Arizona: Trump supporters file federal suit seeking to overturn election results | Local news | Howard Fischer/Arizona Daily Star

Supporters of President Trump filed suit in federal court Wednesday in their latest bid to throw out the certified popular vote results that awarded Arizona’s 11 electors to Joe Biden. The lawsuit alleges “widespread ballot fraud,” due in part to Dominion Voting Systems machines used in Maricopa County, which they assert were designed purposely to take votes away from Trump. Attorney Sidney Powell specifically blames that on Eric Coomer, an executive with the company, and “his visceral and public rage against the current U.S. president.” She said it is part of a criminal conspiracy. Dominion officials have repeatedly said the company’s software and hardware are secure. The lawsuit, filed on behalf of Arizona GOP Chairwoman Kelli Ward, among others, also claims poll watchers were unable to adequately monitor that the signatures on envelopes of mail-in ballots were verified. It refers to “biased and partisan Maricopa County poll referees.” It also says not enough people were allowed to observe the process. Overall, the lawsuit claims, there were at least 412,494 illegal ballots counted in Arizona, far more than Biden’s 10,547-vote margin over Trump.

Full Article: Trump supporters file federal suit seeking to overturn Arizona’s election results | Local news | tucson.com

Arizona: Trump blasts Ducey over election certification, says he betrayed Arizonans | Jeremy Duda/Arizona Mirror

After years of loyal support for President Donald Trump, Gov. Doug Ducey became the latest target of the president’s ire after certifying Arizona’s 2020 general election results, including former Vice President Joe Biden’s historic win in the traditional conservative stronghold of Arizona. Trump on Monday afternoon retweeted a comment declaring that Ducey “has betrayed the people of Arizona,” adding his own commentary, “TRUE!” That comment came just after another tweet in which Trump chastised Ducey for “rushing” to sign the statewide election canvass. He retweeted a comment noting that the certification of Arizona’s election results allow Democratic Senator-elect Mark Kelly, who defeated Republican U.S. Sen. Martha McSally, to be sworn in immediately. Kelly will be sworn in on Wednesday, narrowing the GOP’s advantage in the Senate to 52-48. His swearing-in comes earlier than other Senate contest winners from the general election because his race was a special election to fill the final two years of the term John McCain was elected to in 2016. “Why is he rushing to put a Democrat in office, especially when so many horrible things concerning voter fraud are being revealed at the hearing going on right now. @OANN What is going on with @dougducey? Republicans will long remember!” the president tweeted, referring to One America News Network, an avowedly pro-Trump cable network that he often praises. State law mandates that the secretary of state, governor, attorney general and Arizona Supreme Court chief justice certify the canvass on the fourth Monday after the general election.

Full Article: Trump blasts Ducey over election certification, says he betrayed Arizonans

Arizona certifies election results with Biden, Kelly winning | Andrew Oxford/Arizona Republic


Arizona officials certified the results of the state’s election on Monday, confirming Democratic President-elect Joe Biden’s victory in the state and clearing the way for Mark Kelly to take his seat in the U.S. Senate this week. Secretary of State Katie Hobbs touted high turnout despite the election unfolding in the middle of a pandemic. Voters cast more than 3.2 million ballots and turnout neared 80%, a 23% increase from the midterm election two years ago and an 8% increase from the last presidential election in 2016, Hobbs said. “Despite the unprecedented challenges, Arizonans showed up for our democracy,” Hobbs said. “Every Arizona voter has my thanks and should know they can stand proud that this election was transparency, accuracy and fairness in accordance with Arizona’s laws and election procedures, despite numerous unfounded claims to the contrary.” Hobbs, a Democrat, signed the official election results in the old state Capitol in Phoenix along with the state’s Republican governor and attorney general, Doug Ducey and Mark Brnovich, and Supreme Court Chief Justice Robert Brutinel. Ducey expressed confidence in the election process. “We do elections well here in Arizona. The system is strong and that’s why I bragged on it so much,” he said.

