FILE - Maricopa County Superior Court building in Phoenix

Maricopa County Superior Court building in Phoenix

(The Center Square) – A Maricopa County judge denied an attempt by the Republican Party of Arizona to force a recount of ballots.

Judge John R. Hannah delivered the decision Thursday afternoon, not immediately releasing an explanation as to why he denied the attempt to block the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors from certifying the vote canvass.

At issue was that Maricopa County had audited votes by “voting center” instead of by precinct. There were 175 vote centers for the election, compared to 748 precincts. The GOP’s lawsuit insists that state law, which supersedes state elections rules, requires votes to be checked by precinct. Secretary of State Katie Hobbs’ office developed a manual that consolidated precincts into voting centers.

“Here in Arizona, 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 Arizona Republican Party Chairwoman Dr. Kelli Ward Thursday. 

“Arizona voters deserve to have complete trust in their election procedures. They should also have supreme confidence that only legal ballots were counted in the 2020 election. Failure to address their concerns actively harms our state and our nation. Because of this, I stand by my call for a full hand-count audit of our state’s election results.”

Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich, a Republican, said the case had no merit. Hobbs’ office accused the GOP of trying to disrupt the election.

The denial allows county officials to continue their process of canvassing the votes. A lawyer for the county said in a hearing that they plan to finish by Friday, finalizing the counts by the Monday deadline, that they must submit the counts to the Arizona Secretary of State. She has until Nov. 30 to finalize the canvass. That would also allow Sen.-elect Mark Kelly to assume office and finish the final two years of John McCain’s term.

Had the GOP succeeded, it would have put a hold on the vote finalization process while the county began the arduous process of recounting ballots by precinct. 

The previous audits conducted by voting centers found no errors, though the Republican representative refused to sign off on the authentication of the process.

Staff Reporter

Cole Lauterbach reports on Illinois and Arizona government and statewide issues for The Center Square. He has produced radio shows for stations in Central Illinois and created award-winning programs for Comcast SportsNet Chicago.