PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- The Republican Party in Maricopa, Apache, Navajo and Yuma counties have teamed up to sue outgoing Secretary of State Michelle Reagan and the recorders in all 15 of Arizona’s counties.
According to the complaint, the groups are challenging the method by which signatures are verified on early ballots that were dropped off in person at polling places on Election Day.
"A uniform and impartial adherence to the law is vital to public confidence in the Arizona electoral system and its outcomes," reads the complaint. "By implementing and enforcing disparate deadlines by which Arizona voters may rehabilitate an early ballot deemed facially deficient, the State's 15 County Recorders (the "County Recorders" or "Defendants") are undermining the constitutional guarantee that all Arizonans are entitled to cast a ballot on equal terms, irrespective of their geographic location within the state. This Court should require all County Recorders to enforce an equivalent deadline to ensure that Arizona voters across the state receive an equal opportunity to vote in the November 6, 2018 general election."
About three-quarters of Arizona voters cast ballots by mail. But many ballots known as “late earlies” arrive in the mail on Election Day, in the few days leading up to it or are hand delivered by the voters themselves. Those ballots can create logjams at the state’s 15 county recorders’ offices where vote counting is conducted.
Maricopa County, which is still tabulating hundreds of thousands of ballots, is expected to post its latest results Thursday at 5 p.m.
With the Arizona’s Senate race between Republican Martha McSally and Democrat Kyrsten Sinema still too close to call, those ballots could be the deciding factor.
At last check Wednesday night, McSally was leading by a slim 17,000-vote margin.
It could be several days – even weeks – before the race can been called.
The complaint, which was filed Wednesday, singles out the state’s two biggest urban counties, which are the base of Sinema’s support.
Maricopa Country Recorder Adrian Fontes tweeted a two-word response to news of the suit at 9:20 Wednesday night.
"Bring it," he posted.
The lawsuit asks a judge to prevent the county officials from counting certain ballots that were delivered with signature issues. It’s unclear how many of those ballots exist.
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There is a hearing on the suit scheduled in Maricopa County Superior Court Friday morning.
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Bring it. https://t.co/Z81phtDGue— Adrian Fontes (@Adrian_Fontes) November 8, 2018
This guy gets it... https://t.co/dc6fdbXVTE— Adrian Fontes (@Adrian_Fontes) November 8, 2018
Emergency voting is an effort to help more Arizonans cast ballots, and one that has been in place for years in counties across our state. Elected officials in our state need to stand up and make sure every Arizonan’s ballot is counted. Do what’s right-count every vote.— Grant Woods (@GrantWoods) November 7, 2018
The county recorders
- Apache County - Edison Wauneka
- Cochise County - David Stevens
- Coconino County - Patty Hansen
- Gila County - Sadie Jo Bingham
- Graham County - Wendy John
- Greenlee County - Berta Manuz
- La Paz County - Shelly Baker
- Maricopa County - Adrian Fontes
- Mohave County - Kristi Blair
- Navajo County - Doris Clark
- Pima County - F. Ann Rodriguez
- Pinal County - Virgina Ross
- Santa Cruz County - Suzanne Sainz
- Yavapai County - Leslie Hoffman
- Yuma - Robyn Stallworth Pouquette