Full Article: Arizona certifies election results with Biden, Kelly winning

 

Arizona Republican Party chair eyes nullification of presidential election in new lawsuit | Jeremy Duda/Arizona Mirror

Arizona Republican Party Chair Kelli Ward wants a judge to allow her to examine ballots to determine if any were improperly counted in an effort to overturn President-elect Joe Biden’s victory, though she hasn’t shown any evidence of the theoretical problems she’s alleging. Ward plans to bring suit under a state law permitting any voter in the state to challenge election results on grounds of misconduct by election officials, illegal votes or if the loser is declared the winner through an “erroneous count of votes.” She is suing in her capacity as an individual and as an elector for President Donald Trump. It is the latest challenge from state Republicans to the results of the election, which Biden won by about 10,500 votes. This is the fifth lawsuit involving Arizona’s election results and the second involving Ward. According to the proposed complaint, the chairwoman will request that “the Court declare that the certificate of election of the Biden electors is of no further legal force or effect,” and “that the election is annulled and set aside” in accordance with a state law permitting a judge to reject the outcome of an election if a lawsuit shows that result to be improper. If an inspection of ballots proves Trump got the highest number of votes, Ward wants the judge to declare his electors as the winners. But before a judge can nullify the results of the presidential election in Arizona, Ward must show that enough votes were improper to warrant such a drastic result. And in order to help her show that, she’s asking a judge to allow her to examine ballots while she prepares to file her lawsuit after the state canvass of the 2020 general election is certified on Monday.

Full Article: AZGOP chair eyes nullification of presidential election in new lawsuit

 

Arizona: Republicans to hold meeting on Nov. 3 election, Trump defeat | Associated Press

Arizona Republicans have scheduled a meeting at a hotel in downtown Phoenix on Monday to discuss the Nov. 3 election and President Donald Trump’s defeat. The event was billed as a “fact-finding hearing” featuring members of Trump’s legal team and members of the Arizona Legislature, but top leaders of the Republican-controlled Legislature told The Associated Press that the planned gathering was not an official legislative event. According to press release by state Rep. Mark Finchem, R-Oro-Valley, the gathering is intended “to hear testimony and view evidence related to allegations of electoral compromise related to the 2020 election.” A similar event was held Wednesday in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. No evidence of fraud or hacking of voting machines has emerged during this election in Arizona. Five challenges have been filed in Maricopa County Superior Court in Phoenix since Nov. 3 and four of those have been dismissed. An initial hearing on the fifth is scheduled Monday, the same day as the hotel event and the state election canvass at the state Capitol.

Full Article: Republicans to hold meeting on Nov. 3 election, Trump defeat

 

Arizona: Legislative leaders say hearing announced by Trump campaign is news to them | Jeremy Duda/Arizona Mirror

President Donald Trump’s campaign announced that Arizona and two other states had scheduled legislative hearings to look into allegations surrounding the 2020 general election, which came as a surprise to leaders in both chambers, neither of whom had approved any such hearing. In a press statement on Tuesday, the Trump campaign announced that the legislatures in Arizona, Michigan and Pennsylvania would hold public hearings “in an effort to provide confidence that all of the legal votes have been counted and the illegal votes have not been counted in the November 3rd election.” The Pennsylvania Senate will hold a hearing on Wednesday, followed by Arizona on Nov. 30 and Michigan on Dec. 1, the campaign claimed. In Arizona, neither House Speaker Rusty Bowers, R-Mesa, nor Senate President Karen Fann, R-Prescott, have scheduled or approved any such hearing. “News to me at this time,” Fann said in a text message to the Arizona Mirror, while Andrew Wilder, a spokesman for Bowers, said, “Speaker Bowers has not authorized any such hearing in the Arizona House of Representatives.”

Full Article: Legislative leaders say hearing announced by Trump campaign is news to them • Arizona Mirror

Arizona GOP asks court to throw out Biden’s win in the state | Howard Fischer/Arizona Daily Star

The head of the Arizona Republican Party is asking a court to declare the election results that gave the state’s 11 electoral votes to Joe Biden are void. Legal papers filed late Wednesday on behalf of party chairwoman Kelli Ward claim the system used in Arizona to check signatures on mail-in ballots lacks sufficient safeguards to ensure they came from the registered voters whose envelopes were submitted. The lawsuit also contends legally required observers were unable to see the process from where they were placed. Ward asserts as well that the process for dealing with damaged ballots did not result in them being accurately recorded. She most immediately wants a court to order production of a reasonable sampling of the signatures on the ballot envelopes so they can be compared to signatures on file. Ward also wants inspection to compare damaged ballots with the duplicates that were created by election workers to allow them to be scanned. But the real goal is to have the court set aside the results of the election.

