Arizona Republicans Level More Allegations Of Election Fraud

By Austin Fast
Howard Fischer, Capitol Media Services
Published: Sunday, November 29, 2020 - 11:25am
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Howard Fischer/Capitol Media Services
Mark Finchem

Even as top state officials gather Monday morning to certify Arizona’s election results, a group of Republican lawmakers plan to level more allegations of presidential election fraud at an "urgent public hearing" in downtown Phoenix.

These lawmakers couldn’t get permission for a formal hearing at the state Capitol, so they’re gathering at 9 a.m. Monday at Phoenix's Hyatt Regency hotel to present testimony state Rep. Mark Finchem (R-Oro Valley) said proves a “rigged election.”

"It's going to reveal a great deal that I think the taxpayers, the voters, are going to be stunned," Finchem told Capitol Media Services on Friday. "I'm not at liberty to say all the information that's going to be presented. But it is pretty weighty."

Finchem claims the U.S. Constitution allows lawmakers to decide on their own whether an election is valid and to pick electors themselves. A similar event in Pennsylvania on Wednesday featured Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani alleging irregularities in mail-in ballots. President Donald Trump appeared by phone at that event to level claims that mail-in ballots altered election results.

"They cheated,'' Trump said of Democrats. "This was a fraudulent election ... That has to be turned around because we won Pennsylvania by a lot and we won all of these swing states by a lot.''

Finchem promised lots of information at Monday's daylong event to show that the state's 11 electoral votes should not go to Democrat Joe Biden and explain why the legislature is obligated to send qualified Electoral College electors to vote. However, the event comes on the same day as top state officials plan to certify Arizona's election results with a win for Biden. 

Also happening Monday, attorneys for Kelli Ward, chair of the Arizona Republican Party, will head to court to demand an inspection of ballot signatures to check for any signs of wrongdoing. They say this will help them prove their claim that the tally was incorrect, at least for the presidential race.

Under the system of mail-in voting, election workers compare signatures on the outside of the envelope with what they have on file from prior elections or other documents. If there are questions, it is reviewed by members of both parties. And the law allows election workers to contact voters to determine if they really sent in the ballot and whether there is a reason a signature looks different, such as an illness or injury.

The state GOP's attorney, Jack Wilenchik, claims legal observers were kept too far away from the process to be able to see what was going on. He wants Maricopa County Superior Court Judge John Hannah to allow a representative sample — perhaps 2% — to be reviewed by a handwriting expert to determine if the worker was correct or if the ballots never should have been tallied. 

Time is working against these last-minute machinations. Arizona law allows a challenge to the official canvass within five days, but federal law states all election challenges must be resolved by Dec. 8, with electors set to vote six days later. Arizona also has a "faithless elector'' provision in law which requires electors to vote for the presidential candidate who wins the state.

Legislative lawyers said it would take a change in statute to alter how presidential electors are appointed, adding it's too late to change that this year given that the electors already have been chosen by voters.