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Judge dismisses Arizona GOP hand-count lawsuit

Republican Party wanted Maricopa County to recount ballots based on precinct

PHOENIX, Ariz. (KYMA, KECY) - A Maricopa County Superior Court judge has dismissed a lawsuit filed by the Arizona Republican Party requesting a hand-count audit of ballots from the November 3rd General Election.

A switch in polling procedures inspired the suit. This was the first year Maricopa County used "vote centers" instead of precincts. In the past, voters had to report to a specific polling place within their precinct. The new model allows voters to cast their ballots wherever it's most convenient for them.

Hand count audits are used to check the accuracy of tabulation machines. They're not mandatory, but they are helpful. Each political party assigns a number of representatives to to compare a manual count of ballots done by volunteers to the count completed by tabulation machines.

Maricopa County reported a 100% match after auditing four vote centers. The audit was completed by groups from the Republican, Democratic and Libertarian parties.

The Arizona GOP wanted the audit redone on the basis of precinct. The County opposed the recount, saying it was an unnecessary tax payer expense. Attorneys also said it could cause the county to miss its results filing deadline.

In the end, the judge agreed with Maricopa County and dismissed the Republican party's lawsuit.

State chairwoman Kelly Ward released this statement after the ruling:

Kelli Ward

“This election has been fraught with tension as voters were forced to adjust to new election procedures put in place because of COVID-19, as well as organized efforts by Democrats across the country, which helped lead to a wildly different voting process than in years past. Here in Arizona, we have identified problems in our own process where the will of a Democrat Secretary of State is being substituted for the black letter law passed by the State Legislature. 

Our most recent lawsuit sought judicial clarification on the question of whether the Secretary of State’s Elections Procedures Manual would be allowed to supersede state statute. Unfortunately, this ruling instead makes clear to Arizonans that they must ensure that this issue is addressed with new legislation that clearly outlines the parameters in which the Secretary can and cannot impose their own interpretation of our laws in the future.

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. Failure to address their concerns actively harms our state and our nation. Because of this, I stand by my call for a full hand-count audit of our state’s election results.”

-Statement from Kelli Ward, Arizona Republican Party Chairwoman

Secretary of State Katie Hobbs tweeted her reaction to the ruling:

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Lisa Sturgis

Lisa Sturgis recently returned to KYMA as its Digital Content Director, but she and her family have a long history in the Desert Southwest.

Brandon Mejia

Brandon Mejia joins the news team as the evening anchor for KSWT. You can catch him weeknight at 6 and 10 p.m.


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