Judge denies Arizona GOP request seeking Maricopa County ballot audit by precinct

Arizona Republicans suffered a legal defeat on Thursday following a lawsuit that sought to postpone the certification of election results in the state until a new hand count of ballots had been conducted.

A superior court judge dismissed the Arizona GOP’s petition for the hand count of votes in Maricopa County to be done by precinct rather than by voting center, Breitbart reported.

“A fundamental difference”

Last week, the Arizona Republican Party petitioned that a recount in Maricopa County be done by precincts, arguing that election officials’ hand-count audit based on voting centers, open to any voter in the county, was a violation of state law.

“There is a fundamental difference between sampling ‘polling centers’ and ‘precincts,’ most notable being the fact that there were only around 175 voting centers in this election but there were 748 precincts,” the Arizona GOP said in a statement announcing the legal challenge.

“Hand counting by precinct would therefore potentially result in a more precise sampling of votes,” the statement continued.

According to Arizona Republican Party Chair Dr. Kelli Ward, the court should provide clarity regarding whether state statute should take precedence over the Elections Procedures Manual overseen by Arizona’s Democratic Secretary of State Katie Hobbs.

“The fact of the matter is, we have to determine whether state statute as it exists is actually supreme to a manual written by a member of the executive branch,” Ward said. “So we are asking that that be clarified and that lawsuit is going forward.”

Petition dismissed

On Thursday, Maricopa County Superior Court Judge John Hannah denied the Arizona GOP’s petition.

Although Hannah did not provide an explanation for his ruling, he prohibited the party from refiling the suit.

Ward responded to the decision with a statement on Friday. It read in part:

Our most recent lawsuit sought judicial clarification on the question of whether the Secretary of State’s Elections Procedures Manual would be allowed to supersede state statute. Unfortunately, this ruling instead makes clear to Arizonans that they must ensure that this issue is addressed with new legislation that clearly outlines the parameters in which the Secretary can and cannot impose their own interpretation of our laws in the future.

Ward said that she stands by her “call for a full hand-count audit of our state’s election results.”

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