How Arizona’s gubernatorial race will end in the courtroom | Media Pyro

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A A day after the polls closed, the Arizona governor’s race remained close, with Democrat Katie Hobbs and Republican Kari Lake waiting for hundreds of thousands of votes to be counted. But now that the last batch of votes have been counted, a legal battle is imminent in the days and weeks ahead.

It is clear that the Lake is ready to take legal action for the election, possibly for the counting of votes and the monitoring of that process, according to sources familiar with the matter. A member of Lake’s legal team who asked not to be named told TIME that “the subject of the lawsuit” may include “counting the votes and monitoring the count.” They won’t say if any special suits are planned now.

The move could focus on the final batch of ballots—the roughly 275,000 mail-in ballots cast in person on Election Day—that would be counted Thursday and published later that evening.

“We’ve said from the beginning that this is going to be a tough race,” Nicole DeMont, program director for the Hobbs program, said in a statement. “Every Arizonan deserves to have their vote counted and their voice heard, and in the coming days we will continue to watch these results to make sure that happens.”

As of Wednesday afternoon, Hobbs, the Arizona Secretary of State, was leading Lake by less than 13,000 votes with nearly 70% of the votes counted. Hobbs took the lead Tuesday night after winning early mail-in ballots by 14 percent. Lake closes the gap in his leadership with voters who cast ballots in person on Election Day.

That leaves 275,000 ballots from Arizonans who voted absentee but cast their ballots on Election Day or received ballots by mail on Election Day. An Arizona election official familiar with the matter who asked not to be named because they were not authorized to comment on the governor’s race was expected to split the vote among Democrats, Independents, and Republicans.

However, Arizona Republicans are banking on the Lakeside vote. They say many Republicans were on the ballot after 2020 but were unwilling to mail in their ballots or vote early. It’s a situation that will remain the legacy of former President Donald Trump’s vote-by-mail campaign as he claims fraud, although there is no substantial evidence to support that claim, he was adamant about it. two years ago, as many states expanded mail-in voting to be conducted. elections in the epidemic.

The Hobbs campaign notified its supporters Wednesday that it was beginning a process to reach out to Arizonans who voted absentee but then received notice that their ballots will not be processed until one is completed. crisis, which is called the “recovery process” in electoral discourse.

A Hobbs campaign spokesperson confirmed to TIME that the Elias Law group, a firm in Washington DC is owned by the Democratic Party’s Electoral College.

Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs speaks to supporters at an election night viewing event at the Renaissance Phoenix Downtown Hotel on November 08, 2022 in Phoenix.  (Christian Petersen—Getty Images)

Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs speaks to supporters at an election night viewing event at the Renaissance Phoenix Downtown Hotel on November 08, 2022 in Phoenix.

Christian Petersen—Getty Images

“Because single votes matter, and every single vote counts the same—whether you voted by mail, dropped your ballot yesterday, or voted in person,” said the project Hobbs wrote in an email to supporters on Wednesday. “That’s why we’re shifting our focus to election therapy—reaching out to voters who may have had trouble with their ballots—to make sure every voice is heard in this race.”

An Arizona election official explained that this is a common method of counting votes. This usually applies to voters who forgot to include a signature on their ballot or made a mistake such as signing a spouse’s ballot instead of their own. These errors are caused by the signature verification technology used to ensure that the signature on the ballot matches the voter registration signature.

In Arizona, observers are allowed into the room for medical procedures to ensure trust in the system. The Lake project has indicated that they are prepared to send lawyers to observe the process—and may take legal action if they see something they don’t like.

Before the election, the Party raised $2 million to build and staff an election week “War Room” to monitor election activity and count votes, and file a lawsuit at the drop of a hat, according to a commanding officer. This effort included 40 attorneys in a conference room at a Scottsdale hotel, and a team of what the program calls “lawyers” deployed to polling places and vote counting centers throughout the country. a week.

“This is the strongest Election Day and post-election performance Arizona has ever seen,” Brady Smith, Lake’s senior political strategist, told TIME.

Funding for the operation, according to Smith, came from a number of sources, including the Lake campaign, the Republican National Committee, the Arizona Republican Party, the National Republican Senate Committee, and Republican Senate candidate Blake Masters’ campaign.

Lake and Masters have been vocal in questioning the integrity of the 2020 election, including President Joe Biden’s victory in Arizona, despite numerous investigations that have found no evidence of fraud.

The War Room team created channels for voters to report irregularities, including a hotline and an online portal that allows users to sign online pledges. Lake promoted the site on his social media in the days leading up to the election.

“They are all being used, and our attorneys are quick to address issues and concerns as they arise,” Smith said.

Both the Lake and Masters campaigns joined the RNC in a lawsuit filed in Maricopa County District Court on Tuesday to delay voting there in response to concerns that about 20% of the voting machines were used to check the votes at the polling stations in the morning. By noon, county officials said they had discovered the problem. The judge rejected the GOP’s request, saying it was because voters were unable to cast ballots and have those ballots counted. In 2016, the Arizona Democratic Party filed a similar lawsuit to delay voting, which was also denied.

Read more: Problems With Some Arizona Voting Machines Embrace Right-Wing Ideas

A Lake command law source said that if the numbers are close, they may ask for a manual count instead of using a machine, noting that hand counts can produce different results.

Arizona’s election official did not dispute that the machine count and hand count could have resulted in different final vote tallies, but said the difference was more likely. They also emphasized that machines can be more accurate and less prone to human error.

But if the remaining polls turn out as Lake campaign leaders hope and expect, they may be less likely to fight the law. “Wow,” Lake said tweeted Wednesday evening. “We will win big. Stay still.”

More election coverage from TIME


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