Full Article: Head of Arizona GOP asks court to throw out Biden’s win in the state | Local news | tucson.com

Arizona: Maricopa County supervisors unanimously certify election results | Jen Fiflied/Arizona Republic

The Republican-controlled Maricopa County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously Friday to certify election results in Arizona’s most populous county. The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, the elected body that oversees elections in Arizona’s most populous county, voted unanimously on Friday to approve the results of this month’s general election. The majority-Republican supervisors did so after spending hours on Friday afternoon asking election officials who oversaw the voting process numerous questions related to election fairness, security, technology and oversight. Before the vote, the supervisors, four Republicans and one Democrat, said they were satisfied with the answers. Republican chairman Clint Hickman said there was no proof of fraud or misconduct in the election and he was confident that voters were provided with a fair election. He said that he “learned a lot about the character of people in this community” on the matter, and he would not “violate the law or deviate from my own moral compass,” even though he said that’s what some had pressured him to do. “No matter how you voted, this election was administered with integrity, transparency, and most importantly in accordance with Arizona state laws,” Hickman said.

Full Article: Maricopa County supervisors unanimously certify election results

Arizona: Judge Rejects GOP Bid to Delay Vote Certification in Phoenix | Jacques Billeaud/Associated Press

A judge has rejected the Arizona Republican Party’s bid to postpone the certification of election results in Maricopa County and dismissed the party’s legal challenge that sought a new audit of a sampling of ballots. Judge John Hanna issued the ruling Thursday with little explanation, saying only that the GOP’s request to amend its lawsuit was futile, barring the party from refiling the case and promising a full explanation of his reasons for the decision in the future. Maricopa County officials are expected to certify elections results Friday. It’s unclear whether the party plans to appeal the decision. While the Republican Party said the purpose of its challenge is to determine whether voting machines were hacked, Democratic Secretary of State Katie Hobbs’ office said the suit is a delay tactic aimed at undermining the certification. No evidence of fraud or hacking of voting machines has emerged during this election in Arizona. The court ruling comes as the state GOP has pressured county officials statewide to delay certifying their election results, leading officials in Republican-heavy Mohave County to postpone their certification until Monday. Eleven of Arizona’s 15 counties have already certified election results. Kelli Ward, chairwoman of the Arizona Republican Party, responded to the decision by asking for an examination of a larger audit of ballots cast throughout Arizona. “Arizona voters deserve to have complete trust in their election procedures. They should also have supreme confidence that only legal ballots were counted in the 2020 election,” Ward said. “Failure to address their concerns actively harms our state and our nation.”

Full Article: Judge Rejects GOP Bid to Delay Vote Certification in Phoenix | Arizona News | US News

Arizona Judge Expresses Skepticism of GOP Maricopa Recount Suit | Erik Larson/Bloomberg

An Arizona judge expressed skepticism about a Republican lawsuit seeking to force the state’s biggest county to re-do a hand recount of some ballots despite having no evidence of voter fraud or software errors. The Arizona Republican Party sued Nov. 12 claiming Maricopa County’s state-mandated hand count of a sample of ballots — to audit voting machine accuracy — must be repeated because officials sampled votes from 2% of polling places, called vote centers, instead of 2% of precincts. Maricopa County, which includes the city of Phoenix, favored President-elect Joe Biden in the election, helping make him the presumptive winner of the state over President Donald Trump by more than 10,000 votes. Judge John Hannah said at a Wednesday hearing in Phoenix that he was “having a hard time” understanding why the GOP waited so long to challenge the audit details given that they had a representative involved with the process more than two weeks before the election, during early voting. “This audit process effectively started before the election,” Hannah said. “They waited until after the election, until they knew how the vote had apparently come out before they filed” the lawsuit. All Arizona counties need to report their results in time for the state to certify the election by Nov. 30, and Democrats argue the suit intentionally puts that deadline at risk. Hannah said he’d issue a ruling as soon as Thursday morning.

