Arizona Republican Party chair Kelli Ward asserts fake electors only meant as failsafe

Arizona GOP senate candidate Kelli Ward, with husband Michael Ward by her side, concedes the primary in a speech to supporters at an election night event on August 28, 2018 in Scottsdale.

By Richard Ruelas || The Arizona Republic

The chair of Arizona’s Republican Party, according to a court filing, became part of an alternate slate of presidential electors, sending documents falsely asserting herself and others as such to Congress, only as a failsafe should the certified results be overturned.

Attorneys for Kelli Ward, the head of the Republican Party since 2019, said in the filing that the 11 Republicans, including Ward and her husband, Michael, gathered in December 2020 to cast votes for then-President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence “in the event that the legal challenges to the Arizona results succeeded.”

However, the documents that she and the other electors signed and sent by certified mail to the U.S. Senate and National Archives made no mention of legal challenges. The document falsely asserted that the 11 Republicans were the “duly elected and qualified” presidential electors, with no conditional language.

In a December 2020 email obtained by the New York Times, an attorney involved with the scheme quoted Ward as fearing the action may amount to treason.

Further, weeks after meeting and casting their votes, Ward and the other non-elected and qualified electors filed a lawsuit against Pence asking the U.S. Supreme Court to declare that Pence had the power to decide to count their electoral votes and disregard those that reflected the 2020 general election victory in Arizona of President Joe Biden.

Lawsuit fights to exclude Ward’s phone records

The document filed Monday was part of a lawsuit Ward and her husband filed against the Select Congressional Committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021 riot at the U.S. Capitol. That committee had sought Ward’s phone records from Election Day 2020 through the day of the riot, which occurred on the day Congress met to open the official electoral votes from the states and count them.

Ward and her husband filed a lawsuit asking a federal judge to block the subpoena from the committee.

In the filing, Ward’s attorneys said that turning over the logs of calls to Ward’s phone would have a chilling affect on the First Amendment rights of Republicans.

It would expose anyone who spoke to Ward to an inquiry from Congressional investigators or a knock on the door from FBI agents, the filing said, noting a parallel criminal investigation into the post-election activities of those in Trump’s circle.

“Public participation in politics is the life blood of our democracy,” the filing reads. “The criminalization of political activity, if not carefully constrained by the courts, will force legitimate political actors from the field.”

Anyone who called Ward “will become implicated in the largest criminal investigation in U.S. history solely by virtue of the fact that they were in contact with the party Chair,” the filing reads.

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