Skip to main content
You have permission to edit this article.
Federal judge tosses last lawsuit that remained against Arizona's election results
top story

Federal judge tosses last lawsuit that remained against Arizona's election results

Federal judge dismisses lawsuit challenging Joe Biden's Arizona win, citing "baseless claims"

  • Updated

PHOENIX — A federal judge late Wednesday tossed the last of the legal challenges to the decision by Arizona voters to choose Joe Biden for president.

In a strongly worded ruling, U.S. District Judge Diane Humetewa said the claims brought by the 11 would-be Republican electors who would vote for President Trump are based on theories that Secretary of State Katie Hobbs conspired with various foreign and domestic individuals and companies to manipulate the results and allow Biden to win.

“The allegations they put forth to support their claims of fraud fail in their particularity and plausibility,” the judge wrote.

“Plaintiffs append over 300 pages of attachments, which are only impressive for their volume,” Humetewa said. “The various affidavits and expert reports are largely based on anonymous witnesses, hearsay, and irrelevant analysis of unrelated elections.”

Arizona officials have certified Joe Biden’s narrow victory over President Donald Trump in the state. Democratic Secretary of State Katie Hobbs and Republican Gov. Doug Ducey stood up for the integrity of the election even as lawyers for Trump were across town Monday arguing without evidence to nine Republican lawmakers that the election was marred by fraud.

The judge said that isn’t the only reason she threw out the case without giving the challengers a chance to present their evidence.

She said federal courts are allowed to handle only those cases where the challengers have actual standing. That, said Humetewa, requires them to show an actual injury, that the injury is fairly traceable to the conduct they are challenging, and that their injury could be addressed by a favorable court ruling.

The electors cannot meet their burden, she said.

They are not candidates for office whose election could be changed with a ruling. Instead, Humetewa said, electors under Arizona law have a purely “ministerial function” to cast their ballots for the presidential candidate who got the most votes.

“Notably, the Republican candidate whose name was on the ballot is not a plaintiff in this case,” she said.

Humetewa looked no more kindly on the claim that alleged breaches of Arizona election laws permitted illegal votes, allowing voter fraud that effectively diluted lawful votes that were cast.

“Absent from the complaint is an allegation that plaintiffs (or any registered Arizona voters for that matter) were deprived of their right to vote,” the judge said.

“Instead, they bring baseless claims of disparate treatment of Arizona voters, in subjecting one class of voters to greater burdens or scrutiny than another,” she continued. “They do not allege what ‘class’ of voters were treated disparately.”

Moreover, she said, “To give plaintiffs the relief they desire would disenfranchise the nearly 3.4 million Arizonans that voted in the 2020 General Election.”

The judge also said that, with narrow exceptions, the U.S. Constitution prohibits individuals from suing the state or the officials named in this lawsuit — Hobbs and Gov. Doug Ducey — in federal court.

“None of these exceptions are present here,” she wrote.

Humetewa also said the lawsuit, filed earlier this month, comes too late.

She said there are reasons that courts require claims to be brought promptly.

“The prejudice to the defendants and the nearly 3.4 million Arizonans who voted in the 2020 General Election would be extreme, and entirely unprecedented, if plaintiff were allowed to have their claims heard at this late date,” she said.

Finally, the judge said, the lawsuit sought to block Ducey from transmitting the certified results to federal officials, force Ducey and Hobbs to decertify the election, declare that there was ballot fraud, require a manual recount of early votes and allow the challengers to seize and inspect voting hardware and software as well as security camera recordings.

“Obviously, the court cannot enjoin the transmission of the certified results because they already have been transmitted,” Humetewa said. Nothing in federal law even authorizes her to order such an action, she added.

Subscribe to stay connected to Tucson. A subscription helps you access more of the local stories that keep you connected to the community.

Get Government & Politics updates in your inbox!

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

Related to this story

Get up-to-the-minute news sent straight to your device.


News Alerts

Breaking News