PHOENIX — A judge tossed out a bid by the head of the Arizona Republican Party to void the election results that awarded the state’s 11 electoral votes to Democrat Joe Biden.
The two days of testimony produced in the case brought by GOP Chairwoman Kelli Ward produced no evidence of fraud or misconduct in how the vote was conducted in Maricopa County, said Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Randall Warner in his Friday ruling.
Warner acknowledged that there were some human errors made when ballots that could not be read by machines due to marks or other problems were duplicated by hand.
But he said that a random sample of those duplicated ballots showed an accuracy rate of 99.45%.
Warner said there was no evidence that the error rate, even if extrapolated to all the 27,869 duplicated ballots, would change the fact that Biden beat President Trump.
The judge also threw out charges that there were illegal votes based on claims that the signatures on the envelopes containing early ballots were not properly compared with those already on file.
He pointed out that a forensic document examiner hired by Ward’s attorney reviewed 100 of those envelopes.
And at best, Warner said, that examiner found six signatures to be “inconclusive,” meaning she could not testify that they were a match to the signature on file.
But the judge said this witness found no signs of forgery.
Finally, Warner said, there was no evidence that the vote count was erroneous. So he issued an order confirming the Arizona election, which Biden won with a 10,457-vote edge over Trump.
Federal court case remains to be heard
Friday’s ruling, however, is not the last word.
Ward, in anticipation of the case going against her, already had announced she plans to seek review by the Arizona Supreme Court.
And a separate lawsuit is playing out in federal court, which includes some of the same claims made here along with allegations of fraud and conspiracy.
That case, set for a hearing Tuesday, also seeks to void the results of the presidential contest.
It includes allegations that the Dominion Software voting equipment used by Maricopa County is unreliable and was programmed to register more votes for Biden than he actually got.
Legislative leaders call for audit but not to change election results
Along the same lines, Senate President Karen Fann and House Speaker Rusty Bowers on Friday called for an independent audit of the software and equipment used by Maricopa County in the just-completed election.
“There have been questions,” Fann said.
But she told Capitol Media Services it is not their intent to use whatever is found to overturn the results of the Nov. 3 election.
In fact, she said nothing in the Republican legislative leaders’ request for the inquiry alleges there are any “irregularities” in the way the election was conducted.
“At the very least, the confidence in our electoral system has been shaken because of a lot of claims and allegations,” Fann said. “So our No. 1 goal is to restore the confidence of our voters.”
Bowers specifically rejected calls by the Trump legal team that the Legislature come into session to void the election results, which were formally certified on Monday.
“The rule of law forbids us to do that,” he said.
In fact, Bowers pointed out, it was the Republican-controlled Legislature that enacted a law three years ago specifically requiring the state’s electors “to cast their votes for the candidates who received the most votes in the official statewide canvass.”
He said that was done because Hillary Clinton had won the popular vote nationwide in 2016 and some lawmakers feared that electors would refuse to cast the state’s 11 electoral votes for Trump, who won Arizona’s race that year.
“As a conservative Republican, I don’t like the results of the presidential election,” Bowers said in a prepared statement. “But I cannot and will not entertain a suggestion that we violate current law to change the outcome of a certified election.”