Abe Hamadeh, the Republican candidate for Arizona Attorney General in 2022, is still fighting to ensure that every valid vote cast in his race – the closest race in Arizona history – is counted.
Democrat Kris Mayes was declared the winner, with the initial official result showing she’d won by 511 votes. Hamadeh initially filed suit in December challenging those results; a judge dismissed that suit on December 23, six days before recount results were announced that cut Mayes’ lead nearly in half, to 280 votes. In that recount, “significant, material discrepancies” were identified that “cast doubt upon the completeness and accuracy of the election results,” Hamadeh’s attorneys argue in court filings, and then-Secretary of State Katie Hobbs and other Arizona election officials knew about those discrepancies no later than December 21 – yet none of that information was shared with Hamadeh or with the Court.
Because of the new information provided when the recount results were unsealed, Hamadeh filed a motion for a new trial in January, and his attorneys provided even more information about those errors in a brief filed on February 6. According to Jennifer Wright, one of Hamadeh’s attorneys, the team has identified more than 500 high-propensity voters who attempted to vote in the 2022 election and had their provisional ballot rejected. What the team is finding is that voters who might have a secondary residence in another county are being re-registered in that county after having some kind of contact with state bureaucracy, and their former registration is automatically canceled, without notice to the voter.
Wright shared a video to Twitter of one such voter, Howard, who lives in Mesa (Maricopa County).
And although there’s been speculation that Howard (and by implication the other 500+ similarly situated voters) is somehow at fault for his voter registration being moved to the county where he has a secondary residence, the evidence suggests otherwise.
— Jen Wright (@JenWEsq) March 21, 2023
Howard is a disabled war veteran and retired long-haul truck driver who lives in Mesa but has a summer home in Show Low. Every summer he temporarily changes his address with the post office to the Show Low address so he can continue to receive mail without delay, but this has never affected his ability to vote in Maricopa County since he’s not actually changing his official address. During the summer of 2021 Howard needed to obtain an Arizona ID card since he could no longer drive due to medical issues and took care of that while he was in Show Low, in Navajo County, and that’s where the problem started.
Unknown to Howard, his request for the state ID card triggered ADOT’s Service Arizona portal to create and submit a voter registration form registering him to vote in Navajo County. The signature displayed on the form was “pulled” or copied from the data file used to order Howard’s state ID card.
The system-generated form was reported to the Navajo County Recorder’s Office. This then caused the Maricopa County Recorder’s Office to cancel Howard’s right to vote there based on the “new” registration.
But no notice was sent to Howard at the time by either county recorder.
Howard learned that he was registered to vote in Navajo County in May 2022 when that county registrar mailed information related to the upcoming primary election, but he was never notified by Maricopa County that that registration had been canceled. He wrote to Navajo County immediately to inform them that he did not live there, that he lived in Maricopa County, and the Recorder canceled Howard’s Navajo County registration and confirmed the action in writing by sending a letter to Howard’s Maricopa County address.
When Howard went to vote in person on Election Day he was able to vote a provisional ballot, but that ballot was never counted even though he offered proof that day that he is a resident of Maricopa County.
As Hamadeh awaits a decision from Judge Jantzen and the Arizona Superior Court, he is working to interview voters who have claimed they were disenfranchised and had their provisional ballots rejected. The County Recorder has dismissed claims like Howard’s as “voter error” or simply ignored the voters who have sought redress on the issue, but Hamadeh calls it what it is – disenfranchisement.
My team has discovered that many Arizonans were wrongfully disenfranchised, due to system or process error. Prior to running for Attorney General, I served as a prosecutor at the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office and overseas with the U.S. Army Reserve. I swore an oath to uphold the laws and defend the Constitution. My commitment to fight is instilled in my values, and I will continue to seek justice and accountability for those who were wrongfully disenfranchised.
As Hamadeh said, the way Mayes and the rest of the Arizona Democrats are responding shows that above all, they are afraid of the truth.
Defendants’ responses demonstrate one thing: fear. Fear that the election was not conducted properly, fear that the reported results were not accurate, and, at bottom, fear of finding out the truth of the proper election result.
Sadly and unsurprisingly, Defendants wish away the guarantees of due process, ignore longstanding precedent, and cast aside material facts for fear of confirming what the evidence will undoubtedly prove: Abe Hamadeh, not Kris Mayes, received the most votes for attorney general
— Abe Hamadeh (@AbrahamHamadeh) February 7, 2023
Wright had this to say about the election officials treatment of the voters:
Rather than taking a defensive, argumentative, & dismissive posture, county recorders should investigate how so many high propensity voters had rejected provisional ballots & work to fix broken systems that caused voters to be disenfranchised.
— Jen Wright (@JenWEsq) March 21, 2023
As to those who say Hamadeh should “move on,” and that there’s nothing to be done now since Mayes is already in office and working, Hamadeh points out that there is precedent for his continued legal challenge.
This is the precedent ⬇️
“On December 23, 1917, the Arizona Supreme Court, composed of three Democrats, issued a final unanimous decision siding with Hunt’s ballot interpretation, giving him a 43-vote victory.”https://t.co/fmtxZI5bnN
— Abe Hamadeh (@AbrahamHamadeh) March 22, 2023
Hamadeh is confident that this is the way to shine light on the election processes in Arizona and right the discrepancies, errors, and incorrect handling of ballots in the November 2022 election, saying, “The courts are the proper venue for these ballot disputes, not the corporate media or political consultants who act as spokesmen and propaganda for the government. I will continue to fight relentlessly to make sure the will of the people is honored and that all lawful votes are counted.”
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