Full Article: Arizona GOP Seeks Recount in Phoenix Area Despite ‘Zero’ Errors

Arizona GOP pressures counties to delay certifying vote | Jacques Billeaud and Bob Christie/Associated Press

The Arizona Republican Party is pressuring county officials statewide to delay certifying their election results despite no evidence of legitimate questions about the vote count that shows Democratic President-elect Joe Biden won the state. The GOP also is seeking a court order to postpone the certification in Maricopa County — the state’s largest by population — that’s expected Thursday or Friday before a Nov. 23 deadline. In northwestern Arizona, Mohave County officials postponed their certification until Nov. 23, while other counties press ahead. “The party is pushing for not only the county supervisors but everyone responsible for certifying and canvassing the election to make sure that all questions are answered so that voters will have confidence in the results of the election,” said Zach Henry, a spokesman for the Arizona Republican Party. The party has filed a legal challenge seeking a hand-count of a sampling of ballots in Maricopa County and a court order prohibiting it from certifying results until the case is decided. “This case is about delay — not the adjudication of good faith claims,” lawyers for Democratic Secretary of State Katie Hobbs said in a court filing. Jack Wilenchik, a lawyer representing the GOP, said at a court hearing Wednesday that the lawsuit’s purpose is to determine whether voting machines have been hacked.

Full Article: Arizona GOP pressures counties to delay certifying vote

Arizona: Judge will decide whether to delay Maricopa canvass in Republican Party election challenge | Jeremy Duda/Arizona Mirror

Maricopa County is asking a judge to dismiss a lawsuit from the Arizona Republican Party alleging that election officials improperly used vote centers instead of precincts as the basis for a limited hand count of ballots, while the state GOP may ask the judge to postpone the county’s official canvass of the 2020 general election while the case plays out in court. The parties will be back in court on Wednesday afternoon, when Maricopa County Superior Court Judge John Hannah will determine whether the case should move forward. State law requires counties to perform a hand count of ballots cast in at least 2% of all precincts after each election. But state law also permits counties to abandon precinct-based voting entirely and instead use vote centers where any voter, regardless of where he or she lives, can cast a ballot. To reconcile the two, the election procedures manual issued by the Secretary of State’s Office each election cycle permits counties to use 2% of vote centers if they don’t use precincts. The manual, which has the force of state law and was approved by the governor and attorney general, has included that provision since 2012. The Arizona Republican Party sued Maricopa County, arguing that it still should have conducted its hand count based on precincts.

Full Article: Judge will decide whether to delay Maricopa canvass in AZGOP election challenge

Arizona: Trump campaign drops effort seeking review of ballots | Heather Neidig/The Hill

 

The Trump campaign dropped its lawsuit on Friday in Arizona seeking a review of ballots cast in the state’s biggest county in the presidential race just hours after multiple outlets projected President-elect Joe Biden to carry the state. The campaign, which filed the complaint Saturday, said in a new filing that it would no longer seek a court order for a review of presidential votes over its allegation that poll workers had mishandled ballots rejected by tabulation machines. “Since the close of yesterday’s hearing, the tabulation of votes statewide has rendered unnecessary a judicial ruling as to the presidential electors,” Trump campaign lawyers wrote Friday in the filing. In their lawsuit filed Saturday, President Trump‘s legal team alleged that voters had claimed they were pushed by poll workers to override tabulation machines’ rejection of their ballots when irregularities were detected. They alleged that poll workers in Maricopa County, which encompasses Phoenix and the metro area, were telling voters that overriding the function would help ensure their votes were counted when it would actually reject the ballot without an opportunity for review. The lawsuit against Arizona’s secretary of state had asked the Maricopa County Superior Court for an order to hold off on certifying the vote count until a hand review of the county’s ballots could be conducted.

Full Article: Trump campaign drops effort seeking review of Arizona ballots | TheHill

Arizona Republican Party sues over use of vote centers for county election audit | Jeremy Duda/Arizona Mirror

The Arizona Republican Party is going to court to challenge a nearly decade-old provision in the secretary of state’s election procedures manual, which by statute has the force of law. Central to the complaint is that Maricopa County used the wrong method to determine which ballots to hand count for a post-election audit. State law requires counties to perform a hand count of ballots from 2% of precincts after every election to compare the results to those from the tabulation machines that the counties use to tally ballots. But the legislature in 2011 passed a law permitting counties to switch from precinct-based voting to vote centers where voters could go to cast a ballot, regardless of where they lived. The election procedures manual remedied the conflict between the two laws by allowing counties to substitute voting centers instead. The 2019 election procedures manual drafted by the office of Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, a Democrat, and approved by Gov. Doug Ducey and Attorney General Mark Brnovich, both Republicans, states, “In counties that utilize vote centers, each vote center is considered to be a precinct/polling location and the officer in charge of elections must conduct a hand count of regular ballots from at least 2% of the vote centers, or 2 vote centers, whichever is greater.” 

