A judge on Tuesday threw out a challenge to the results of Arizona’s problematic presidential primary despite evidence that there were glitches in the election. Maricopa County Superior Court Judge David Gass ruled that a Tucson man challenging the results hadn’t proven fraud and hadn’t shown long lines in Maricopa County or registration problems statewide with the election would have changed the results. “I’m going to find that as a matter of law…plaintiff just hasn’t met their burden,” Gass said. “To prove fraud, it’s clear and convincing evidence. It’s an incredibly high burden. And it’s a burden that’s very difficult to prove.” The ruling came at the close of two days of testimony. Gass noted that while there were problems with the election, throwing out the results would mean that more than 1 million people who voted in the March 22 primary would be disenfranchised. “I can’t find that one, there were illegal votes and two…I can’t find it would have made a difference in the outcome of the election,” he said. “The election would have been the same.”
After two days of testimony, a Maricopa County Superior Court judge dismissed a lawsuit filed to invalidate the March Arizona presidential preference election. The suit was filed against Secretary of State Michele Reagan and every Arizona county by attorney Michael Kielsky on behalf of a Tucson man named John Brakey, who says his occupation is “election integrity activist.” In their pleadings, they alleged that voter-registration requests were mishandled and the number of polling places in Maricopa County was improperly cut. Hearings Monday and Tuesday were to determine if there was legal cause to go forward with trial. The state and the counties countered that the complaint was neither timely nor adequately prepared. And they questioned whether election law applied to presidential preference elections. Judge David Gass took the matter under advisement but allowed the evidentiary hearing to go forward.
Voters dismayed with Arizona’s problematic presidential primary voiced frustrations with long lines and registration issues Monday during a hearing for a court challenge to have the election results thrown out. Testimony came in the wake of the March 22 election where Arizona’s most populous county drastically cut polling places. The move emboldened Tucson resident John Brakey, elections integrity activist to sue Arizona Secretary of State Michele Reagan and all 15 counties. In a courtroom packed with elections officials and onlookers, voters described waiting in long lines and arguing with elections about problems with their party affiliation. “The judge is going to have to extrapolate and see how that is a representative example of the variety of similar things that happened to people,” said Michael Kielsky, Brakey’s attorney.
For all those Arizonans out there worried about voter suppression during the presidential preference vote, rest assured that a local activist with a history of taking on problematic elections is trying to get to the bottom of what happened here. John Brakey, co-founder of AUDIT-AZ (Americans United for Democracy, Integrity, and Transparency in Elections) filed a lawsuit in Maricopa County Superior Court against election officials, both accusing them of misconduct and demanding a partial recount of ballots. As New Times has written previously, Maricopa County’s attempt to save money by drastically cutting the number of polling stations for the March 22 election totally backfired. Thousands waited more than two hours to vote – some as long as five hours – and the lines at some polling stations still were wrapped around the block as the first results trickled in at 8 p.m.