There are currently two remaining lawsuits the Arizona Republican Party is hanging its hopes on to reverse the vote of the citizens of Arizona in the election. This anti-democratic assault on the election results will fail because both lawsuits are going nowhere.
The Arizona Republic reports, Court challenge could delay certification of Maricopa County election results:
An attempt by the Arizona Republican Party to force a new hand count of Maricopa County ballots could throw a wrench into plans to certify election results by Friday, according to county attorneys.
The lawsuit, one of two pending challenges to Arizona’s election results, alleges county officials violated state law when they conducted a hand count audit based on vote centers instead of precincts.
The results of the vote center audit, which had bipartisan oversight, matched electronic counts exactly. But the GOP wants a new, precinct-based hand count — even though state statutes defer to the secretary of state’s election manual when it comes to vote centers.
In a preliminary Maricopa County Superior Court hearing Monday, Joseph La Rue, a lawyer for Maricopa County, said he’s not sure a precinct-based audit is feasible at all, let alone within the tight time frame.
Arizona counties have until Nov. 23 to complete their canvasses and submit final vote tallies to Secretary of State Katie Hobbs.
“Our ballots are not separated by precinct. They’re in bags by vote centers,” LaRue told Judge John Hannah. He said officials would have to open those bags and somehow sort them by precinct before starting a new audit if the court orders it.
“Whether … it’s possible to do it or not, that I can’t say for certain,” LaRue said. “But I can represent with certainty that this would be a time-consuming process for the county and will not be completed before the canvass, which is going to take place this week.”
Hannah opted to set a hearing for Wednesday at 3:15 p.m. to allow both sides to present fuller arguments. Two intervenors, the Secretary of State’s Office and Arizona Democratic Party, also will participate.
The outcome of Wednesday’s hearing will determine whether county election officials can proceed with the canvass as planned.
The Arizona Mirror adds, Judge will decide whether to delay Maricopa canvass in AZGOP election challenge:
At a hearing on Monday morning, Deputy County Attorney Joseph LaRue said it may not even be possible for the county to sort the ballots by precinct. Each vote center’s ballots are bagged together, and election officials would have to sort through each bag in an attempt to find every ballot that corresponds to designated precincts. Even if it’s possible, he said, it would be extremely time-consuming, and would likely extend beyond the statutory deadline for the canvass.
LaRue said the county plans to certify its canvass on Thursday or Friday; the deadline for counties to complete their canvasses is Monday. LaRue noted that any delay in Maricopa County’s canvass could delay the state canvass, which the secretary of state must complete by Nov. 30. And any delay at the state level could affect the scheduled meeting of the Electoral College on Dec. 14.
This is the anti-democratic Trump campaign scheme: delay certification of the vote before the Electoral College, and have Republican state legislatures appoint a slate of Trump electors, overriding the results of the election in states that went for Joe Biden. It doesn’t work this way: electors must represent the winner of the popular vote, by state law. A scheme to hand Trump electors in state legislatures is highly unlikely to happen. “Leaders of the Republican majorities in legislatures in key states, including Pennsylvania, Michigan, Arizona and Georgia, told The New York Times this week through their offices that they saw no role for themselves in picking electors.”
“If the audit takes place after the canvass, I’m not sure what the point would be,” LaRue said.
If the county plans to go ahead with its canvass later in the week, attorney Jack Wilenchik, who represents the AZGOP, said he’ll ask the judge for an injunction to postpone it.
The @AZGOP has filed a request for a preliminary injunction asking Judge Hannah to block Maricopa County from certifying its election results while it seeks a court order that the county conduct its limited hand count by precinct instead of by voting center.
— Jeremy Duda (@jeremyduda) November 17, 2020
Attorneys for the county and for the Secretary of State’s Office raised a number of problems with the AZGOP’s case. The county has asked Hannah to dismiss the case based on those alleged deficiencies.
In a motion to dismiss its attorneys filed Monday morning, Maricopa County said it complied with the law by conducting a hand count of ballots from 2% of vote centers. According to the 2019 edition of the election procedures manual issued by Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, “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.”
