Democrats in Maricopa County, Arizona, have gone to court to stop a hand-recount of the ballots from the 2020 presidential race.
Arizona was one of a six states that Joe Biden won by slim a margin where lawmakers raised objections to the results, presenting evidence of vote fraud. The Senate Republicans recount was launched this week when county officials began delivering equipment that was used in the November election to the state fairgrounds, where the recount is to include all 2.1 million ballots.
The work by contractors hired by the state Senate is expected to take weeks.
But now the Washington Examiner reports the Arizona Democratic Party has filed a lawsuit, asking for a temporary restraining order to stop the audit of the Maricopa County election count.
Maricopa County Supervisor Steve Gallardo, one of the plaintiffs, claimed that the lawsuit is “to protect the sanctity of the ballots.”
He also claims his attempt to halt the verification process is to “preserve voters’ privacy from a sham audit that has been corrupted by agitators and conspiracy theorists.”
The county already had done audits that officials said showed no irregularities.
The Examiner said Senate President Karen Fann, one of the defendants, has promised independence and transparency in the audit, which would include the goal of restoring voter confidence.
A defendant in the Democrats’ lawsuit is Cyber Ninjas, the Florida company hired to do the audit.
Gallardo also claimed the process was being funded by “dark money influencers” and charged the company that was hired was not qualified.
The Examiner reported the Arizona Senate Democrats released a statement supporting Gallardo’s position.
“It’s clear that this audit is no more than a temper tantrum from those still upset that they lost the election and it is deeply damaging to the integrity of our elections and our democracy,” the statement said.
A court upheld the right of the Senate Republicans to conduct the review.
The Associated Press reported Ken Bennett, a former Arizona secretary of state, said security is tight for the 2.1 million ballots that will be reviewed.
Bennett said that in addition to the recount, the mail ballot signatures and the tabulation machines used will be audited.
Shortly after the election, judges dismissed several lawsuits challenging the results in Arizona, as happened in five other states. But nearly every case was dismissed on technical issues of standing and timing, not on the merits.
One issue that is not in doubt – and remains of concern – is that state officials, without constitutional authority, changed election laws to accommodate the COVID-19 pandemic
The changes mostly were related to mail-in ballots, which are more susceptible to fraud. Democrats pushed for the expansion of mail-in balloting, arguing it was needed to accommodate the COVID-19 pandemic.
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