Skip to main content
You are the owner of this article.
You have permission to edit this article.
Edit
Trump supporters pepper Arizona's governor with demands he decertify election
alert top story

Trump supporters pepper Arizona's governor with demands he decertify election

PHOENIX — Supporters of Donald Trump are peppering Gov. Doug Ducey with demands that he decertify the 2020 election — even though he says he has no legal authority to do so.

The Republican governor got about 300 emails each day on Saturday and Sunday calling for him to act, said Ducey press aide C.J. Karamargin.

“It is more than we receive on vaccines, masks, border issues, refugees,’’ he said. “This tops the level of constituent interest those issues have.’’

Those demands come despite the governor’s statements that there is no way to decertify, which he repeated most recently Friday after the release of the Senate-ordered audit report on the 2020 Maricopa County returns.

And they come despite the fact that the audit’s recount of Maricopa County ballots showed the certified results were accurate and that Joe Biden indeed defeated Trump. In fact, the audit’s hand count actually increased Biden’s margin of victory by a bit.

But Trump supporters are hanging on other statements by Doug Logan, CEO of Cyber Ninjas, the firm that conducted the audit. Logan, while not alleging fraud, said there are discrepancies between other numbers the county reported and what the auditors were able to find. These range from allegations of mail-in ballots received from from voters no longer at that address, to more ballots returned from voters than were mailed out. County election officials provided a point-by-point rebuttal about those issues.

Those raising objections contend there are enough questionable votes to more than overcome Biden’s 45,109-vote margin of victory in the state’s largest county — and, by extension, to overturn his 10,457-edge statewide.

This clearly isn’t over. And the main thrust has been to decertify the election.

Among the loudest voices is Rep. Mark Finchem, R-Oro Valley, who is running for secretary of state.

“We’ve got false numbers,’’ Finchem told Steve Bannon, a former Trump aide, in a televised interview. He said that allows Arizona to “reclaim’’ its 11 electors.

“There is no law that allows for decertification,’’ Karamargin said. “It’s simply not possible.’’

Finchem remains undeterred. “I don’t think that Ducey knows what this document means,’’ Finchem said, holding up a pocket copy of the U.S. Constitution. The Tenth Amendment says that powers not delegated to the federal government are reserved to the states or the people, he said.

“At the same time, there is a legal doctrine that says a right of action cannot arise out of fraud,’’ Finchem said. “Well, they signed a fraudulent document based on bad numbers,’’ he said, meaning the certification of the election signed Nov. 30 by Ducey, Democratic Secretary of State Katie Hobbs and Republican Attorney General Mark Brnovich.

Nor is he swayed by the hand count that supports the official count, saying that is irrelevant if there were counterfeit ballots. “And that’s exactly what happened here,’’ Finchem said.

Sen. Sonny Borrelli, R-Lake Havasu City, is echoing the same sentiment.

And Sen. Wendy Rogers, R-Flagstaff, produced a memo from Matt DePerno, a Michigan attorney running for attorney general there, who said the Legislature has the authority to recall state electors or decertify a national election “upon proof of fraud.’’

“Importantly, this does not require proof of all of the fraud,’’ said DePerno, whose candidacy was just endorsed by Trump.

Others, including Senate President Karen Fann, R-Prescott, who hired Cyber Ninjas to review the election results, aren’t buying it.

“There’s really nothing in the Constitution that says we can decertify,’’ she said, though Fann conceded that won’t stop any legislator from proposing such a resolution. “I mean, look at the legislation we do sometimes,’’ she noted.

But, legal issues aside, Fann said this just isn’t going to happen. It would take 31 votes in the House and 16 in the Senate to approve such a measure — the exact bare margin that Republicans have in each chamber.

“And you and I both know we don’t have 31 and 16 votes for anything right now,’’ she said, with several Republican lawmakers already having disassociated themselves from the audit. They include Sen. Michelle Ugenti-Rita, R-Scottsdale, who chairs the Government Committee, who disavowed the audit after saying Fann “botched’’ it.

Even among GOP lawmakers, Fann said some others are likely to balk at such a move until “they are 100% sure that we have information that would have changed the results.’’ She said the only way that could happen is if Brnovich, to whom she has sent the audit report, investigates and finds fraud.

And even that not be enough. “There’s going to have to be a jury that rules or a court that rules,’’ and comes up with a finding that there were votes cast that affected the outcome of the election, Fann said.

House Speaker Rusty Bowers, R-Mesa, reached a similar conclusion last year when he denied permission for Finchem to have a special hearing of his Committee on Federal Relations to see if the Republican-controlled House could overrule the public vote and choose its own electors to send to Washington, D.C., presumably supporting Trump. Bowers said Arizona law is clear and that the electors are selected by the certified voter count, which occurred Nov. 30.

“What happened on the 30th was the culmination of a process,’’ Karamargin said. “And that process saw election results being certified in each of Arizona’s 15 counties,’’ many of which, Karamargin pointed out, are Republican counties.

There was a proposal earlier this year by Rep. Shawnna Bolick, R-Phoenix, to allow the Legislature to override the popular vote and choose electors. But it failed to even get out of a single committee.

Howard Fischer is a veteran journalist who has been reporting since 1970 and covering state politics and the Legislature since 1982. Follow him on Twitter at “@azcapmedia” or email azcapmedia@gmail.com.


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.

Topics

News Alerts

Breaking News