In the vital lead-up to the Georgia Senate runoff elections on January 5, a pro-Trump PAC announced a key legal victory for election integrity. Janine Eveler, elections director at the Cobb County Board of Elections and Registration, had allegedly restricted Republican poll watchers. After the local Republican Party filed a lawsuit alongside the pro-Trump PAC Committee to Defend the President, Eveler signed a consent decree guaranteeing poll watchers’ access.
Ted Harvey, the PAC’s chairman, applauded Judge George Kreeger of the Cobb County Superior Court for “helping us bring accuracy, fairness, and transparency to Georgia. Because of this ruling, the county’s ballot observation process will no longer stink of secrecy and corruption.”
“However, the fight goes on: The Committee won’t rest until we hold each of these arrogant, abusive, and partisan election officials accountable and get to the bottom of unprecedented voting irregularities in the Peach State,” Harvey added.
The Committee to Defend the President joined the Cobb County GOP and Georgia elector Jason Shepherd in suing Eveler and the elections board for allegedly enforcing different rules when it comes to allowing or restricting poll watchers.
Eveler allegedly picked ballot monitors overnight and posted her selections early the next morning, while selecting only two people to monitor a 25,000-square-foot facility with three separate rooms.
Judge Kreeger’s ruling requires Eveler to interpret election laws as they were originally written, allowing Republican poll watchers to oversee the ballot counting process without the constraints of recent weeks.
According to the committee, “The ruling ensures that Eveler cannot abuse her power to undermine Republican Senators Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue.”
Kreeger’s order requires the elections board to allow Republican poll watchers throughout the ballot counting process, specifically allowing them to “observe the process of absentee ballot signature verification.”
In the aftermath of Joe Biden’s apparent narrow victory in Georgia in the November 3 presidential election, the Trump campaign had repeatedly alleged that election officials abused the signature verification on absentee ballots, verifying signatures that did not match the signature on file for the voter in question.
Since the ballot envelopes with the signatures were cast away after this verification process, it was likely impossible for the Trump campaign to separate votes illegally counted from those legally counted. However, if poll watchers have guaranteed access to observe the count, they can prevent or call out any such shenanigans in the January 5 runoff.
This legal victory only applies to Cobb County, but it does mark an important step in the right direction of restoring election integrity after the numerous irregularities that opened the November 3 election to potential fraud. Whatever Americans think of President Donald Trump’s attempts to challenge the election results, it is essential to address these irregularities and reform the system to bolster election integrity.
This ruling represents a crucial step in that direction, right before the runoffs.
Tyler O’Neil is the author of Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Follow him on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.