An Arizona state judge said he will issue a written ruling Thursday in the Arizona Republican Party’s lawsuit against Maricopa County, as he expressed skepticism in a case that could delay the state’s certification of ballots.
On Wednesday, the judge heard oral arguments in the Arizona Republican Party’s lawsuit against the recorder of Maricopa County, the most populous county in the state, which alleges the Secretary of State’s manual violated state law because its hand count of a random sampling of ballots was conducted based on polling places, not precincts.
Judge John Hannah expressed skepticism of the arguments made by a lawyer for the party, pointing out that an audit already found no errors. “How is this re-audit that you’re advocating for going to make a difference in the outcome of the election or create any type of tangible difference in the real world?” the judge asked a lawyer for the party, John Wilenchik.
When Wilenchik replied that “if there were to be some hacking of machines, it would be done by precinct,” the judge questioned him, saying, “What evidence is there of that?”
An attorney for the county, Joseph LaRue, said the party waited too long — until Nov. 12 — to file its lawsuit, given that it was aware as early as 2012 of the wording of the Secretary of State’s election procedures manual. “Waiting a few days to file a lawsuit isn't a big deal in most litigation, but it is in election litigation,” LaRue said.
The county’s deadline for certifying ballots is Monday and a delay, LaRue has said, could impact the state’s ability to meet the Electoral College deadline. The state certification deadline is Nov. 30. The Electoral College votes on Dec. 14.