PHOENIX — A judge on Thursday removed the last legal hurdle to certifying the results of the election and handing the state’s 11 electoral votes to Joe Biden.

Maricopa County Superior Court Judge John Hannah denied the request by the Arizona Republican Party to block county supervisors from conducting a formal “canvass’’ to certify the votes. That clears the way for board action as early as Friday.

More to the point, Hannah summarily granted a bid by county supervisors to toss the entire case, a request that was joined by Secretary of State Katie Hobbs and the Arizona Democratic Party.

State GOP spokesman Zach Henry would not comment about a possible appeal.

But Thursday’s ruling is not the end of the debate about who won in Arizona.

At a press conference Thursday, Trump campaign attorney Rudy Giuliani promised a new major lawsuit in Arizona as well as one in the battleground state of Georgia, claiming to have “hundreds’’ of affidavits proving election fraud but declining to show them to reporters.

And state Rep. Mark Finchem, R-Oro Valley, counting on such a new lawsuit, is using that as a trigger to seek a special legislative session. He said the U.S. Constitution gives lawmakers to call themselves into session to look at voting in federal elections if there is evidence available -- even from what has been filed in court -- that there was fraud.

Separately, Senate President Karen Fann, R-Prescott, announced that the GOP caucus is setting up a special email account “to gather documented proof of voting irregularities in the 2020 general election in Arizona.’’

Fann had previously said she wanted a look at what happened this year as a starting point for a future review of state election laws. Now, however, the Senate president wants these complaints by Nov. 27 -- three days before the date set to formally “canvass’’ and certify the vote tally.

But Fann told Capitol Media Services it is not her intent to affect the canvass. Instead, she said, any credible information gathered would be passed along to the secretary of state or the attorney general.

And she dismissed the idea of a special session, saying it isn’t practical -- or legal.

Finchem is working on a slightly different time line.

Federal law says that all disputes over presidential elections at the state level have to be resolved by Dec. 8. And the electors then cast their ballots six days later.

Finchem said if a legislative probe finds no evidence of fraud, that clears the way for those electors to vote according to the will of the majority as shown by the election returns. Unofficial returns show Biden beat Trump by about 10,500 votes.

But Finchem said if a majority of the Republican-controlled legislature concludes that there was so much fraud as to make the results unreliable, they could block electors from casting their ballots for any candidate.

That, in and of itself, would not help Trump who, based on the latest numbers, has 306 electoral votes -- including 11 from Arizona. He needs just 270 to win.

But it could prove crucial depending on possible legal -- or legislative -- action in other states.

In tossing the state GOP lawsuit, Hannah did not provide an immediate explanation for his ruling, promising more detail later. But he clearly indicated that he believes the lawsuit had no merit.

Hannah told Hobbs she can seek to recoup the legal fees she incurred in having to hire outside counsel to fight the lawsuit by the Republicans. And that is specifically based on a provision in Arizona law that requires judges to assess legal fees when someone files a claim “without substantial justification.’’

Despite the ruling, GOP officials insist they are correct in their interpretation of the law -- and the relief they sought -- to require that there be a sampling of ballots for hand count from 2% of all voting precincts.

“We have identified problems in our own process where the will of a Democrat secretary of state is being substituted for the black letter law passed by the state legislature,’’ said Kelli Ward, who chairs the state GOP, in a prepared statement.

That is based on the fact that Arizona law requires there be an audit of voting through a hand count of ballots taken from 2% of the precincts.

But it was the Republican-controlled legislature that allowed counties to set up centralized “vote centers’’ instead where any individual from any precinct can cast a ballot. Six counties do that.

And that same law specifically gives the secretary of state the power to enact rules allowing audit samples to be drawn by vote centers and not individual precincts. Those rules, in turn, were approved by Gov. Doug Ducey and Attorney General Mark Brnovich, both Republicans.

Ward, however, maintains that something more needs to be done to verify the election results -- and that Biden beat Trump -- and to show that “only legal ballots were counted in the 2020 election.’’

2
0
0
0
0

(10) comments

simon1dog

Shishka: Expert at plagiarism along with copy & paste.

BigBob

Still with this "Shishka" person? Who in the hell is "Shishka?"

simon1dog

This pennyante judge will be overruled. You Republican hating Democrats just watch. That's a fact, Jack :-)

BigBob

Poor little, simon. His gummy addiction has led him to living in an alternative universe where nothing he says makes any sense whatsoever. And that, Jack, is a fact.

