Arizona Judge Throws Out GOP Lawsuit Trying To Undo Election Results

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An Arizona judge has dismissed a lawsuit from a failed Republican Congressional primary candidate who sought to block the certification of this year’s general election results for several statewide races, including contests for governor and Secretary of State, the latter of which in Arizona is equivalent in part to the lieutenant governor position elsewhere.

Josh Barnett, the plaintiff, predictably singled out Maricopa County, where problems on Election Day with printing and scanning ballots led to administrative difficulties and allegations of disproportionate impacts on Republicans. There remains no evidence of any kind of intentional conspiracy underlying the problems that were seen, and although Barnett spoke dismissively of the secured bins made available for voters to drop their ballots for further tabulation, “Door 3” — as it’s known — has been in use since the 1990s, county authorities indicated. The back-up process wasn’t new. Central tabulation (rather than tabulation via scanning devices at polling places) is also already regularly in use in other Arizona counties. Barnett also had more general allegations about this year’s elections, including that there was a so-called “abnormal increase” in inactive voters listed in registration records ahead of Election Day.

When “asked by the Court at oral argument what the “heart” of his Complaint was, Plaintiff responded that the General Election had been illegally run and everything was broken,” the judge observed in ordering the case dismissed. Among other issues, the judge found Barnett had improperly wavered from the legal standards for bringing election challenges. As of his lawsuit, the state-level certification of this year’s results hadn’t happened, so even strictly referencing statutes governing election challenges wouldn’t have been enough, because that’s evidently required before proceeding. A lawsuit from failed Republican candidate for attorney general Abe Hamadeh was recently dismissed on similar grounds, although Hamadeh’s race is going to an automatic recount because of the close margin. Some of those involved in pushing back on Arizona’s elections this year have called for new elections to be held, which appeared to also be part of Barnett’s case, which named the Secretary of State among its defendants.

Hamadeh raised multiple allegations evidently without even trying to point to a single example of the supposed issue in his own race this year. He argued, for instance, unscannable ballots were improperly duplicated (which precedes their machine tabulation) — and cited data from 2020, assuming it also applied in this instance. Kari Lake, this year’s failed GOP pick for governor in Arizona, recently saw her lawyers in a pre-election case sanctioned over arguments for a hand count of ballots instead of the usage of machine tabulators. It was apparently concerns about the certification of election machines that led Cochise County board members in Arizona to recently delay finalizing their canvass of county results from this year until doing so under court order after an Arizona judge asserted that the certification responsibilities weren’t discretionary.