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ATLANTA — A judge on Wednesday dismissed a lawsuit that alleged fraud in Georgia’s most populous county during the 2020 election. The suit sought a review of some 147,000 absentee ballots in search of illegitimate votes, but no evidence emerged to justify such a broad search, the judge said.

The lawsuit was originally filed in December and said there was evidence of fraudulent ballots and improper ballot counting in Fulton County. It was filed by nine Georgia voters and spearheaded by Garland Favorito, a longtime critic of Georgia’s election systems.

Henry County Superior Court Chief Judge Brian Amero’s order dismissing the case says the Georgia voters who brought the lawsuit “failed to allege a particularized injury” and therefore lacked the standing to claim that their state constitutional rights to equal protection and due process had been violated.

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“All citizens of Georgia have a right to know whether or not counterfeit ballots were injected into the Fulton Co. election results, how many were injected, where they came from and how we can prevent it from happening again in future elections,’’ Favorito wrote in an e-mail. ‘’It is not adequate for any organizations to secretly tell us there are no counterfeit ballots and refuse to let the public inspect them.”

He added that his team had “prepared diligently to show the evidence of our allegations” at a hearing Amero had previously scheduled for Nov. 15.

Fulton County Board of Commissioners Chairman Robb Pitts celebrated the lawsuit’s dismissal.

“Today was a win for democracy,’’ he said in an e-mailed statement. ‘’This lawsuit was the result of the Big Lie, which is nothing more than a meritless conspiracy theory being spread by people who simply cannot accept that their side lost. Its defeat here today should echo throughout the nation.’’

The ballot review effort in Fulton County was one of a number of similar reviews and audits that supporters of former president Donald Trump and others pursued after alleging fraud during the 2020 general election. State and federal election election officials have repeatedly said there was no evidence of widespread fraud in the election.

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Angered by his narrow loss in a traditionally red state, Trump focused his fury on Georgia, and particularly on Fulton County. He and his allies harshly criticized top Republican elected officials in the state for not acting to overturn his loss.

Associated Press

GOP group plans new ads against Democratic senators

WASHINGTON — A Republican group with close ties to Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell launched a new front Wednesday in the ad wars over the Democratic domestic policy bill, opening a $10 million ad campaign targeting three vulnerable senators.

One Nation, the issue advocacy arm of the Senate Leadership Fund, plans to air television, radio, and digital ads criticizing Democratic Senators Mark Kelly of Arizona, Catherine Cortez Masto of Nevada, and Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire, all of whom face voters in 2022 and have been supportive of President Biden’s agenda.

The ads, which will be paid for by undisclosed donors, describe the potential Democratic bill as a “multitrillion-dollar spending spree” and “the largest tax increase in decades” that will lead to further inflation.

“It’ll cost you,” runs the slogan repeated across ads in the series.

The television ad planned for Arizona takes the unusual route of praising Senator Kyrsten Sinema, Democrat of Arizona, a moderate and the favorite Democrat of McConnell, as it attacks Kelly by contrasting the two senators’ approach to the Democratic negotiations over the size and scope of the measure.

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Sinema has publicly balked at the Democratic plan, while Kelly has been less vocal about smaller criticisms, as warring party groups negotiate over climate, health care, and other social spending that the administration says will be paid for by hiking taxes on the wealthy and corporations.

Ads in all three states mention House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Democrat of California, blaming her for the shape and scope of the bill, while other cameos include Biden, majority leader Chuck Schumer, Democrat of New York, and Senator Bernie Sanders, Independent of Vermont.

The One Nation effort joins an already crowded set of outside groups on both sides that have been flooding airwaves and smartphone screens in key districts, with pro-Democratic spending generally outpacing pro-Republican spending, according to strategists in both parties.

The Democratic onslaught has been funded by groups like Building Back Together, which was set up by allies of Biden and has spent nearly $15 million in key states, according to a spokeswoman.

The League of Conservation Voters, Stand for Children, and Climate Power, along with interest groups like AARP, which supports expansions to the social safety net, have also contributed to the cause.

The Republican side has been led so far by two main groups. The American Action Network, an adjunct of House minority leader Kevin McCarthy’s fund-raising operation, has spent about $15 million in 25 front-line House districts targeting the domestic policy measure and a linked infrastructure bill, according to a spokesman. The Common Sense Leadership Fund, founded by former National Republican Senatorial Committee executive director Kevin McLaughlin, has put more than $12 million into digital and television ads focused on competitive House and Senate races.

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Washington Post