Abe Hamadeh, the GOP candidate to become Arizona's Attorney General, and the Republican National Committee have filed a lawsuit against the 2022 election.
Hamadeh's race to become the next AG has come down to a recount after his opponent, Democrat Kris Mayes, earned just over 500 more votes. Counties need to be done by a Dec. 22 court hearing – that's when a judge will announce the results of the recount.
Kari Lake also filed a lawsuit against the election on Friday, claiming voters were disenfranchised.
"At 511 votes out of 2.5 million our race is the closest statewide race in Arizona history, it is currently undergoing a recount. Every legal vote deserves to be counted. Maricopa County faced unprecedented and unacceptable issues on Election Day. Arizonans deserved better. When I announced my campaign in November 2021, I was dismissed as having no chance by the media, the fundraisers, and the political class. But I campaigned hard. I traveled our beautiful state and gained the trust and support of the people to win the Republican nomination. I’m not desperate to be a politician. I’m desperately worried about our country. Right now confidence in our elections are at an all time low due to the hubris and incompetence of election officials to not take legitimate election issues seriously. I jumped in this race because I know how important the rule of law is for a civilized society. I urge all Arizonans to have patience during this time. Laws exist in order to provide justice and the courts are the guardians of justice. If we lose hope in our system we will no longer be that shining city upon a hill. I am fighting this fight to win and to make sure we regain confidence in our elections now and forever. Arizona, I will never stop fighting for you," Hamadeh said.
This lawsuit comes after Hamadeh filed a previous lawsuit on Nov. 22 before the election results were certified. During a court hearing on Nov. 28, the judge argued that the lawsuit was premature because the election results weren't certified and the recount had not yet happened.
"The Plaintiffs are not, by this lawsuit, alleging any fraud, manipulation or other intentional wrongdoing that would impugn the outcomes of the November 8, 2022, general election. Plaintiffs bring this lawsuit to ensure that all lawfully cast votes are properly counted and that unlawfully cast votes are not counted," a portion of the lawsuit filing read.
The lawsuit says Arizona's 2022 election was impacted by "errors and inaccuracies" in the management of some polling places, as well as the tabulation of some ballots.
"The cumulative effect of these mistakes is material to the race for Arizona Attorney General, where after the first canvass the candidates are separated by just 511 votes out of more than 2.5 million ballots cast—a margin of two one-hundredths of one percent (0.02%)," the lawsuit read.
On Election Day, Maricopa County said about 20% of its polling sites experienced issues with tabulation machines across the Valley.
"Maricopa County has identified the solution for the tabulation issues at about 60 Vote Centers. County technicians have changed the printer settings, which seems to have resolved this issue. It appears some of the printers were not producing dark enough timing marks on the ballots. This solution has worked at 17 locations, and technicians deployed throughout the county are working to resolve this issue at the remaining locations," the county said in a previous statement.
The issue affected about 17,000 ballots in the county. About 4.5 million people live in the sprawling city and about 2.4 million are registered voters. More than 80% cast their ballots early, most by mail, and the county said about 230,000 had voted in-person about an hour before polls closed.
The issue was printers not producing dark enough markings on the ballots, which required election officials to change the printer settings. Until then, some voters who tried to insert their ballots into voting tabulators were forced to wait and use other machines or were told they could leave their ballots in a drop box.
Maricopa County released a statement on the filing, saying, "The court system is the proper place for campaigns challenging the results to make their case. Maricopa County respects the election contest process and looks forward to sharing facts about the administration of the 2022 General Election and our work to ensure every legal voter had an opportunity to cast their ballot."