Maricopa County Is Ground Zero in the Fight for Election Integrity

News & Politics

Make no mistake about it: Maricopa County, Ariz. is the new Ground Zero in the fight for election integrity, and we should all be paying attention.

It’s hard to imagine an election being run more ineptly than what we saw in Maricopa County earlier this month, yet election officials there are defending how things were conducted.

“Coming out of the Thanksgiving holiday, I’m grateful for County staff who worked with great care and resolve to answer questions from the Arizona Attorney General’s office about the November General Election,” Board of Supervisors Chair Bill Gates said in a statement on Sunday.

Gates claims, despite all the evidence to the contrary, that the election “was run extremely well,” and Maricopa County Elections Department claims in a lengthy report that the county had “followed state and federal laws to ensure every voter was provided the opportunity to cast a ballot in the elections.” The report is available to the public and can be downloaded here.

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As PJM’s Athena Thorne noted, Republicans were expected to turn out in droves on Election Day to vote for Kari Lake. However, the districts in which mostly Republican voters were expected to vote experienced a disproportionate amount of technical difficulties — effectively preventing thousands from voting.

Currently, Hobbs has a small lead in the vote count, despite Lake having been leading in the polls for over a month before Election Day. Hobbs has been declared the winner, but Lake has refused to concede, citing the problems which she believes amounted to systemic voter suppression.

Kari Lake has been sharing videos of voters and poll workers testifying to the disastrous election.

The Maricopa County GOP is calling for a delay in the certification of the election results. Election officials insist that, despite the problems (which they admit happened), voters were given alternative means to vote.

Last week, Kari Lake filed a lawsuit against Maricopa County.

The “Plaintiff desires that every lawful vote be properly counted and every voter who was eligible to vote be allowed to vote,” the lawsuit reads. “Because Defendants were unable or unwilling to conduct a reconciliation of voter check-ins against ballots cast of each polling center on election night in accordance with Arizona law and have now unlawfully refused to produce public records in response to two public records requests regarding how they administered the election, Plaintiff cannot determine that every lawful vote will be properly counted.”

“The records Plaintiff requested in response to the numerous issues with Defendants’administration of the election are consistent with a parallel demand by the Arizona Attorney General for answers to questions about the Defendants’ actions,” the suit continues. “Given instances of misprinted ballots, the commingling of counted and uncounted ballots, and long lines discouraging people from voting, as demonstrated in the attached declarations, these records are necessary for Plaintiff to determine the full extent of the problems identified and their impacts on electors.”

I’m under no illusions here. It is extremely unlikely that Kari Lake and other Republican candidates will be able to overturn the elections that may have been affected by systemic election problems that (perhaps intentionally) disproportionately impacted GOP areas, but this issue is bigger than just the outcome of the election. Everyone, Democrats and Republicans, has to feel confident in the results of the elections, regardless of the outcome. It doesn’t matter who came out on top in these elections in Arizona; both sides have reasons to lack confidence in the results. This fight is far more important than Kari Lake’s gubernatorial bid. Arizonans deserve fair and competently conducted elections — all Americans do, and this is the fight to make sure that happens.

The whole nation is watching.

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