Judge: Perdue’s election fraud claims are ‘conjecture and paranoia’

Lawsuit seeking inspection of Fulton County absentee ballots is dismissed

A Fulton County judge has rejected former U.S. Sen. David Perdue’s request to inspect ballots from the November 2020 election, saying his evidence of voting fraud amounts to “conjecture and paranoia.”

Perdue’s lawsuit claimed fraud had cost him a chance to defeat Democrat Jon Ossoff in November 2020. The two candidates advanced to a January 2021 runoff, which Ossoff won. Perdue’s lawsuit cited some of the same discredited allegations of fraud that former President Donald Trump has repeatedly said allowed Joe Biden to win the presidential election in Georgia.

On Wednesday, Superior Court Judge Robert C.I. McBurney dismissed the lawsuit and Perdue’s request for a “forensic inspection” of absentee ballots. The judge said Perdue’s claims consisted of “speculation, conjecture and paranoia — sufficient fodder for talk shows, op-ed pieces and social media platforms, but far short of what would legally justify a court taking such action.”

Perdue issued a statement criticizing the ruling.

“Today’s ruling is another example of how the establishment continues to cover up what happened in 2020, and we will vigorously appeal the decision,” he said. “Courts across the country have been dismissing cases not based on evidence, but because of procedural nonsense.”

Don Samuel, an attorney who represented Fulton County in the lawsuit, said McBurney’s order, like the orders in similar lawsuits dismissed in state and federal courts, “reflect the judiciary’s virtually unanimous rejection of the merits of the lawsuits brought by the losing candidates and their adherents.

“For the plaintiff to decry these lawsuits as ‘procedural nonsense’ is the surest sign that the plaintiffs do not understand the rule of law,” Samuel wrote.

Perdue filed the lawsuit against Fulton County officials in December — more than a year after the election and four days after he launched his campaign to unseat Gov. Brian Kemp in the May 24 Republican primary. He has made false election fraud claims a centerpiece of his campaign.

In the lawsuit, Perdue claimed several batches of Fulton County absentee ballots were scanned multiple times and thousands of counterfeit ballots were counted. Investigators for the secretary of state’s office found no evidence to support those claims, and another judge had already refused to order a forensic audit of Fulton County ballots.

On Wednesday, McBurney ruled that Perdue had failed to state a proper claim for relief. The judge noted that Perdue could have filed a proper election challenge following the vote in November 2020, but he did not. Judges rejected several election challenges filed by Trump and his supporters.

McBurney declined to issue orders “that would effectively empower petitioners’ unnamed ‘forensic experts’ to intrude upon the sealed ballot materials of tens of thousands of Fulton County voters, hunt for speculative voter fraud or error, and then determine for themselves what the ‘actual’ vote count should have been in the election.”

“This quixotic journey,” McBurney wrote, “will not take place.”

Staff writer Greg Bluestein contributed to this article.