Two Arizona Prosecutors Fight over Gov. Katie Hobbs Investigation amid Conflict of Interest Concerns

Arizona Attorney General Kris Mayes, Maricopa County Attorney Rachel Mitchell, and Gov. Katie Hobbs (composite image)

by Natalia Mittelstadt   Two Arizona prosecutors are conducting independent investigations into Gov. Katie Hobbs (D) regarding an alleged pay-to-play scheme, with both accusing the other of having a conflict of interest. Arizona Attorney General Kris Mayes (D) and Maricopa County Attorney Rachel Mitchell (R) are both investigating Hobbs for alleged criminal conduct, but each are telling the other prosecutor to stand down from their investigation because of potentially improper motivations. Last Friday, Mayes opened a criminal probe into corruption allegations involving Hobbs and donations from a group home business. Mayes notified the state legislature that she had received a criminal referral from a GOP lawmaker involving allegations with Sunshine Residential Homes. “The Criminal Division of the Attorney General’s Office is statutorily authorized to investigate the allegations and offenses outlined in your letter. To that end, the Attorney General’s Office will be opening an investigation,” Mayes wrote. The announcement came after The Arizona Republic reported that the group home business that cares for vulnerable children was approved for a 60% rate hike after it donated about $400,000 to Hobb’s inauguration and the state Democratic Party. Sunshine requested the rate hike to address financial hardships amid the COVID-19 pandemic and inflation, the newspaper…

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Maricopa County Pays Down Pension Liabilities

Maricopa County Board of Supervisors

Maricopa County is taking a victory lap for taking steps toward wiping out some pension debt in this year’s budget.

The Public Safety Personnel Retirement System and Corrections Officer Retirement Plan, which is used for law enforcement when they retire, will have $500 million sent its way for “unfunded pension liabilities.” This came after a vote in which every member of the Board of Supervisors agreed to tackle the debt.

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Arizona A.G. Mayes Warns Against ‘Parallel Investigations’ in Hobbs Group Home Debacle

Arizona A.G. Kris Mayes, Gov. Katie Hobbs

Attorney General Kris Mayes is asking Maricopa County Attorney Rachel Mitchell to take a step back from possibly investigating an alleged “pay for play” scheme involving Gov. Katie Hobbs and Sunshine Residential Homes.

Mayes’ criminal division has an investigation open, but the Auditor General’s Office and Mitchell are also coordinating a possible investigation after the auditor general reached out to Mitchell’s office. 

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Arizona AG Opens Criminal Probe into Corruption Allegations Tied to Gov. Katie Hobbs

Arizona Governor Katie Hobbs

Arizona’s top law enforcement official has opened a criminal probe into corruption allegations involving Democrat Gov. Katie Hobbs and donations from a group home business.

Attorney General Kris Mayes notified the Legislature that she had received a criminal referral from a GOP lawmaker involving allegations with Sunshine Residential Homes and had agreed to open a probe.

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Maricopa County Homeless Population Sees Small Decline

Homeless Camp

The annual point-in-time count of homeless conducted by the Maricopa Association of Governments presented stabilized news for the county.

The count that took place in January 2024 determined that there are 9,435 people who are experiencing homelessness in the county, 57% of which are sheltered and 43% are unsheltered. This figure was a 2% decline from 2023, which marked 9,642 people as homeless. When broken down, there was a 17% decline from 2023 in unsheltered and a 13% increase in those who were sheltered.

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Maricopa County and Arizona Secretary of State Censored 2020 Election Audit Hearing, Elected Officials

Katie Hobbs and Facebook

The Arizona secretary of state’s office and Maricopa County worked together to censor information about the state’s 2020 election audit of the county and reported elected officials’ posts to social media companies.

Maricopa County and the Arizona secretary of state’s office worked together with third parties to censor social media content that they believed was misinformation regarding the 2020 election audit of Maricopa County and election information posted by elected officials, according to public records obtained from both Maricopa County and the Arizona secretary of state by The Gavel Project.

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Maricopa County Passes Tentative Budget with Lower Tax Rate

Maricopa County Budget Taxes

The budget in Maricopa County will presumably go down by 11% in fiscal year 2025.

A decrease in the budget compared with the current fiscal year is largely attributed to less “one-time spending” and a decrease of $32.7 million in retirement costs. In total, the difference between fiscal year 2024 and 2025 was over $493 million. The budget totals at roughly $3.87 billion, with 47.6% going toward public safety and 25,78% going toward health, welfare, and sanitation.

