Judge James Bass dismissed the case as meritless.
“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 wrote in his decision, adding that there wasn’t any 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 had relied on two witnesses making allegations of impropriety. Yet under oath, those witnesses admitted they weren’t certain that illegitimate ballots (allegedly 53 in total, according to court documents) had been mixed in with ones that were legal to count.
Two other witnesses affirmed that improper ballots were not included in the totals.
The witnesses “have been flatly incapable of proffering competent evidence to prove that point,” Jeff Harris, a lawyer representing the Democratic Party of Georgia, said in his closing arguments.
As of Thursday at 2:30 pm Eastern Time, fewer than 13,000 votes separated Trump from his Democratic challenger, former Vice President Joe Biden, in Georgia. According to The New York Times’s Nate Cohn, the tens of thousands of ballots that remain to be counted in the state are expected to mostly trend toward Biden because they are coming from Democratic-leaning areas and are most likely to be early absentee ballots, which have also tended to favor the former vice president.
“But caution is warranted,” Cohn added.
If Biden does indeed win the state and Trump disputes the outcome, a recount will likely take place, given how close the race between the two candidates is in the state right now.
Four years ago, Trump dismissed the idea of recounts when it meant questioning his own election wins in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania in the 2016 presidential race.
The Trump campaign has filed lawsuits in other states across the country, including in Michigan, alleging that rules allowing observation of ballot tabulation had been violated. The suit was dismissed, however, when the judge presiding over the case noted that the Trump campaign had sued the wrong person.