A Maricopa County Superior Court judge on Thursday will weigh claims that some poll workers “incorrectly rejected” votes cast in person on Election Day. We’ll keep the post-election updates coming.
Follow along for news throughout the day from Arizona Republic reporters.
SEE WHO WON: Arizona election results
4:45 p.m.: Counties’ hand audits of ballots find no or minor discrepancies
All counties that have conducted required hand-count audits of a sample of their ballots found no or minor discrepancies, county audit reports submitted to the state show.
The audits, required by Arizona law, check a sample of ballots to ensure tabulation equipment is accurate. The audit process involves members of each political party.
In Maricopa County, the audit found no discrepancies between the machine counts and hand count. No discrepancies were found by the audits in Coconino, Greenlee, Navajo or Yavapai counties either, the Arizona Secretary of State’s office shows.
Minor discrepancies, within the acceptable margin set by state law, were found in Cochise, Pima and Pinal counties, the Secretary of State’s website shows. An acceptable margin for the 2020 general election, according to the Secretary of State’s office, is five votes or 2%, whichever is greater, for early ballots, and three votes or 1%, whichever is greater, for polling place ballots.
In Gila County, an audit wasn’t performed because the county chair of the Republican Party didn’t designate members for the count. In Yuma County, neither the Republican nor Libertarian parties designated members for the count, so one wasn’t performed. In La Paz County, county chairs of two political parties didn’t designate members, so the audit wasn’t conducted.
Apache, Graham, Mohave and Santa Cruz counties have not yet sent audit results to the state.
— Rachel Leingang
Cindy McCain, the widow of the late six-term Sen. John McCain, said she was overjoyed that Democrat Joe Biden flipped Arizona blue and called on Arizonans and Americans to more broadly accept the results.
McCain, who endorsed Biden, her family’s longtime friend and her husband’s former colleague, said in a statement that Arizonans “should accept the results and get on with the healing we need.” As of 11:30 a.m. Thursday, Biden was leading Trump by 11,537 votes. The Associated Press and various TV networks have called the race for Biden.
She said in a statement that the nation “needed a new direction to heal the wounds caused by the outgoing administration,” without mentioning President Donald Trump by name. She said it was critical that Biden be given access to intelligence briefings and other information critical to transitioning into power.
A short time later, she told The Arizona Republic she attributed part of Biden’s performance in Arizona to women dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic and its fallout at the front lines: the moms, grandmothers, teachers and daughters who are helping to care and teach family members.
“We deal with not just the pandemic, but we deal with the fallout with the pandemic with our children and our families.” she said. “I think women were the big driver here, even conservative women that had never voted for a Democrat before, really saw what was occurring and knew that we needed something different and so took that step across party lines with me and have elected a new president as a result of it.”
— Yvonne Wingett Sanchez
A Maricopa County Superior Court judge on Thursday began reviewing claims that some poll workers “incorrectly rejected” votes cast in person on Election Day.
But before attorneys could make their opening statements, a controversy emerged over part of the evidence submitted by a lawyer representing the president’s campaign.
President Donald Trump’s reelection team, along with the Republican National Committee and the Arizona Republican Party, filed a lawsuit Saturday alleging Maricopa County poll workers disregarded procedures designed to give voters a chance to correct ballot mistakes on Election Day.
The original complaint included signed declarations from a few voters and poll workers, and plaintiffs solicited several additional declarations at donttouchthegreenbutton.com. Attorneys representing Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, one of the election officials being sued, moved to have those declarations tossed out Wednesday, arguing they lacked “any guarantee of trustworthiness.”
On Thursday, Trump attorney Kory Langhofer acknowledged some of the declarations collected through the site were not legitimate but noted those entries had been removed. His team cross-referenced the remaining declarations to ensure voters were where they said they were on Election Day and in a position to witness the alleged misconduct, he said.
Judge Daniel Kiley appeared unconvinced, however, and granted the motion to exclude the declarations collected online.
“The fact that your process for obtaining these affidavits yielded affidavits that you yourself found to be false does not support a finding that this process generates reliable evidence,” Kiley said. “This is concerning.”
During the opening statements that followed, Langhofer argued some apparent “overvotes” — which happen when voters mark or appear to mark more options than allowed in a particular race — were mishandled and did not receive the additional manual review to which they were entitled. That may have led to legitimate votes not being counted, he said, noting 950 overvotes affecting partisan races were in question.
Attorney Roopali Desai, representing Hobbs, countered that plaintiffs’ concern wasn’t really about overvotes. The lawsuit represents an attempt “to undermine the integrity and credibility of election,” she said.
Thomas Liddy, a lawyer for Maricopa County, agreed, contending the plaintiffs’ “allegation of systematic error or stealing the election is a direct insult” to election officials who worked to ensure smooth, fair, accurate election in Arizona during the COVID-19 pandemic. And he said just 191 of the 166,875 ballots cast in person in Maricopa County on Election Day included potential overvotes in the presidential race.
Langhofer insisted that plaintiffs were “not alleging fraud” or “alleging that anyone is stealing the election.”
“The allegation here is that, in what appears to be a limited number of cases, there were good-faith errors in operating machines that should result in further review,” he said.