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Election Chaos Threatens Maricopa County Recorder’s Reelection Prospects

Stephen Richer

Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer faces reelection, going up against two primary opponents and a Democratic challenger. Conservatives are furious at his denials that there was significant wrongdoing in the 2020 and 2022 elections, but he may lose reelection based on merely long lines and voting complications, which frustrated voters.

Voters encountered problems casting their ballots at 70 of the 223 vote centers in Maricopa County on Election Day in 2022, resulting in long lines and concerns that ballots were not tabulated or misread.

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Arizona Local Governments, Charities Receive over $54 Million from Biden Administration to Care for Illegal Immigrants

Illegal Immigrants

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced over $54 million in awards last month for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Shelter and Services program to Arizona entities to offset “costs incurred” due to the influx of illegal immigrants into the country.

According to funding awards posted publicly by FEMA last month, two Arizona-based charitable entities, Pima County and Maricopa County will collectively receive $54,573,093 to support illegal immigrants in the 2024 fiscal year.

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During Oral Arguments at the Arizona Court of Appeals in Kari Lake’s Election Lawsuit, Her Attorney Alleged Numerous Lies by Election Official

Kari Lake Hearing

A panel of three Arizona Court of Appeals judges heard oral arguments on Thursday in Kari Lake’s Rule 60(b) appeal of her election lawsuit. Lake’s attorney, Kurt Olsen, alleged that Maricopa County Co-Elections Director Scott Jarrett told numerous lies.

Lake’s team filed the Rule 60(b) motion requesting a second trial based on newly found evidence, but the trial court judge, Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Peter Thompson, greatly limited the scope of her second trial and then ruled against her.

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Republicans’ Voter Registration Edge over Democrats Almost Doubles in Maricopa County, Statewide Increases to Almost Six Percent

Voter Registration

Despite the Democratic wins in Arizona in 2020 and 2022, Republicans have been widening their voter registration edge over Democrats over the past four years. According to data from the Arizona Secretary of State earlier this year, between 2020 and 2024, Republicans increased their lead from approximately three percent to 5.77 percent. In Maricopa County, Republicans increased their lead even more, from four percent to seven percent. 

The change has occurred primarily with Democratic voter registrations; Republican voter registration has remained steady at 35 percent of voters. Statewide, Republicans constitute 35.07 percent of voters, followed by independents at 34.10 percent, then Democrats with 29.30 percent. While Republicans outnumber independents at the state level by almost 40,000 voters, independents outnumber Republicans in Maricopa County by 2,631 voters. 

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Arizona Republican Party Joins Two Other State GOPs Filing an Amicus Curiae Brief in Kari Lake’s and Mark Finchem’s Voting Machine Tabulator Lawsuit

Attorney William Olson

The Arizona Republican Party (AZGOP) submitted a joint Amicus Curiae brief on Thursday with the Georgia Republican Party and the Republican State Committee of Delaware supporting Kari Lake’s and Mark Finchem’s Petition for Certiorari with the U.S. Supreme Court. The pair are appealing the lower courts’ decisions against their lawsuit challenging the use of electronic voting machine tabulators in elections. Under the new leadership of AZGOP Chair Gina Swoboda, who has a lengthy history in election integrity work including heading the Voter Reference Foundation, the AZGOP is heavily focused on election integrity. 

Authored by attorney William J. Olson, the brief argues that the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals erred by dismissing the case claiming Lake and Finchem lacked standing. The court affirmed the trial court’s granting of the defendants’ motion to dismiss, asserting that the pair lacked standing because “speculative allegations that voting machines may be hackable are insufficient to establish an injury in fact under Article III.” The complaint emphasized that the lower courts “conflated standing with merits, twisting the standing rules to require much more — that the complaint prove facts sufficient to grant relief.” 

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Kari Lake and Mark Finchem File New Brief with U.S. Supreme Court in Voting Machine Tabulator Case After Defendants Fail to Respond

Kari Lake Mark Finchem

Kari Lake and Mark Finchem filed a Supplemental Brief with the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday, adding support for their Petition for Writ of Certiorari and Motion to Expedite asking the court to hear an appeal of the dismissal of their lawsuit to stop the use of electronic voting machine tabulators in elections. The defendant Arizona officials failed to file a response to the pair’s petition, boosting the chances SCOTUS might accept the case and implying they did not object to the statements in the petition. 