HavasuGuy

ARIZONA REPUBLIC: OPINION EDITORIAL FRIDAY 11/20

This opinion piece is co-authored by the following former elected leaders, most of which are Republicans:

Judith Allen, former clerk, Maricopa County Superior Court

Daniel Barker, Ret. former judge, Arizona Court of Appeals

Rebecca Berch, former chief justice, Arizona Supreme Court

Jennifer J. Burns, former Arizona State representative

Sam Campana, former mayor of Scottsdale

Heather Carter, former Arizona state senator

Deb Gullett, former Arizona state representative

Wes Gullett, former chief of staff to Arizona Gov. Fife Symington

Hugh Hallman, former Mayor of Tempe

Pete Hershberger, former Arizona state representative

Jim Kolbe, former U.S. representative for Arizona

Jerry Lewis, former Arizona state senator

Steve May, former Arizona state representative

Kris Mayes, former chairman, Arizona Corporation Commission

Peggy Neely, former vice mayor, Phoenix

Scott O’Connor, former Paradise Valley councilmember

Robin Shaw, former Arizona state representative

Roberta Voss, former Arizona state representative

Grant Woods, former Arizona attorney general

Bob Worsley, former Arizona state

Senator

The American people have elected Joe Biden and Kamala Harris the next President and Vice President of the United States. They were elected with 306 electoral votes – including Arizona’s 11 – far more than the minimum 270 to be elected. But the work of governing the country does not begin for Biden and Harris when they are sworn in on January 20, 2021.

As former Republican office holders here in Arizona, we can tell you that transitioning into government that effectively serves its citizens starts the moment the campaign ends. No one let us wait for the results to be certified. We immediately got to work in our respective offices by meeting with staff and getting up to speed on issues we would be handling so that we could be most productive for our constituents. If we had waited until the day we were sworn in to do these things we would have been wandering in the dark rather than doing the work we were elected to do. We just elected all 90 of our state legislators, and though their races have yet to be certified, they are already at work at the state Capitol preparing for a new legislative session.

Now that the election for president has been independently called for Joe Biden, it is imperative that the Administrator of the General Services Administration ascertains Joe Biden and Kamala Harris to be the President-elect and Vice President-elect. For the past 60 years since Congress passed the Presidential Transition Act to ensure a smooth and orderly transfer of power, the GSA Administrator has usually ascertained the apparent winner within 24 hours of the election. By passing the Presidential Transition Act, Congress has acknowledged how critical this period is for the safety and well-being of the country.

Once GSA makes an ascertainment, the executive branch is required to provide critical services to the transition team to ensure the smooth transfer of power to the next administration so the next administration is ready to govern on day one. We are facing unprecedented crises as a country. The COVID-19 pandemic is raging, and we can’t afford to wait any longer for the next administration to prepare to take office and begin the hard work of addressing this problem and uniting the American people in the cause of the virus’s defeat. Delayed ascertainment additionally endangers our national security by not allowing the incoming administration to receive classified intelligence briefings on the threats to our country. In a post-9/11 world, this is a serious misstep we cannot allow, which is why several current and former national security officials of both political parties have called for the transition to begin immediately.

The GSA Administrator has never been prevented in 60 years from ascertaining the result of the presidential election because of recounts or refusals by one candidate to concede. The GSA has never waited for formal certification of results by the states either.

Not all of us voted for the Biden-Harris ticket. We won’t agree with every decision they make. But the election is over, the results are clear and the time to heal from our partisan divisions and allow our President-elect and Vice President-elect the chance to effectively govern starts now. That begins with the ascertainment of the election and we call on the Administrator of the GSA to do so immediately.

BigBob

HG, thank you for sharing that. Now the usual fools will whine about your cut 'n' paste. [thumbup][thumbup]

HavasuGuy

tRUMP said there would be losing, big beautiful losing, everyone is telling him about the losing. It will be the biggest losing in history!

tRUMP lost, get over it...

BigBob

And the Republicans lose again! [beam]

Dawn King

Many people are saying, Bob, that all the ‘uncounted’ twumpy votes can be found in a ditch in BENGGHAAZZI!

BigBob

Dawn - [wink]

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.