By Corinne Murdock |
Attorney General Kris Mayes accused her predecessor, Mark Brnovich, of election suppression.
In a Sunday interview with MSNBC, Mayes said that Brnovich’s office looked too hard for potential voter fraud. Mayes opined that only taking on five cases would be the norm every couple of years, not hundreds or thousands of cases in any one given year.
“This Election Integrity Unit — which was obviously completely misnamed, it was more like an ‘Election Suppression Unit’ here in Arizona — you know, it spent thousands of man and woman hours investigating conspiracy theories, alleged cases of voter fraud,” said Mayes.
Mayes went on to insinuate that the Election Integrity Unit (EIU) would meet its demise under her administration. The attorney general indicated that the EIU would be replaced with a unit that would challenge election scrutiny.
“We’ve got to put an end to that kind of effort to suppress the vote, we’ve got to change this into a unit that protects voters, protects the right to vote, and most of all, protects our elections officials,” said Mayes.
Mayes said she would prosecute anyone who threatens election officials. She also criticized Republicans for attacking early mail-in voting.
The contempt that Mayes and her office have for the former attorney general has been made obvious in recent weeks. Mayes’ newly appointed chief deputy attorney general, Dan Barr, indicated that physical force was the only means of handling Brnovich effectively.
“The only way to deal with cowardly bullies is to punch them in the nose,” wrote Barr. “That’s what @SecretaryHobbs is doing to @GeneralBrnovich.”
Mayes promised in previous weeks to repurpose EIU resources toward “protecting voting access and combating voter suppression.” Mayes told The Guardian earlier this month that she would use her office to protect mail-in voting from efforts to reduce it.
Brnovich established the EIU in 2019 with $500,000 from the governor’s office. He appointed now-former assistant attorney general Jen Wright to head the unit. Wright recently joined the legal team for Mayes’ GOP opponent, Abraham Hamadeh, as he challenges the validity of the 2022 general election.
Wright claimed that recount data revealed some voters recorded by election machines as “undervotes” were incorrect, and that provisional ballot rejections suggested previously invactive voters had their provisional ballots rejected as ineligible.
Wright has also initiated legal proceedings against Mayes after her office falsely claimed to The Arizona Republic that they fired Wright, when Wright had resigned before Mayes took office. The outlet hasn’t issued a correction or retraction, since Mayes’ office doubled down on the claim.
Mayes’ office may be in violation of Arizona law limiting agency disclosure of personnel information. Wright further claimed that Mayes’ office discriminated against Wright due to her political affiliation.