The new brief added more allegations of false representations by Maricopa County officials. It said the courts relied on their false representations when they dismissed and affirmed their case, sanctioning the pair’s lawyers. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals held that the plaintiffs’ injuries were “too speculative” for Article III, which requires showing of an injury. The brief said the court based this determination “in part on false representations that Maricopa County performed required preelection logic and accuracy (‘L&A’) testing and used certified and approved voting system software.” The court “expressly relied on false representations that Maricopa’s elections were protected from manipulation.”

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Maricopa County Elections Official Stephen Richer Wants to Use AI in Arizona Elections

Stephen Richer

Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer wants a private contractor to use artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to optimize his office, according to an online advertisement seeking contractors.

The web listing, made on behalf of the Maricopa County Recorder’s Office, reveals Richer “is seeking a contractor to provide a solution to improve processes around document identification, data extraction, and comparing handwritten signature images with on-file signature images by way of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML).”

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Arizona Election Officials Report 2,000 Vote Discrepancy in Recent Primary, Predict Delays in November

People in Line to Vote

Maricopa County executive director Zach Schira claimed on Tuesday that recent changes to the state’s elections as a result of a “landmark” election integrity bill that enjoyed overwhelming support in the Arizona Legislature.

Schira told The Arizona Republic that complying with a provision in HB 2785 which requires election workers to count the number of early ballots at each polling location required an average of 30 to 45 minutes at polling locations across the state for the March 19 presidential preference election.

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State Senate Majority Leader Sonny Borrelli and State Senator Wendy Rogers Announce Felony Cybersecurity Breaches of Arizona’s Electronic Voting Systems

Sonny Borelli

State Senate Majority Leader Sonny Borrelli (R-Lake Havasu) and State Senator Wendy Rogers (R-Flagstaff) held a press conference on Wednesday revealing that a cybersecurity expert discovered that voting machine software used in Maricopa County’s elections in 2020 and 2022 was compromised. Borrelli said “there is probable cause” of a crime, and Maricopa County Attorney Rachel Mitchell has been notified.

Borrelli said, “A few days ago I received documentation and a sworn declaration by a cybersecurity expert that examined the data from the 2020 and 2022 elections, where it has been determined that the data and the equipment had been altered. The Election Assistance Commission never approved this altered software. In Maricopa County’s previous representation that the election software is EAC certified, including to the Arizona Senate, [that was] false [testimony].”

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Third Arizona Educator in Maricopa County Arrested for Sex Offenses Against Students

Alyssa Todd

An educator in Buckeye was arrested on Wednesday was arrested for having an illegal sexual relationship with a minor student, marking the third arrest of a former Maricopa County teacher for sexual offenses against students.

The Buckeye Police Department (BPD) confirmed the arrest Alyssa Todd, who was employed as a coach and teacher at the Odyssey Institute for Advanced and International Studies (OIAIS) High School when police claim she sexually abused a 15-year-old male student.

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Greater Phoenix Area Receives $46.5 Million in Federal Funds for Homeless as Arizona Spending Reportedly Nears $1 Billion

homelessness in Arizona

The Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG) announced last week the federal government awarded over $40 million to supplement programs supporting the homeless. The federal money was announced as state spending on homelessness reportedly nears $1 billion per year.

MAG announced in a press release that “more than $46.5 million in federal funding” will be provided by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to “help fund dozens of local homelessness programs.” The figure is also $10 million higher than the previous year’s federal commitment, MAG explained.

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America First Legal Expands Landmark Election Integrity Case to Yavapai County After Maricopa County Tried to ‘Sabotage’ It

Voting Line

America First Legal (AFL) “expanded a landmark Arizona election integrity case” last week, suing Yavapai County. AFL said in a press release that it withdrew the initial election integrity complaint against Maricopa County election officials due to “Maricopa County’s schemes to sabotage the case,” re-filing it in Yavapai County. The new lawsuit, which is substantially the same as the initial one, added an additional allegation, that during the 2022 elections, at least one voting center in Yavapai County had printer malfunctions that caused long lines. 

James Rogers, America First Legal Senior Counsel, said in a statement, “What is Maricopa County’s response to the legitimate concerns of its citizens? Frivolous procedural motions trying to delay the case and ensure it is not heard on its merits. This voluntary dismissal is not the end of this case, but just the beginning.”

