The present handbook — which Brnovich and Republican Gov. Doug Ducey signed off on final 12 months — signifies officers in counties utilizing vote facilities “must conduct a hand count of regular ballots from at least 2% of the vote centers, or 2 vote centers, whichever is greater.”
That’s precisely what Maricopa County did, with a member of the Republican Party collaborating. Three different counties additionally performed audits this fashion however weren’t named within the go well with.
In his ruling, Judge John Hannah invited the Secretary of State’s Office to hunt fee for legal professional’s charges from the Arizona Republican Party, citing
a state regulation that enables for such awards when a celebration brings a declare “without substantial justification” or “solely or primarily for delay or harassment.”
GOP chair, Biden marketing campaign react
Arizona GOP Chair Kelli Ward denounced the ruling in a press release on Thursday, saying Arizona voters “deserve to have complete trust in their election procedures,” and “failure to address their concerns actively harms our state and our nation.”
“This election has been fraught with rigidity as voters had been compelled to regulate to new election procedures put in place due to COVID-19, in addition to organized efforts by Democrats throughout the nation, which helped result in a wildly totally different voting course of than in years previous,” she said.
“Because of this, I stand by my name for a full hand-count audit of our state’s election outcomes.”
Arizona law does not allow recount requests and has strict criteria for automatic recounts. In races where more than 25,000 votes were cast, the margin has to be less than or equal to 200 votes or 0.1% of votes cast for the top two vote-getters, whichever is smaller.
President-elect Joe Biden’s campaign also issued a statement after the judge’s ruling, calling the lawsuit “frivolous” and saying it was “rightfully dismissed.”
“Arizona’s election was well-run and clear, and far-right fringes of the Arizona Republican Party ought to cease making an attempt to undermine Arizonans’ religion in free and honest elections,” the statement said.
Judge unconvinced by GOP’s claims
Hannah’s initial order granting the motions to dismiss did not lay out the rationale behind his ruling. A separate document with that information was expected to be made public later Thursday.
But Hannah’s questions during a preliminary hearing on Wednesday provided some clues. He’d repeatedly pressed Jack Wilenchik, the lawyer representing the Arizona GOP, on the timing of the lawsuit and whether a new hand-count audit would make any difference.
“What is the final word damage that your shopper seeks to redress right here? What’s their aim on this litigation?” Hannah asked at one point. “Let’s say that I ordered the reduction that you just requested for. Then what?”
Wilenchik, who could not cite any specific harm done to the party, responded that the suit was “all about checking for errors.”
“It’s one other verify on a system, and that is one thing that is crucial to the general public proper now,” he said. “It’s crucial to make sure the integrity of the election.”
Wilenchik contended that if one precinct got hacked, officials auditing by vote center would be “a lot much less prone to detect that error” because certain races are only relevant in one precinct, an argument Hannah said he was “making an attempt to make sense” of.
Hannah also indicated he was having a “arduous time” understanding why the party waited so long to file a lawsuit about a process they should have known was coming — and directly participated in.
When the county began its hand-count audit the evening of Nov. 4, Maricopa County chairs of the Republican, Democratic and Libertarian parties were all present, according to a county filing. The chairs took turns selecting vote centers to audit, the filing says, with the Republican chair getting first pick.
A hearing for the remaining election challenge, which claims the county denied one voter the right to cast her ballot and failed to properly process another voter’s ballot electronically, will begin at 9 a.m. Friday.
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