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Arizona continues counting ballots as race between Biden, Trump tightens
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Arizona continues counting ballots as race between Biden, Trump tightens

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PHOENIX — Gov. Doug Ducey is refusing to condemn those making unsubstantiated claims of election fraud even as he defends the lawsuit filed by the president challenging procedures used to tabulate ballots in the state's largest county.

In a prepared statement Monday, the governor said that "some results remain unclear" as votes are still being tallied. As of late Monday, there were fewer than 62,000 ballots that had not yet been tabulated.

The latest count also showed Biden continuing to run ahead of Trump, though the margin has slipped to fewer than 15,000.

Another big dump of numbers should come late Tuesday. That's the deadline for people to "cure" problems with their original ballots.

Some involve verifying a signature on an envelope that does not match what is on file.

There also are Arizonans who have to come to county offices before 5 p.m. on Tuesday to provide the proof of identity they did not have when they showed up at the polls on Election Day. They were given "provisional" ballots which will be tabulated only with proper ID.

If Biden maintains the lead, that leaves the incumbent with only the hope that a judge will order a new count of certain ballots that his attorney say may not have been properly tabulated.

"The president, just like any other candidate, has the right to all available legal challenges and remedies," the governor said. "We are confident they will be properly adjudicated."

But Ducey has said nothing to date about the demonstrators outside the Maricopa County offices where the ballots are being counted.

Nor has he commented about statement from officials of his own Republican Party that have fueled the contention that something illegal is going on.

There are multiple examples.

"We have the activists that will not allow this race to be stolen from President Trump or from Republicans all the way down the ballot," state party chair Kelli Ward said at a rally last week.

Congressman Paul Gosar has said in a Twitter post that he rejects the reported returns.

"Any claim Biden has won is illegitimate," he wrote. "We cannot accept the theft of the presidency."

And Congressman Andy Biggs said "the Left is assiduously stealing the presidency."

"We must not acquiesce to those efforts," he said in his own Twitter post.

There also are the president's own claims of fraud.

Gov. Ducey is defending how elections are run and the counting is handled, even if he is not actually calling out those who have claimed there is fraud.

"The governor has repeatedly and unequivocally supported Arizona's elections processes," Ptak said.

"He's been clear that we're following election law 'to the letter' in Arizona," he continued. "We want to see all ballots counted and will respect the results."

Meanwhile, Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Daniel Kiley set a hearing for this coming Thursday on claims by the Trump campaign and the national and state Republican parties that some votes were not recorded. That is based on claims that poll workers misinformed voters about what they should do when the automatic tabulating equipment would not tally their ballots.

Challengers want a review of ballots cast in at polling places in Maricopa County — and one done with members of the public watching.

But questions remain about whether that's even a legal option.

Attorneys for the county argued there is no authority for such a recount. And in any event, they said making that request now, after the election — and after most of the ballots already have been tabulated — comes too late.

On Twitter: @azcapmedia

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