Court challenge could delay certification of Maricopa County election results

Election workers process absentee ballots at State Farm Arena in Atlanta, Nov. 4, 2020./ Aura Melton/The New York Times

By Maria Polletta, Andrew Oxford | Arizona Republic

An attempt by the Arizona Republican Party to force a new hand count of Maricopa County ballots could throw a wrench into the planned certification of election results by Friday, according to county attorneys.

The lawsuit, one of two pending challenges to Arizona’s election results, alleges county officials violated state law when they conducted a hand count audit based on vote centers instead of precincts.

The results of the vote center audit, which had bipartisan oversight, matched electronic counts exactly. But the GOP wants a new, precinct-based hand count — even though state statutes defer to the secretary of state’s election manual when it comes to vote centers.

In a preliminary Maricopa County Superior Court hearing Monday, Joseph La Rue, a lawyer for Maricopa County, said he’s not sure a precinct-based audit is feasible at all, let alone within the tight time frame.

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