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Almost 200 Voter Registrations in Pima County Canceled for Lacking U.S. Citizenship, New Data Shows

Vote Sign

A new summary by the Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF) found that 186 voter registrants have been “involuntarily purged” for citizenship issues in Pima County, Arizona, since 2021.

The PILF summary, citing records released by Pima County election officials, found that seven individuals within the group of 186 canceled voter registrations had a history of casting ballots across two federal and local elections.

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America First Legal Lawsuit Against Maricopa County Over Election Illegalities Raises Issues Other Judges Previously Found Had Merit in 2020 Election Cases

America First Legal (AFL) filed a lawsuit on Wednesday against Maricopa County, alleging numerous violations of election law since 2020. Some of the issues raised in the complaint were brought up in similar lawsuits brought around the country challenging irregularities in the 2020 election, where judges found they had merit.

The AFL listed eight issues in its complaint, and mainly asked for declaratory judgment to stop the county from repeating the wrongdoing and comply with law. The first was lack of chain of custody for tens of thousands of ballots, a class 2 misdemeanor. The second was failure to conduct reconciliation as required by law, which refers to comparing the number of votes cast at polling centers to the number of voters who checked in. The third was the failure of the voting center printers, disenfranchising voters. The fourth was the racially discriminatory location of vote centers, disadvantaging Native Americans and whites who lived farther from the locations than others. 

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America First Legal Files ‘Landmark Lawsuit’ Against Maricopa County Election Officials over Alleged Violations of Arizona Law

America First Legal (AFL) on Wednesday announced a new “landmark lawsuit” in Arizona against Maricopa County, its board of supervisors, and Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer alleging the county has violated various state election laws since 2020.

AFL’s James Rogers said in a statement that “Maricopa County’s errors, lapses, and mistakes in administering elections have seriously eroded” the “trust that elections are free and fair,” which he noted underpins the “legitimacy of our government.”

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Judge Allows Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer’s Defamation Lawsuit Against Kari Lake for Accusing Him of Election Improprieties to Proceed

A defamation lawsuit that Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer filed against Kari Lake is being allowed to proceed, despite the fact Arizona State University’s Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law  First Amendment Clinic joined Lake in her defense requesting that the lawsuit be dismissed.  Richer’s lawsuit, which is being paid for by the Protect Democracy Project,  accused Lake of falsely stating that he intentionally sabotaged the election. Approximately 300,000 ballots in the 2022 election lacked a chain of custody, a class 2 misdemeanor, but the county has strenuously fought litigation efforts to allow Lake to inspect the ballot affidavit envelopes and other requests from her and voter integrity groups related to the election anomalies.

Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Jay Adleman, who heard oral arguments on Lake’s Motion to Dismiss on December 19, issued his ruling denying the motion that same day. He indicated he already found Lake guilty without putting on a trial first. “In the Court’s view, Defendant Lake’s statements are ‘provably false’ under prevailing Arizona law,” he said.

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New Documentary ‘State of Denial’ Goes Over Election Illegalities in Maricopa County’s 2022 Election, Reveals ‘Intentional Conduct to Sabotage the Election’

State of Denial Arizona

A new documentary released on Wednesday, reveals the full extent of the chaos on Election Day last fall in Maricopa County due to voters unable to feed their ballots into the machines for tabulation. Speropictures released “State of Denial” in a viewing hosted by We the People AZ Alliance (WPAA) at Pollack Cinemas in Tempe, which is now available free online. The documentary interviewed the key people involved with figuring out how the problem arose, and why nothing happened in the courts to rectify it.

WPAA, which is working with the Kari Lake campaign, posted the documentary on X, along with the statement, “The movie of what the government knows, but will never admit. Kari faces defamation charges for telling the truth, while Scott Jarrett, Stephen Richer and Bill Gates continue to gaslight and lie to the public.”

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‘Far-Left’ Maricopa County Judge ‘Predictably’ Refuses to Allow Kari Lake to Inspect Ballot Affidavit Envelopes

Judge John Hannah

Maricopa County Superior Court Judge John Hannah issued a ruling Wednesday denying Kari Lake’s special action that requested to inspect the ballot affidavit envelopes, or the electronic images of those envelopes, from Maricopa County’s 2022 general election. The recorder’s office denied Lake’s initial public records request for the affidavits because they contained voters’ signatures, so she sued the county. During the September trial, Hannah refused to allow most of Lake’s witnesses to testify or her exhibits into evidence.

