GOP Candidate's Election Challenge in Arizona AG Race Receives New Life Following Ballot Review


An Arizona judge has ordered oral arguments for next month in Republican Abe Hamadeh’s election challenge of Democrat Kris Mayes’ win in the state’s attorney general race.

Mayes defeated Hamadeh by just 280 votes of the more than 2.5 million cast in November’s midterm election, Arizona Capitol Times reported.

Following the certification of Mayes as the winner in December by 511 votes, a mandatory hand recount in Pinal County, southeast of Phoenix, determined 507 ballots had not been counted due to vote tabulator machine and human error.

Prior to this discovery, Superior Court Judge Lee Jantzen had ruled against Hamadeh concluding the evidence he presented did not “overcome the presumption that the election was done correctly,” The Hill reported.

After the revelation of uncounted ballots in Pinal County, Hamadeh’s legal team and the Republican National Committee submitted a motion for retrial.

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“Contestants simply ask that we be given the opportunity to apply the Pinal County process across the board to conduct a physical inspection and hand count of ballots that — if the Pinal County issue repeats itself anywhere else in the State — could be outcome determinative in this election,” the motion read.

Jantzen set a May 16 hearing date for oral arguments regarding a new trial.

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Hamadeh and the RNC want the judge to allow full inspection of all the ballots, which is a request he denied in December prior to the discovery in Pinal County.

Hamadeh attorney Tim La Sota argued that tabulator problems in Maricopa County (home to over 60 percent of Arizona’s voters) likely created a similar issue that was seen in Pinal County.

“It all comes down to what was found in Pinal County during that hand recount. That process found voters who marked their choices with an ‘X’ or a slash through the chosen candidates. Those marks, however, were not recognized by the automatic tallying equipment. But the hand review was able to determine each voter’s intent,” Arizona Capitol Times reported.

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La Sota also noted there were approximately 90,000 so-called “undervotes” in the AG’s race statewide, meaning people voted for other candidates on the ballot, but not in his client’s contest.

The same undervote phenomena happened in the races for governor and secretary of state involving Election Day ballots, when Republicans outvoted Democrats by better than a 2-to-1 ratio.

Arizona Free News further noted there are roughly 8,000 provisional ballots statewide that have not been counted. These ballots were also cast on Election Day, which favors Republican candidates.

“We have more votes than Kris Mayes. It’s up to the courts to decide to count them,” Hamadeh said.

“Recent analysis of uncounted provisional ballots in November’s attorney general race make a compelling case that Abe Hamadeh received more legal votes than Kris Mayes,” according to Arizona Free News.

Hamadeh stated that his legal team is awaiting data from multiple counties, which he believes will further strengthen his case that he is the rightful winner.

“As more data comes in, it’s getting worse for the government and looking better for us,” he said.

It would not be unprecedented in Arizona history if Hamadeh and/or GOP gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake were to be declared the winners in their race months after their opponents took office.

In 1916, Republican Thomas E. Campbell was the certified winner over Democrat incumbent Gov. George W. P. Hunt by 30 votes; however, after a review of the ballots, the Arizona Supreme Court declared Hunt won.

Campbell had served nearly a year in office before the final ruling against him came down.

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