That marked a shift in tone from the prehearing brief Langhofer had filed, in which he claimed the “haphazard differential treatment of similarly situated ballots cast w/in the same geographic jurisdiction in the same election encapsulates precisely the discriminatory disenfranchisement the Equal Privileges & Immunities Clause proscribes.”
Just as witness interviews began, the public access line for the hearing went down. Kiley opted to move up the lunch recess to give the court a chance to get it fixed.
The hearing was set to resume at 12:30 p.m.
— Maria Polletta
Rae Chornenky, the chair of the Maricopa County Republican Party, has resigned from her position after Democrats called her out for skipping a meeting ahead of the election where the county’s ballot tabulation machines were tested.
Chornenky, an attorney backed by the state’s more establishment Republicans, had long clashed with the further-right-leaning figures within the state’s Republican Party.
Calls for her to step down started after Maricopa County Democratic Party chair Stephen Slugocki reminded the public in a Twitter post that in October she had not attended a logic and accuracy test of election equipment.
That equipment — new ballot tabulators from Dominion Voting Systems — are at the center of claims about software glitches that some Republicans have asserted changed votes from President Donald Trump to Democrat Joe Biden. There is no credible evidence that happened.
— Yvonne Wingett Sanchez
Stephen Richer will be Maricopa County’s new county recorder.
Current Recorder Adrian Fontes conceded in a Twitter post on Thursday morning.
“I’ve called @Richer4Recorder to congratulate him, and will be welcoming Maricopa’s 30th Recorder with a personal tour of our facilities next week. #ProtectDemocracy,” he wrote.
Fontes had served in his role, which helps the county’s Board of Supervisors oversee elections, since 2016.
The latest results from Wednesday night show Richer with 4,652 more votes than Fontes, out of more than 2 million. Fontes initially had a wide lead over Richer, but the lead diminished as more results came in, until Saturday when Richer took the lead.
There are less than 7,000 outstanding ballots to be counted in the county.
— Jen Fifield
President Donald Trump suggested an electoral comeback in Arizona on Thursday that overlooks the state’s tabulation history and the remoteness of his chances.
In a tweet that pointed to The Arizona Republic’s online political coverage, Trump said that with the state’s narrowing margin and an audit of votes “we will easily win Arizona also!”
Unofficial results in Arizona show Trump losing to President-elect Joe Biden in Arizona by 11,635 votes. He would need about 74% of the 24,738 ballots left to tabulate statewide, in order to surpass Biden and win the state’s 11 Electoral College votes.
“From 200,000 votes to less than 10,000 votes. If we can audit the total votes cast, we will easily win Arizona also!” he wrote.
The president’s optimism in Arizona is almost certainly misplaced.
He has closed the gap in Arizona as counties counted ballots that had been mailed in or dropped off just before Election Day, and conservative strongholds such as Yavapai and Mohave counties reported more results. But it overlooks the overall trajectory of the results and the dwindling number of uncounted ballots.
— Ronald J. Hansen
A Maricopa County Superior Court judge on Thursday will weigh claims that some poll workers “incorrectly rejected” votes cast in person on Election Day, possibly affecting final vote tallies.
The evidentiary hearing — expedited, given its potential to affect election results — will begin at 9:30 a.m. Oral arguments will follow.
The hearing is virtual, and the public can listen in by calling 866-952-8437 and using access code 753-804-125.
— Maria Polletta
Maricopa County has cast a historic number of votes in this general election.
Updated results through Wednesday evening show 2,084,993 voters cast a ballot, which represents about 80.34% of eligible voters.
Three days after the election, the county already had counted 2 million ballots, according to an update from the county Elections Department. In 2016, it took 10 days to count 1.6 million ballots. In 2018, it took 14 days to count 1.4 million ballots.
The county will report additional results on Thursday and expects to complete counting all ballots this week. The results are official once they are canvassed by the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors.
TUCSON — More Latinos and voters from other communities of color showed up to the polls in Arizona during this year’s presidential election than ever before, with record-breaking turnout that heavily favored Democrats and helped tip the scales in turning the state blue for the first time in nearly three decades, a progressive coalition said Wednesday.
A week past the election, officials are still counting votes in parts of Arizona. But an early analysis of precinct-level data and demographics by the coalition showed that turnout among Latino voters — who make up one in four voters in Arizona — as well as Black and Native American voters in the state increased significantly this year, compared with past presidential elections.
Mi AZ, a coalition of five progressive community and advocacy organizations that led a massive field campaign statewide in Arizona by targeting Latinos and other voters of color, released the findings of its early analysis Wednesday.
Among the highlights, nearly 73% percent of Latino voters in key Latino-majority precincts in Arizona chose President-elect Joe Biden over incumbent Republican President Donald Trump. In those precincts, Latino voter turnout rose by as much as 20 percentage points compared with 2016, according to Mi AZ.
That’s the equivalent of 37,000 additional votes for Biden, the coalition said. For comparison, fewer than 12,000 total votes separated Biden from Trump as of Wednesday in the ongoing counting of ballots in Arizona.
— Rafael Carranza
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