Shelby Busch, the co-founder of We the People AZ Alliance, which has been investigating illegal election activities for the Lake campaign, told The Arizona Sun Times, “Judge Hannah’s decision was predictably bad. Denying Kari the ability to put forward witnesses, testimony or even a rebuttal to the County is further evidence that he is a far-left Judge trying to legislate from the bench. This is the people’s election and denying them the right to inspect public records is further confirmation that protecting the corrupt institution is their primary goal. Journalists everywhere should be outraged, this is a huge miscarriage to public transparency and accountability, but how many of them will step up?”

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New Brief Filed in Kari Lake’s Election Challenge Alleges Maricopa County ‘Lied’ About the 2022 Logic and Accuracy Testing and ‘A Plan to Rig the Election’

Kari Lake filed a reply brief in her election case appeal with the Arizona Court of Appeals on Tuesday. It accused Maricopa County of rigging the 2022 election, and said the county admitted wrongdoing in its answering brief. Her appeal is asking to overturn the lower court’s ruling rejecting her Rule 60(b) motion, which asked to consider new evidence that had arisen since the trial. A Rule 60(b) motion asks the court for relief from an entry or judgment, which the trial court refused to grant after her trial.

Drafted by attorney Bryan Blehm and signed also by Lake’s attorney Kurt Olsen, the summary in the introduction stated, “In its Answering Brief, Maricopa makes demonstrably false or misleading arguments to distract the Court from the evidence and admissions showing that Maricopa blatantly violated Arizona election laws, falsely certified it conducted L&A testing on October 11, 2022, and apparently rigged the November 2022 Election to fail on Election Day.” 

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Former Maricopa County Elections Worker: Many Houses Had Exactly 25 Voters Registered, Other Anomalies

A grassroots activist concerned about election fraud worked for Maricopa County Elections Department in signature verification for five weeks prior to the 2020 election. After she was fired, for what she believed was asking too many questions, she continued to look into anomalies, such as signatures accepted on mail-in ballot affidavits that did not match the voters’ signatures on their voter registrations. The activist, who does not want to be identified for fear of retaliation, canvassed at some of the homes with mismatching signatures after the election looking for votes for Donald Trump to cure, and discovered that many of them — which were generally smallish houses in heavily Democratic areas — had exactly 25 people registered to vote at each one.

Shelby Busch, co-founder of We the People AZ Alliance, which has worked uncovering evidence of wrongdoing in the 2020 and 2022 elections, told The Arizona Sun Times, “Unfortunately, these stories are not isolated occurrences. We received similar reports all across the state of Arizona.” Busch explained how her team found while preparing for Abe Hamadeh’s election lawsuit, “thousands of voters across the state who were disenfranchised from voting, many of whom never even knew their vote didn’t count. This includes people who showed up to vote and a ballot had already been received, people whose voter registrations were altered without their knowledge or consent and registered voters who didn’t even appear in the registration records,” she said.

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Abe Hamadeh and AZ Voters Rights File Lawsuit Against Maricopa County Demanding Decertification of 2022 Election in Attorney General’s Race

Abe Hamadeh and AZ Voters Rights filed a Complaint in Special Action against Maricopa County this week demanding that the court issue a writ of mandamus ordering the county to decertify the Maricopa County and Arizona canvass for the 2022 General Election race for attorney general. Hamadeh has been challenging the outcome of his loss in that race in court, uncovering evidence during the litigation of votes that were not counted, decreasing his loss to only 280 votes. The trial court judge refused to give him a new trial based on the newfound evidence, which he has appealed.

The complaint, which was drafted by attorney Ryan Heath of The Gavel Project, argued that votes “were not counted due to various wrongful acts by Maricopa County officials — which disproportionately impacted Election Day voters, the majority of whom were Republicans and conservative leaning independent voters.” 

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Grassroots Activist: Republicans Disproportionately Disenfranchised in ‘Absolute Chaos’ on Election Day in Maricopa County After Being Told Polls Would be Open Later Than They Were

Voters became angry on Election Day in Maricopa County after they showed up at the polls and found them closed already. Grassroots conservative activist Merissa Hamilton reported Tuesday evening that dozens of voters said they were told by the Maricopa County Recorder’s office that the polls closed at 7 p.m. However, eight polling locations closed at 4:30 p.m., which is “at least 17 percent” of the county’s locations, according to Hamilton who denounced it as “complete voter disenfranchisement!” Since Republicans are far more likely to vote in person on Election Day than Democrats, it disproportionately affected them.