The manual has the force of state law, and statute makes it a class 2 misdemeanor to violate any rule adopted in that manual. The statute requiring the limited hand count of ballots from 2 percent of precincts and 1 percent of early ballots also states that those counts must be performed in accordance with the election procedures manual.
Roopali Desai, an attorney representing the Secretary of State’s Office, noted that the AZGOP hasn’t challenged the authority of the election procedures manual, which she described as a procedural defect in the case. In the party’s initial complaint, it argued that the statute conflicts with the manual’s instructions on hand counts based on precincts, but didn’t address the authority that state law grants to the manual.
The county also argued that Hannah should dismiss the case because the AZGOP waited too long to bring it. Maricopa County not only used vote centers as the basis for its hand count for the August primary election, but the county Republican Party, which is legally a subgroup of the state GOP, participated in that process. State law requires the participation of county political parties for the hand count to move forward.
The manual’s provision allowing counties to substitute vote centers for precincts isn’t new. Hobbs issued the original draft of her manual in August of 2019. And previous iterations issued in 2012 and 2014 contained similar provisions.
Desai said mandating that Maricopa County use precincts instead of vote centers could also raise problems under the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution because other counties that also used vote centers for their hand counts aren’t part of the case. According to the county’s motion to dismiss, Cochise, Greenlee and Yavapai counties hand counted ballots from vote centers instead of precincts.
Separate claim involves 2 voters
Another preliminary hearing was held Monday for the other election-related lawsuit, which involves two Arizona voters.
One of them, Laurie Aguilera, is the same plaintiff who filed a now defunct suit against the county over the use of Sharpies on Election Day.
According to her attorney, Alexander Kolodin, when Aguilera went to vote, the tabulator did not display any confirmation that her ballot was accepted, as it had for her husband’s ballot. According to the lawsuit, when Aguilera requested a new ballot, poll workers refused to provide her one.
She was therefore concerned her ballot hadn’t been counted. There is no way Maricopa County can confirm it was, Kolodin says, since election officials have no way to isolate a specific voter’s ballot after the fact.
Kolodin also contends the other voter, Donovan Drobina, was denied a count “via a fully automated and perfect process” because his ballot had to go through an additional layer of review.
The group is asking a judge to allow Aguilera to cast a new ballot and to open the electronic adjudication process to the public going forward. Electronic adjudication machines help isolate errors on ballots so election officials can correct them, assuming a voter’s intent is clear.
Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Margaret Mahoney set an evidentiary hearing for Friday.
Attorneys for the county have asked her to dismiss the case.
Some Arizona Republicans have also alleged without evidence that the election in Maricopa County was flawed, asserting baseless conspiracy theories involving Dominion Voting Systems, which provides the ballot tabulation machines and software that the county uses to count votes.
In a public letter, 59 top specialists called the president’s fraud assertions “unsubstantiated” and “technically incoherent.” Election Security Experts Contradict Trump’s Voting Claims:
Fifty-nine of the country’s top computer scientists and election security experts rebuked President Trump’s baseless claims of voter fraud and hacking on Monday, writing that such assertions are “unsubstantiated or are technically incoherent.”
The rebuttal, in a letter to be published on various websites, did not mention Mr. Trump by name but amounted to another forceful corrective to the torrents of disinformation that he has posted on Twitter.
“Anyone asserting that a U.S. election was ‘rigged’ is making an extraordinary claim, one that must be supported by persuasive and verifiable evidence,” the scientists wrote. In the absence of evidence, they added, it is “simply speculation.”
“To our collective knowledge, no credible evidence has been put forth that supports a conclusion that the 2020 election outcome in any state has been altered through technical compromise,” they wrote.
The letter followed a similarly strong rebuttal of the president’s claims last week by the Elections Infrastructure Government Coordinating Council, which includes top officials from the Department of Homeland Security’s cybersecurity agency, the U.S. Election Assistance Commission, and secretaries of state and state election directors from around the country.
In a joint statement on Thursday, that group declared that the 2020 election “was the most secure in American history” and that “there is no evidence” any voting systems had been compromised.
And yet … The Republic reports:
Meanwhile, lawmakers have continued to try to insert themselves into the process.
