Dispute over Attorney General’s Race Could Prevent New Official from Being Named

Abe Hamadeh, the Republican Nominee for Attorney, has said he wants to see every vote cast in the Arizona 2022 General Election and filedlawsuit against the State of Arizona to ensure that happens.

“Errors in our elections shouldn’t be treated as trivial. I want every legal voter who showed up on Election Day to have their voice heard – regardless how they voted,” Hamadeh said.

However, as reported by Tucson.com, there may be issues with transferring power at the Attorney General’s Office (AGO). Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Randall Warner asked the parties involved in the case to share their perspectives on the timing of this lawsuit. Dan Barr, an attorney representing the Democrat nominee in this race, Kris Mayes, said Hamadeh’s lawsuit came too soon. Hamadeh and the Republican National Committee (RNC) filed their lawsuit on November 22nd, but Barr argued that claims made in the complaint could not be brought before the court prior to the formal canvass or certification of votes, which is currently set for December 5th. Kory Langhofer, the attorney representing Hamadeh, asserted that the case was not brought up too early because it involves the possibility of some voters being disenfranchised in the election, which are concerns that should be addressed before this race goes to an automatic recount.

Hamadeh currently trails his opponent by 510 votes, far below the 0.5 percent difference required for a recount under Arizona law.

While Warner did not decide to throw out Hamadeh’s lawsuit, he said he must first determine the validity of Barr’s claim that the suit cannot begin until after the statewide canvass.

Another issue is that Cochise County voted to abstain from certifying its election results until December 2nd. The deadline for counties to certify their results is November 28th, and 14 of Arizona’s 15 counties did so by then. The Cochise County Board of Supervisors (BOS) cited issues seen on Election Day as the reason it has refused to certify results. Prominent Democrat Lawyer Marc Elias shared that a lawsuit has been filed against the county BOS for refusing to canvass the election results.

Andy Gaona, an attorney representing the Arizona Secretary of State’s Office, told Warner that Cochise County’s decision to abstain could delay the official statewide canvass, which could then delay the recount. Should the recount of this race not be completed by January 3rd, it could result in a situation where neither takes office until the issue is resolved. In this situation, current Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich (R) would retain his position even after his term officially ends.

Langford told Warner that Hamadeh’s case should be heard now to avoid a situation like this from occurring. Another court hearing for this case was set for later this week.

As for Hamadeh’s lawsuit, The Arizona Sun Times previously reported that it primarily focuses on voters not being correctly “checked out” of one voting center to vote at another.

On Election Day, printers across Maricopa County were not printing ballots correctly, which led to the on-site tabulators rejecting those ballots. Voters were given the option to wait for a solution, use a handicap voting device, place their ballot in “Door 3,” or check out of their current location and vote somewhere else. However, the plaintiffs argued that some voters were not properly checked out and were counted as voting in the county system despite not casting anything. The plaintiffs stated the total number of voters disenfranchised in this way may be greater than the 520 Hamadeh currently trails by. Therefore, they asked that the court prevent the Secretary of State from declaring a winner in this race until those voters can get counted.

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Neil Jones is a reporter for The Arizona Sun Times and The Star News Network. Follow Neil on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Abraham Hamadeh” by Abraham Hamadeh. Background Photo “Arizona Capitol” by Gage Skidmore. CC BY-SA 2.0.


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