Hand-counting ballots from random counties searched by the Arizona Republican Party in hopes of finding more votes for President Trump is simply impossible, a Maricopa County attorney told a judge Monday.
Assistant District Attorney Joseph La Rue pointed out that Party Attorney Jack Wilenchik is calling for a random check of votes cast in 2% of the 700+ counties.
The only thing he told Justice John Hannah of the Maricopa County Supreme Court was that his county did not require voters to cast ballots in their own counties.
“We didn’t do it that way,” said LaRue.
Instead, every registered voter can go to one of the 175 or so voting centers.
“Our ballot papers are not divided by district,” said La Rue. “They are in pockets, separated by voting centers.”
That hand census was completed a week ago, he said, based on 2% of polling stations, telling La Rue Hannah that Hannah is expressly authorized by the state’s official electoral process manual.
What Wilenchik wants, he continued, is to open all the pockets and find out which ballots belong to which districts. According to La Rue, even if the bags are opened, it may not be possible to isolate different districts.
And even if that could be done – a point La Rue does not admit – there is no way everything can happen, including a new district-to-district handcount, before the board of directors plans to confirm the election results and a formal “acquisition” by Thursday or Friday at the latest.
In other words, La Rue said to Hannah, it does not make sense for him to order the type of handcounting that the GOP wants when the results are in after the election results are confirmed.
“The purpose of the handcount audit is to determine if the reconciliation was correct and, if it was not, to take other corrective action before acquiring,” he said. “If the audit takes place after the acquisition, I’m not sure what it is about.”
And there is something else.
La Rue pointed out that someone from the Republican Party was actually involved in the handcounting of ballots, which was carried out by the county and completed a week ago. He said no inconsistencies were found.
He said it was too late for the party to step in now after the census they took part in was taken, claiming this was not the correct procedure and calling for something else.
Hannah has the legal option to issue an injunction to delay the county acquisition. However, this would raise even more complex questions.
The state will conduct its own formal acquisitions on November 30th, which will require all 15 counties to be completed by then.
And even if that can be legally pushed back because Maricopa County isn’t ready, there is a potentially more serious problem.
The National Conference of State Legislatures says federal law requires all state recounts and legal proceedings to be completed by December 8th. Six days later, the eleven voters who had accepted the victorious candidate – currently Joe Biden in Arizona – cast their ballots.
At the heart of the problem is the requirement to take some ballot papers from a certain number of districts, chosen by officials from both parties, to count by hand and compare them to what the machines were doing.
If the check is done within a certain range, everything is fine.
However, if one or more races are outside this range, the process is repeated with ever larger batches. And at some point, when there are discrepancies, there is even provision for a judge to order the source code for the computer software checked by a special master.
All of this leads to some Republicans claiming the voting machines are somehow programmed to erase votes for Trump. This includes allegations – with no evidence – that Dominion Voting Systems devices in use in Maricopa County had software problems that resulted in errors in the voting results.
Kelli Ward, chairman of the state-owned GOP, which filed the lawsuit, said in a video message Monday that the elections are “far from over” for her.
“We have questions that need to be answered,” she said. “We are working hand in hand with the Trump campaign to ensure that the Arizona elections are of integrity.”
To put it in a nutshell, Ward said there is currently no elected president as states are not yet required to certify the results.
“And that’s what elects a president, not the media, not the experts, not the speaking, not the wrong news,” she said.
This is not the only lawsuit waiting to be resolved.
Attorney Alexander Kolodin wants Maricopa County Supreme Court judge Margaret Mahoney to rule that one of his clients never had the opportunity to cast their vote at their polling station. And he claims that while another customer is casting a ballot, he has no certainty that it has ever been counted.
But Kolodin admitted that even if he wins his lawsuit, it will have no impact on this year’s election. What he wants is a court ruling mandating that the voting systems and equipment used by Maricopa County comply with Arizona law in the next election.
However, this did not prevent the Arizona Democratic Party attorneys from filing for intervention in hopes of the lawsuit being set aside.