Last week, Republican U.S. Reps. Andy Biggs, Paul Gosar and David Schweikert sent a letter to the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors requesting a “100 percent audit of ballots cast to allow tabulators to review ballot images and compare the results to current totals.”
They did not, however, identify any problems with the election in Maricopa County.
Senate President Karen Fann, R-Prescott, similarly called for the secretary of state to allow for an unspecified independent analysis of the election results.
Secretary of State Katie Hobbs said the request was unfounded and maintained that “there is no ‘current controversy’ regarding elections in Arizona, outside of theories floated by those seeking to undermine our democratic process for political gain.”
State Rep. Kelly Townsend, R-Mesa, said earlier this month the courts should order an audit of overvoted ballots, and suggested the governor should call a special session for the Legislature to order this if the courts do not.
The Legislature is technically responsible for deciding how the state’s electoral college votes are cast. [She is, of course, wrong.]
But they have already passed laws requiring electors to cast their votes for the presidential candidate who wins the most votes. The Legislature does not appoint the electors, either. It has delegated that job to the chairs of the state parties.
While some observers have suggested Republican-controlled Legislatures around the country could appoint electors who would vote for Trump, attorneys at the Arizona Legislature recently issued an opinion stating that lawmakers here would have to change existing laws to change how electors are appointed.
“The Legislative Council also advises that the Legislature cannot change the 2020 election results through changing the statutory selection process for presidential electors,” said Mike Philipsen, director of communications for the Senate Republicans.
The prion disease of the QAnon conspiracy cult that infects Republican elected leaders in Arizona trickles down to their rank and file county leadership as well. GOP county chairs urge Ducey to call special session to order an audit of the machinery used to count ballots. But only in Maricopa County.
At least one Republican, however, has shown the courage to stand up and call bullshit on all these wild conspiracy theories from his fellow Republicans. Clint Hickman, who chairs the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, assures election integrity, says it’s time to ‘dial back the rhetoric’:
A Republican elected leader in Maricopa County is calling on people to “dial back the rhetoric, rumors and false claims” regarding the integrity of this month’s election after coming under pressure from others in his party to conduct a recount.
There is no evidence of fraud, misconduct or malfunction, Clint Hickman, chairman of the County Board of Supervisors, said in a letter addressed to voters on Tuesday.
“We asked, and continue to ask critical questions of county staff and none of these theories have proven true or raised the possibility the outcome of the election would be different,” Hickman wrote.
The supervisors play a role in overseeing smooth elections, and certify the county’s election results.
“No matter how you voted, this election was administered with integrity, transparency and in accordance with state laws.” Hickman wrote.
The letter comes as the county supervisors face pressure from some Republican congressmen, and as an Arizona Republican Party lawsuit seeks another hand audit of votes.
Hickman’s letter outlines steps the county has taken, many of which are required under state law, to ensure that all votes are counted accurately.
From Maricopa County Board of Supervisors Chairman @ClintLHickman, a Republican: “More than 2 million ballots were cast in Maricopa County and there is no evidence of fraud or misconduct or malfunction.” pic.twitter.com/KmlMPZvqzJ
— Jeremy Duda (@jeremyduda) November 18, 2020
The Board of Supervisors is a Republican-controlled body. The supervisors recently approved the purchase of the new Dominion ballot tabulation machines that were used in this election.
The supervisors recently took back responsibility to help oversee elections. Normally, that was a task left to just the county recorder. Now, the supervisors oversee Election Day voting.
“The evidence overwhelmingly shows the system used in Maricopa County is accurate and provided voters with a reliable election,” Hickman wrote.
The Arizona Republican Party is effectively alleging a grand conspiracy theory which necessarily implicates Republican supervisors in Maricopa County. Sooo, Republicans “stole” an election from themselves – that’s your theory?
The courts should dispose of these frivolous lawsuits quickly. And I hope that the courts will sanction these Arizona GOP attorneys and their clients for filing these frivolous lawsuits without merit, solely for the purpose of delaying certification of the vote as part of the Trump campaign’s cockamamie scheme to have the legislature appoint Trump electors to the Electoral College.