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Arizona AG candidate Abe Hamadeh sues election officials

PHEONIX, AZ, November 23, 2022—Republican attorney general candidate Abraham “Abe” Hamadeh and the Republican National Committee (RNC) on Tuesday filed a lawsuit in Maricopa County Superior Court against his Democrat opponent Kris Mayes, Secretary of State Katie Hobbs and Recorders and Board of Supervisors in all 15 counties within Arizona, alleging “errors and inaccuracies in the management of some polling place operations, and in the processing and tabulation of some ballots” in the 2022 Midterm General Election.

According to azCentral, both the Mayes campaign and Maricopa County officials declined to comment. The lawsuit was filed by attorneys Kory Langhofer and Thomas Basile of Statecraft and Timothy A. La Sota, PLC, both located in Phoenix, AZ. Below is a copy of the filing in its entirety. The lawsuit comes days after an official letter from the Office of the Arizona Attorney General was released demanding a plethora of election information from Maricopa County officials relating to voting machine problems on Election Day.

In a news release, Hamadeh said, “The voters of Arizona demand answers and deserve transparency about the gross incompetence and mismanagement of the General Election by certain election officials. Pervasive errors by our election officials resulted in the disenfranchisement of countless Arizonans who had their voices silenced. Arizonans deserve to have an election system that is transparent and fair and right now we have neither. Today’s challenge is the only way to provide accountability and restore confidence in our broken election system.”

As of Tuesday, November 22, Hamadeh trails his opponent Mayes by 510 votes (or 0.02%) after a total of 2,508,714 votes have been counted according to the Arizona Secretary of State website. Per state law, a recount will commence after the December 5th certification of election results.

The lawsuit is also requesting an injunction “prohibiting the Secretary of State from declaring” either candidate “elected to the office of Arizona Attorney General” or from issuing “a certificate of election” until the grievances in the lawsuit are addressed.

As a precaution in the event, Secretary of State Katie Hobbs refuses to recognize Hamadeh as the winner of the Attorney General election if the vote recount is in his favor, the suit further requires “the Secretary of State to declare Contestant Abraham Hamadeh elected to the office of Arizona Attorney General and to issue to Contestant a certificate of election.”

Arizona election
Republican candidate Abe Hamadeh speaking at an event. Source: Facebook page The Kari Lake.

In the 65-page complaint, it alleges election board misconduct, erroneous vote counts, ballot duplication errors, adjudication errors up to 15%, and legally insufficient early ballots (mismatch ballot signatures).

Erroneous Vote Counts and Election Board Misconduct: Wrongful Exclusion of Provisional Voters, Wrongful Disqualification of Provisional and Early Ballots

Across Maricopa County, numerous qualified voters checked in at a voting center but did not either check out or cast a ballot. This pervasive and systematic error directly and proximately resulted in three recurring scenarios in which qualified electors were unlawfully and unconstitutionally disenfranchised.

  1. At least 146 voters who were not properly “checked out” at their initial polling location and who later presented at a different polling location were required to vote using provisional ballots, which will not be counted because the elector was erroneously recorded in the e-pollbook as having already voted.
  2. At least 273 voters who were not properly checked out at their initial polling location and who later deposited a completed early ballot at the same or a different voting center had their early ballots voided and not tabulated because the elector was erroneously recorded in the e-pollbook as having already voted.
  3. Upon information and belief, a material number of voters who were not properly checked out at their initial polling location and who later presented at a different polling location were denied an opportunity to cast a provisional ballot at all, in violation of Arizona law. A.R.S. § 16 584.

The lawsuit alleges that poll workers across Maricopa County refused or failed to check out voters who had their ballots rejected by malfunctioning electronic tabulation devices. By inducing voters to leave polling locations and then denying—through a consistent and erroneous practice of failing to properly implement “check -out” procedures—these qualified voters their right to duly cast a ballot for tabulation, the Maricopa County Defendants engaged (through their election boards) in cognizable “misconduct,” and wrongfully excluded valid and legally sufficient votes from the canvass in the race for Arizona Attorney General. See A.R.S. 16-672 (A)(1),(A)(5).

Erroneous Vote Counts: Ballot Duplication Errors

In the 2020 general election for presidential electors, Ballot Duplication Boards in Maricopa County—individuals responsible for transposing a voter’s indicated electoral selections from damaged or defective ballots—erroneously transposed at least 0.37% of ballots designated for duplication.

The lawsuit alleges a similar or greater proportion of ballots designated for duplication in the November 8, 2022, general election have been erroneously transposed, thereby resulting in the unlawful mistabulation of a ballot lawfully cast by a voter.

Illegal Votes and Erroneous Vote Counts: Electronic Adjudication Errors

Up to 15% (or 375,000) of the approximately 2.5 million ballots cast in the November 8, 2022, general election in Maricopa County have been referred to electronic adjudication. Additionally, an observer of the ballot adjudication process reported that tabulation and electronic adjudication equipment was unable to clearly capture the ballot markings made by some voters.

The lawsuit alleges that elections officials have not undertaken a manual inspection of such ballots and therefore have failed to correctly tabulate the votes marked on ballots.

Illegal Votes: Unverified Early Ballot Affidavit Signatures

The lawsuit alleges that the County Recorder or Recorder’s designee allowed early ballots to be processed and accepted for tabulation where the affidavit signature did not match the voter’s legal “registration record.” Therefore, it is requesting these early ballots accompanied by uncured affidavit signatures that do not match the signature on the putative voter’s registration record are not to be tabulated because they are legally insufficient.

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