Full Article: AZGOP sues over use of vote centers for county election audit

Arizona: Maricopa County has no plans for full hand recount of ballots | Jeremy Duda/Arizona Mirror

Maricopa County has no plans to conduct a full audit or hand count of all ballots cast in the 2020 general election to rebut unfounded allegations of fraud and malfeasance, despite demands for such a recount by President Donald Trump and other prominent Arizona Republican officials. For days, Republican members of Arizona’s legislature and congressional delegation have called for a full recounting by hand of all ballots in the state, as have the chair of the Arizona Republican Party, a national Republican committeeman and, as of Thursday morning, Trump himself. The allegations of fraud, which are mostly vague and lack any specific accusations or evidence, center primarily around Maricopa County, a traditional conservative stronghold that has shown an increasing willingness to vote Democratic in the last few elections. Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden leads Trump by nearly 45,000 votes in Maricopa County, which has about 60% of the state’s population. Fields Mosely, a spokesman for the county, said the Board of Supervisors hasn’t scheduled any meetings to discuss an audit beyond the already completed hand count that is mandated by law. State law requires counties to perform a hand count of ballots cast in at least 2% of all precincts or vote centers, as well as 1% of all early ballots, which make up the vast majority of votes in Arizona. Maricopa County has already completed that audit, hand-counting nearly 3,000 in-person votes and nearly 5,200 early ballots. Representatives of the county Democratic, Libertarian and Republican parties participated in the audit. The results of the hand count showed a 100% match with the tally by Maricopa County’s voting machines. “There is no evidence of systemic error in the ballot counting equipment in Maricopa County,” Mosley said. 

Full Article: Maricopa County has no plans for full hand recount of ballots

Arizona officials seek dismissal of Trump’s election suit | Jacques Billeaud/Associated Press

Attorneys defending Arizona election officials argued Thursday that the Trump campaign’s lawsuit that seeks the manual inspection of Election Day ballots in metro Phoenix should be dismissed because the campaign hasn’t proven systematic errors in the way poll workers handled ballots that were rejected by tabulation machines. President Donald Trump’s challenge is seeking to bar the certification of election results until such a manual inspection is completed of ballots that contained “overvotes,” instances in which people voted for more candidates than permitted. Of the 166,000 ballots cast on Election Day in Maricopa County, 961 contained overvotes, including 191 overvotes cast in the presidential race. The case was being heard as Democrat Joe Biden held an advantage of about 11,000 votes over Trump in Arizona as 7 p.m. Thursday, with about 16,000 ballots left to count across the state. The lawsuit alleges tabulation machines rejected some ballots due to ink splotches and that poll workers either pressed or told voters to press a green button on the device to override the error, resulting in some ballot selections being disregarded. While Trump’s lawyers initially said there could potentially be thousands of Trump votes within the ballots in question, they now say that number would be lower.

Full Article: Arizona officials seek dismissal of Trump’s election suit

Arizona: Could election officials have done more to prevent ‘Sharpiegate’ this election? |  Jen Fifield/Arizona Republic

When Julie Flesch got home from voting at her local church on Election Day, she was still thinking about a few things that didn’t seem right. The Mesa resident said she didn’t see her name show up when she cast her ballot, and she had noticed how the Sharpie she had been given to mark her votes had bled through to the other side. She hoped her votes registered OK, after reading that any errant mark on a ballot could pose problems. That’s when she read on Facebook that the use of Sharpies was invalidating votes — a rumor that has since been debunked. “It corroborated the concern that I had,” she said. “Oh, now I understand why my vote didn’t count.” Flesch did research and eventually heard from the county that her ballot had been counted and learned that Sharpies are OK to use on the county’s ballots. But for Flesch and the other Arizona voters who walked into a polling place on Election Day with even an inkling of suspicion of voter fraud or a doubt of election integrity, the rumors about Sharpies circulating online in the hours and days after polls closed last week was enough to make them believe that their votes hadn’t been counted. That fueled a conspiracy theory about poll workers giving Republican voters Sharpies so their votes wouldn’t count.   The question is whether what has now been dubbed as “Sharpiegate” in Arizona could have been avoided.

Full Article: ‘Sharpiegate’: Could Arizona election officials have prevented it?