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Former AG Mark Brnovich Takes Job With Prominent Firm, Progressive Law Professor Laurence Tribe Tries to Cancel Him

The nationally renowned large law firm Boies Schiller Flexner announced late last month that it had hired Former Attorney General Mark Brnovich as a partner. Progressive Harvard Law School Emeritus Professor Laurence Tribe posted on X criticizing the hire, citing an article that said the firm shouldn’t have hired Brnovich because he was an “election denier.”

Tribe quoted the article, “A law firm that rewards such destructive conduct deserves the profession’s full-throated condemnation.” He added, “Every lawyer in America needs to read this brilliant reminder of our profession’s solemn responsibility.”

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Turning Point Action Executive Received Extra Maricopa County Ballots for Former Residents

Tyler Bowyer, an executive for conservative activist group Turning Point Action, revealed on Monday that he received two Maricopa County ballots for former residents of his home. He told The Arizona Sun Times the episode represented “horrible public policy” and “administration of our elections.”

Bowyer posted an image of four ballots to X, formerly Twitter, on Monday night, revealing that only two registered voters live at his address. Voters in Maricopa County, and much of Arizona, are required to use mail-in ballots for the November 7, 2023 elections.

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Trial Wraps Up in Kari Lake’s Lawsuit to View Ballot Signature Affidavits from Maricopa County, Judge Allows None of Her Witnesses or Exhibits

A lawsuit Kari Lake filed over Maricopa County’s refusal to let her use public records law to inspect ballot affidavits, which are signatures from voters on the mail-in envelopes for their ballots, ended after a two-day trial on Monday. Maricopa County Superior Court Judge John Hannah, who was appointed to the bench by Democratic Governor Janet Napolitano, refused to allow any of Lake’s several proposed witnesses to testify or allow any of her exhibits into evidence.

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We the People AZ’s Lawsuit Against Runbeck for Video Surveillance Compares Runbeck to Cyber Ninjas Being Held Subject to Public Records Requests

Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Brad Astrowsky conducted a hearing Wednesday regarding Maricopa County and Runbeck Election Systems’ motions to dismiss a lawsuit filed by We the People AZ Alliance (WPAA). WPAA requested video surveillance from Runbeck showing ballots being transferred to and from Runbeck on Election Day and the day after the 2022 general election. Runbeck refused to turn them over, claiming it was not subject to public records requests as a private entity, so WPAA sued the company.

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Commentary: Will a Three-Way Race in Arizona Deliver the U.S. Senate to Republicans?

Of all the low-hanging senatorial fruit in 2024 — see red states with blue senators in West Virginia, Montana, and Ohio, to name three — if not the ripest for conservative pickup, then at least the juiciest might be the three-way contest that is liable to heat up in the Arizona desert.

There, Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, Democrat-turned-independent incumbent, if she decides to defend her seat, will face an extreme progressive challenger on the left and, possibly, one of the Trumpiest of Trumpists on the right, Kari Lake, who may find herself in a primary battle with a slightly lesser Trumpist in Blake Masters, who lost the other Senate seat in 2022 to Mark Kelly.

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Phoenix Approves Backyard Casitas, or Accessory Dwelling Units, Inside City Limits

On Wednesday the City of Phoenix approved casitas, or accessory dwelling units (ADUs), to be built in back yards of existing homes, in a move aimed at shoring up the amount of affordable housing in the city.

Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego and city council members approved the change to the city’s zoning to help address the 270,000 housing unit shortage in Arizona, reported ABC 15.

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Election Expert Gina Swoboda Explains How the Problems Happened in Maricopa County’s 2022 Election, Condemns Officials’ ‘Gaslighting’

Gina Swoboda, executive director of Phoenix-based Voter Reference Foundation (VRF), recently discussed election problems and what can be done about them on the Jenny Beth Show. The first part of her interview in mid-August with the co-founder of Tea Party Patriots went over how VRF’s websites can be used to look through voter registrations and spot problems with the voter rolls. The second part dug into the election anomalies in the 2022 midterm election, what led to them, and how they could have been easily avoided by officials who blew off fixes.

