PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- A Maricopa County Superior Court judge has dismissed the Arizona Republican Party's petition to require a hand-count audit at the precinct level.
On Thursday, Judge John Hannah Jr. threw out the lawsuit after hearing arguments from lawyers representing the AZGOP, the plaintiffs, and lawyers representing defendants Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, Maricopa County Recorder Adrian Fontes, the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, and the Arizona Democratic Party.
On Wednesday, Maricopa county officials and representatives from all three political parties completed the final check for the general election's internal post-election accuracy test.
Completed the final check on the #GeneralElection: our internal post election accuracy test. It was a 100% match. All 3 political parties were present as well as a representative from the Arizona Attorney General’s Office. Up next is the official canvass! https://t.co/wQ4QkJzxHh pic.twitter.com/c3gngWshld— Maricopa County Elections Department (@MaricopaVote) November 19, 2020
More than half of all counties in Arizona have conducted post-election audits and found eith…
The AZGOP filed the lawsuit claiming that for the 2020 general election, a number of polling places were converted into "vote centers" across the state where people from any precinct could vote.
The party says the new procedures in place because of COVID-19 resulted in there being only 175 vote centers in the state, despite there being 748 precincts. The party supported a hand count audit by precinct in order to potentially get a more precise sampling of votes.
AZGOP Chairwoman Kelli Ward released the following statement after the judge's ruling:
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.
Aside from dismissing the complaint, Judge John Hannah Jr. also denied the AZGOP's request for an injunction to prevent the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors from certifying the election results and issuing the official canvass. The judge also ordered that the Secretary of State may file a motion to pursue legal fees against the Arizona Republican Party.
“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,” said Ward.
The Arizona Biden Campaign also released a statement on today's ruling:
This lawsuit was frivolous and rightfully dismissed. Arizona’s election was well-run and transparent, and far-right fringes of the Arizona Republican Party should stop trying to undermine Arizonans’ faith in free and fair elections. This ruling is a win for Arizonans who turned out in record numbers this fall. It’s time for Governor Ducey and others to move forward and recognize the will of the voters, given the pressing issues Arizona is facing with COVID-19.
On the one hand, the governor said, "We can trust our elections here in Arizona." But minutes later, he said, "There are questions and those questions should be answered."
Secretary of State Katie Hobbs issued her statement on Twitter regarding the dismissal of the complaint.
"Another frivolous lawsuit has failed. Elections officials ran this election and counted the votes in accordance with Arizona law. It’s time to stand up for the truth," tweeted Hobbs.