The state’s first-ever congressional recount begins this week in the nail-biter race between Republican Martha McSally and U.S. Rep. Ron Barber, D-Ariz. McSally leads by 161 votes out of more than 219,000 cast in southern Arizona’s 2nd Congressional District, a margin so narrow it will trigger the recount once Secretary of State Ken Bennett certifies the canvass. He is scheduled to do so Monday. Barber sought to cut into McSally’s lead ahead of the recount by challenging election officials’ rejection of 133 ballots in Pima and Cochise counties. But on Thanksgiving Day, a Tucson federal judge denied the campaign’s request to count the ballots, a development that one expert says bolsters McSally’s likelihood of victory.
Rebecca Green, co-director of the Election Law Program at William & Mary Law School, has said that whoever is leading going into a recount has a huge advantage. “They are trying to jockey to get as many votes as possible before the recount,” Green said last week as the Barber campaign filed its lawsuit.
Though Barber’s lawsuit would not have given him the lead if it had been successful, it would have diminished McSally’s edge.
Barber attorney Kevin Hamilton argued in court that the 133 voters were disenfranchised for reasons such as going to the wrong polling place and having their signatures on ballot envelopes ruled invalid. “These voters have been stripped of their right to vote,” Hamilton said.
Full Article: Recount set to begin in Barber-McSally race.