Arizona Republicans Could Pursue A Legal Battle Over A Handful Of Phoenix-Area Ballots, Lawyer Says

by | Nov 9, 2022 | Politics

With key races in Arizona still undecided, there’s a dramatic legal conflict brewing over a small number of ballots that could end up playing a significant role in deciding some of the state’s (and the country’s) most important elections, including for the U.S. Senate, governor and secretary of state. The dispute arose Tuesday as dozens of voting centers across Maricopa County — home to Phoenix and the majority of Arizona’s population — experienced printing errors: The ink was not dark enough on some ballots, resulting in voting tabulators failing to properly read the ink and spitting out the ballots without counting them. AdvertisementVoters who ran into printing trouble had options. They could drop their uncounted ballots in a secure box attached to the tabulators, to be collected and counted at a central processing facility later; some 17,000 ballots were dropped in these boxes, known as “Box 3,” according to the county. Or they could “check out” of their polling place, leave, and try another polling place where the tabulators might have better luck reading the splotchy ballots. But Arizona Republicans have spent years spreading lies about election fraud in Maricopa County, and particularly about the dangers of using drop boxes, which led some voters to try their luck at another polling place. In Arizona, voters aren’t assigned a single voting site and have multiple options within their county.Here’s the rub: In an unsuccessful lawsuit Tuesday evening seeking to extend voting for three hours, the national Republican Party and several candidates claimed that some poll workers failed to properly “check out” voters who opted to try a different polling place. As a result, when they arrived at the second polling place, the suit alleged, “these individuals remained inaccurately recorded in e-pollbooks as having already voted, and were either (a) required to vote using provisional ballots that will not be counted or (b) denied an opportunity to cast either a regular or provisional ballot.” There were 7,000 provisional ballots total in Maricopa County — fewer than were issued in 2020, VoteBeat’s Jen Fifield noted. But Republicans could pursue legal action if the margin in an important race is smaller than that, arguing that the number of voters affected by the alleged “check out” issue could potentially change the election results, one Republican attorney said. “We’re working with the county to determine how many votes are in this bucket, and if it has a potential effect on the outcome of the election, we’ll go back to court and make sure that those voters are treated fairly,” Kory Langhofer, an attorney for Republican Blake Masters’ Senate campaign, told HuffPost.Advertisement“If it has a potential effect on the outcome of the election, we’ll go back to court and make sure that those voters are …

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