Arizona secretary of state rejects GOP lawmaker’s request for tests of voting machines | Howard Fischer/Arizona Daily Star

Senate President Karen Fann is seeking an independent analysis of the testing of Arizona voting machines. In a letter to Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, the Prescott Republican said she is not claiming there was fraud in the just-completed election. “But many others are making that claim,” Fann said. And she contends that the outside review will put the “current controversy” to rest. But Hobbs said Fann, while professing no belief in fraud, is herself trafficking in conspiracy theories by even suggesting that an extra – and legally unrequired – step is necessary to quell rumors. “It is patently unreasonable to suggest that, despite there being zero credible evidence of any impropriety or widespread irregularities, election officials nonetheless have a responsibility to prove a negative,” she wrote Tuesday in a response to Fann. “To be clear, there is no ‘current controversy’ regarding elections in Arizona, outside of theories floated by those seeking to undermine our democratic process for political gain,” Hobbs said. “Elected officials should work to build, rather than damage, public confidence in our system.” And the secretary left no doubt about what she intends to do. “I respectfully decline your request to push aside the work that remains to be done to ensure an orderly completion of this election and instead launch and fund with taxpayer dollars a boundless ‘independent’ evaluation of ‘all data related to the tabulation of votes in the 2020 General Election,”’ Hobbs wrote.

Full Article: Arizona secretary of state rejects GOP lawmaker’s request for tests of voting machines | Latest News | tucson.com

Arizona: Republican challenge to Maricopa County election involves fewer than 200 ballots, attorneys say | Maria Polletta and Andrew Oxford/Arizona Republic

Republican officials behind a lawsuit alleging poll workers “incorrectly rejected” votes cast in person on Election Day will make their case in front of a Maricopa County Superior Court judge later this week. The defendants — Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, Maricopa County Recorder Adrian Fontes and the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors — also will have a chance to produce evidence and make oral arguments, according to Judge Daniel Kiley. But it appears unlikely the case would affect the outcome of the presidential vote. A lawyer for the county said fewer than 200 ballots are at issue. President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign filed the lawsuit Saturday, alongside the Republican National Committee and the Arizona Republican Party. The complaint claims Maricopa County poll workers disregarded procedures designed to give voters a chance to correct ballot mistakes, possibly affecting final vote counts.

Full Article: Arizona election results: Maricopa County challenge involves 180 ballots

Arizona: Faced with defeat, armed protesters insist election stolen | Mimi Dwyer and David Shepardson/Reuters

Hundreds of supporters of President Donald Trump rallied in downtown Phoenix on Saturday to contest Joe Biden’s election as U.S. president, charging the media with conspiring to steal the election and calling the results a “coup.” The Trump campaign lent support to protests questioning the current vote tally, filing a lawsuit in Arizona Saturday over rejected ballots that Arizona’s Secretary of State said was “grasping at straws.” Trump’s campaign alleged the Southwestern state’s most populous county incorrectly rejected votes cast on Election Day by some voters in the U.S. presidential race. The lawsuit, filed in state Superior Court in Maricopa County, said poll workers told some voters to press a button after a machine had detected an “overvote.” Pro-Trump protesters have been assembling outside the Maricopa County Elections Department and at the Arizona State Capitol for days, espousing unsubstantiated claims that Democratic operatives had interfered with the election to illegitimately deliver Arizona to Biden.

Source: Faced with defeat, armed protesters in Arizona insist election stolen | Reuters

Arizona: Pro-Trump protesters gather around Maricopa County counting center | Henry Austin, Gadi Schwartz, Kurt Chirbas and Colin Sheeley/NBC

A crowd of protesters, some of them armed, claimed the vote had been stolen from President Donald Trump as they gathered outside the counting center in Maricopa County, Phoenix, late Wednesday, ahead of the release of new results in the presidential and Senate races. It was one of several demonstrations across the country — some about the election, some about racial inequality. In New York, 50 people were arrested, officials told NBC New York. In Maricopa, some in the 300-strong crowd chanted “count the votes” and “Fox News sucks,” after the TV network called Arizona in Joe Biden’s favor. Arizona is too close to call, according to NBC News. Biden leads there with 50.5 percent to Trump’s 48.1 percent, with 86 percent of the expected vote in — a difference of just under 70,000 votes. Maricopa County, which includes Phoenix, is the largest in the state and will prove crucial in the presidential race.