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Cochise County Supervisor Sues Arizona Officials over 2022 Election, Requests Decertification or Other Major Remedies

Cochise County Supervisor Tom Crosby, who attempted to conduct a hand count of ballots during the 2022 election and delayed the certification of election results, filed a lawsuit with another Arizonan, David Mast, against numerous Arizona officials challenging the results of the election. The lawsuit cited lawbreaking regarding signature verification on mail-in ballots, asserting that the violations resulted in “hundreds of thousands of illegal votes in all statewide results for the 2022 General Election.”

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AFEC Warns Arizona Secretary of State ‘Snark Doesn’t Get the Job Done’ in Dispute Over Voter Rolls

The Arizona Free Enterprise Club (AFEC) warned Secretary of State Adrian Fontes (D) it will bring a federal lawsuit against him over his alleged failure to maintain accurate voter lists in Arizona. AFEC gave the state until November 6 to rectify these issues, or else the non-profit will launch a federal lawsuit against Fontes.

In a report stating there are more registered voters than residents, or an “abnormally high” number of registered voters, in 14 of Arizona’s 15 counties, AFEC said it sent its letter to Fontes on August 8, urging him to “take his job as Secretary of State seriously” or face legal action.

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Accusations of Fraud and Illegal Activity Pile Up Regarding Arizona’s Elections

Kari Lake and Abe Hamadeh continue to contest their election losses in the 2022 election for governor and attorney general respectively, producing ongoing new evidence of irregularities and possible wrongdoing in the election. Much of the evidence has taken months to come out, including evidence related to the problematic 2020 presidential election, due to stonewalling by Maricopa County and other government agencies at turning it over. Maricopa County mostly ignored four repeat requests for data and equipment regarding the 2020 election from Jennifer Wright, the Election Integrity Unit civil attorney for the Attorney General’s Office, who resigned at the end of 2022 and now represents Hamadeh in his election contest. 

Much of the evidence appears to show violations of the state’s Election Procedures Manual, which are Class 2 misdemeanors. While not all of the alleged violations can be described as fraud, many of them can be characterized as alleged criminal activity. Here is a look back at some of the most serious complaints regarding alleged wrongdoing during Arizona’s 2020 and 2022 elections. 

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Joe Rogan: ‘Real Fraud’ Happened in Kari Lake’s Election, ‘Some Real Shenanigans’

Podcaster Joe Rogan asserted that “real fraud” happened in Arizona’s 2022 elections, calling the breakdown of election equipment on that day “shenanigans” that impacted the outcome of the race.

Rogan made his remarks about the Arizona election during an interview with Valuetainment founder Patrick Bet-David on “The Joe Rogan Experience,” asking the entrepreneur, “How much election fraud do you think is real,” before adding, “because I don’t think it’s zero.”

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Republicans Working with Hobbs to Extend Prop. 400 Public Transportation Sales Tax

Every few years, the Arizona Legislature works out legislation to extend the Prop. 400 public transportation tax. The half-cent tax, which started in 1985 to pay for roads but now also includes public transit and light rail in Maricopa County, faces strong opposition every time it comes up for renewal. Although the legislature mostly ended its 2023 session on June 30 after finalizing the budget, it is reconvening briefly next week to consider the extension.

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Verity Vote Issues Report on Numerous Chain-of-Custody Problems by Maricopa County During 2022 Election

Maricopa County failed to maintain chain-of-custody records for hundreds of thousands of early ballots dropped off at third-party contractor Runbeck Election Services, and a new report is out analyzing the extent of the illegal behavior, which is a class 2 misdemeanor. Election integrity organization Verity Vote issued its analysis last week.

The report observed that then-Secretary of State Katie Hobbs admonished Cochise County prior to the 2022 election about deviating from the state’s Election Procedures Manual. Yet “just one month later, Hobbs chose to disregard Maricopa County’s admitted deviations from the EPM and violations of law as she oversaw and certified her own election.” Verity Vote asserted that documents “long withheld” were finally produced revealing the lack of chain of custody, and “Maricopa officials misled the court about the process and the records.”

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New Republican Voter Registrations Continue to Outpace Democrats by over Three Times as Much in Maricopa County

Recent voter registration numbers from the Arizona Secretary of State’s Office show an increasing number of voters in Maricopa County registering as Republican rather than Democrat. Between last fall’s election and April, Republican voter registration in the county increased by 9,905 to 851,047. Democratic voter registration increased by only 2,791, less than a third as much. Republicans maintained their registration advantage at 34.39 percent, while Democrats dipped below 30 percent to 29.69 percent.

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