• Sun. Sep 19th, 2021

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Long After Trump’s Loss, a Push to Inspect Ballots Persists

“The Republican establishment hasn’t reached out, whatsoever,” he said, adding that he had not voted for Mr. Trump but for a third-party candidate. And the funding for the inspection, he said, would come from “patriots” making small-dollar donations. “We don’t have any big money.”

The spread and repetition of false claims about the election follows familiar patterns for disinformation, which often occupies segmented corners of the internet and social media. Forces both algorithmic and organic will surface content — such as theories of election fraud based on grainy social media videos or anonymous allegations — for people who are inclined to agree with it.

But what have further fueled Mr. Trump’s election claims, aside from his continued public pronouncements, are the many lawsuits filed by the former president and his allies after the 2020 election.

“Even though all of the lawsuits got thrown out, the Trump campaign did file a whole bunch of baseless lawsuits, which adds a layer of legitimacy when you’re reading about a lawsuit that’s been filed versus some rumor, allegation or piece of content online,” said Lisa Kaplan, the founder of Alethea Group, a company that helps fight misinformation. “It ratchets it up a notch.”

The Georgia effort could also yet extend beyond the Republican echo chamber in which the 2020 election is still being litigated. The state’s new election law ensures that the General Assembly, which is currently controlled by Republicans, has broad authority over counties through a restructured state election board. The board can, among other things, suspend county election officials.

As Mr. Favorito did a victory lap on pro-Trump news outlets, he won praise from top Georgia Republicans. David J. Shafer, the pro-Trump chairman of the Georgia Republican Party, emailed fellow Republicans on Friday calling Judge Amero’s ruling “a very significant and encouraging development.”

Ms. Loeffler also praised Mr. Favorito’s effort.

“While there is a dire need to investigate a number of other well-documented issues, we must also inspect Fulton County’s absentee ballots to reassure Georgians that their voices are heard and their votes are counted,” she said.