Full Article: Pro-Trump protesters gather around Maricopa County, Arizona, counting center

Arizona: Use of Sharpies on ballots in court as Secretary of State’s Office calls concerns a ‘conspiracy theory’ | Jen Fifield Andrew Oxford/Arizona Republic

The day after Arizona gained national attention for concerns about the use of Sharpies on ballots, Maricopa County elections officials were in court explaining to a judge that the use of the markers on Election Day did not cause votes to go uncounted. Judge Margaret Mahoney in a scheduling hearing on Thursday asked attorneys representing a voter and poll worker concerned about the use of Sharpies and attorneys representing county officials to discuss how quickly they could move forward with the case, considering the county is nearly finished processing ballots and counting votes. The judge did not make any decisions in the case, but told both sides that she would need more information if the case proceeded. Maricopa County had about 280,000 votes left to count as of Thursday morning. More results were expected on Thursday night. Meanwhile, Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs’ office told state Attorney General Mark Brnovich that, by investigating the issue, he helped perpetuate a “conspiracy theory that undermines the hard work of Arizona’s election administrators, poll workers and voters.”

Full Article: Use of Sharpies on Arizona ballots in court

Arizona: No truth to GOP claims that Sharpies are invalidating ballots | Jerod MacDonald-Evoy/AZ Mirror

For the first time ever, Arizona voters were given Sharpie permanent markers to mark their ballots at Arizona polls this year, and they have spawned false claims from Republican officials in Arizona and members of the state’s conservative fringe that election officials are using the markers to invalidate votes for Donald Trump and other GOP candidates.  Similar claims have been made by prominent people in the national conservative sphere, including Matt Schlapp, the chairman of the American Conservative Union, and Sean Davis, the co-founder of the right-wing Federalist news site. Elected Republicans in Arizona have made similar claims. U.S. Rep. Paul Gosar, no stranger to fringe conspiracy theories, called it “voter fraud” and urged Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich to investigate. Rep. Warren Petersen, the GOP leader in the state House of Representatives, alleged that some of his constituents had their votes “cancelled” without explanation and said he referred them to the AG; he later shared a news story alleging malfeasance with the Sharpies. And state Rep. Bret Roberts said anyone who used a Sharpie to mark their ballots should ensure it was counted. … “To me it smacks of grandstanding and politics,” former state Elections Director Amy Chan said, adding that she is concerned the AG’s request is also coming from a place of fundamental misunderstanding, as voters have for years been told that Sharpies and similar markers were not to be used on ballots because the old machines couldn’t read them. 

Full Article: No truth to GOP claims that Sharpies are invalidating Arizona ballots

Arizona: Election officials push back on Trump tweet | Jeremy Duda/Arizona Mirror

Arizona election officials of both parties repudiated a tweet from President Donald Trump that again pushed the baseless allegation that voting by mail fosters election fraud and suggested that the November election should be delayed “until people can properly, securely and safely vote.” Trump has repeatedly promoted, without evidence, unverified claims that voting-by-mail is susceptible to fraud, largely in response to Democratic calls for all-mail balloting to ensure that people can vote safely amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The president reiterated those claims on Thursday, along with a more novel argument that the alleged fraud may necessitate moving the date of the Nov. 3 general election. “With Universal Mail-In Voting (not Absentee Voting, which is good), 2020 will be the most INACCURATE & FRAUDULENT Election in history. It will be a great embarrassment to the USA. Delay the Election until people can properly, securely and safely vote???” Trump tweeted Thursday morning. Democratic and Republican election officials in Arizona took issue with both the election fraud allegations and the suggestion that the election be delayed. “I have no words. It’s very disappointing,” said Yavapai County Recorder Leslie Hoffman, a Republican.

Arizona: Democratic Party Challenges law Denying Voters Who Forgot To Sign Mail-in Ballots | Howard Fischer/Capitol Media Services

The state and national Democratic parties are challenging a state law that denies some people the right to vote because they forgot to sign their mail-in ballots. The lawsuit filed Tuesday in federal court here points out that state lawmakers last year agreed to require county election officials to give people five business days to “cure” their ballots if it appears that the signature on the envelope does not match what is on file. But attorney Alexis Danneman said Arizona law does not offer a similar option for those who simply failed to sign the envelope. “If not remedied by 7 p.m. on Election Day, their votes are simply not counted,” she wrote. “Voters who are in fact registered to vote, and who did in fact timely submit their mail ballots, will have their votes disregarded without due process.” The issue, she said, is not academic. Danneman said Maricopa County officials rejected 2,209 unsigned mail-in ballots in the 2016 general election and 1,856 two years later. Overall, she said, officials in the state’s largest county rejected 18,420 mail ballots due to lack of signatures from 2008 through 2018. And Danneman said this isn’t just a Maricopa County problem. She said Pinal County officials rejected 131 ballot for missing signatures or similar reasons in 2018.

Arizona: Voting-rights advocates call for election changes in Arizona amid virus | Jonathan J. Cooper/Associated Press

Voting rights advocates called on Arizona officials Tuesday to send a ballot to every registered voter for the primary and general elections this year and take other steps to ensure people can safely vote during the coronavirus outbreak. Citing infections linked to Wisconsin’s primary earlier this month, the groups said nobody should risk their health to cast a ballot. They want election officials to send ballots to everyone while preserving in-person voting opportunities for those who prefer it or can’t vote by mail, such as living in remote areas of Native American reservations. They also want extended deadlines for in-person early voting and voter registration. The moves are critical “so we don’t end up in a situation where we’re tracing back new coronavirus cases…to people who were exercising their fundamental right to living in a democracy by voting,” said Aaron Marquez, western states director for Vote Vets, an advocacy organization for progressive veterans.

Arizona: Election, Health Officials Urge Vote By Mail For Arizona | Ben Giles/KJZZ

A coalition of election officials, health experts and voting rights advocates collected more than 1,000 signatures urging Gov. Doug Ducey and legislative Republicans to let ballots be mailed to all voters. Calling it a “vote-by-mail plus” model, the coalition led by All Voting Is Local Arizona said mailing ballots to every voter would not preclude the state from still offering polling places on election day in August and November. In fact, Coconino County Recorder Patty Hansen said that mailing ballots would allow her office to allocate scarce resources and manpower to areas of the county that most need in-person voting options. Voters in urban areas have easy access to mail, while rural voters — particularly those on Arizona’s Indian reservations — still need the option to vote in-person. “Allowing the counties to mail ballots to all registered voters will alleviate the burden that the counties currently have in finding and staffing all of our election day polling locations,” Hansen said.

Arizona: Democratic lawsuit challenging absentee ballot deadline cites Supreme Court ruling on Wisconsin primary | Elise Viebeck /The Washington Post

A Democratic lawsuit challenging Arizona’s absentee ballot deadline is citing the Supreme Court’s recent ruling about the Wisconsin primary to support its case, arguing that the decision to allow absentee ballots to count in Wisconsin if they were postmarked on or by Election Day should also apply in Arizona. In a supplemental memo filed Tuesday in federal court, lawyers for a trio of plaintiffs argued that the high court’s ruling bolsters their complaint that requiring absentee ballots to be returned — rather than postmarked — on or by Election Day leads to the disenfranchisement of thousands of voters when their overdue ballots are rejected. The Supreme Court ruled on Monday of last week that absentee ballots in Wisconsin’s primary had to be postmarked by April 7, the date of election, but could be counted as long as they were received by April 13. Typically, absentee ballots in Wisconsin must be received on or by Election Day to count, making the decision a victory for Democrats as they seek to ease voting restrictions during the coronavirus pandemic. Marc Elias, a Democratic elections lawyer involved in both cases, said precedent may be helpful in the legal push against Arizona’s deadline, which has emerged as the first test of whether lower courts will follow the Supreme Court’s lead. The original suit was filed in November.

Arizona: Elections chief seeks move toward all-mail elections | Jonathan J. Cooper/Associated Press

Arizona’s top election official asked lawmakers Wednesday to let counties run elections entirely by mail later this year if it’s necessary to protect election workers and voters from the coronavirus outbreak. As public health officials recommend increasing restrictions on social interactions, Democratic Secretary of State Katie Hobbs said the state needs to “prepare now for any eventuality.” About 80 percent of Arizonans have voted by mail in recent elections. “It is vital we build more flexibility into the law, even if only on a temporary basis,” Hobbs wrote to legislative leaders. Her request comes a day after thousands of voters cast a ballot in the Democratic presidential primary amid extra sanitation precautions. Some voters wore masks and gloves and took pains to maintain the recommended six feet of separation between people, while poll workers were instructed to regularly clean surfaces.