By Jeff DeWit |
Election integrity is crucial for our Constitutional Republic and is rooted in the understanding that all legal votes will be counted. Our American elections should be secure, transparent, and honest.
Arizona voters are currently in a situation where Democrats are fighting against efforts to allow lawful votes from being counted in what has turned out to be the closest statewide race in Arizona history, the Attorney General race between Republican Abe Hamadeh and Democrat Kris Mayes.
Sometimes when voters go to the polls, they are required to use a “provisional” ballot but are promised by law that their vote will still count. Shockingly, there are currently over 9,000 provisional ballots that were never counted in the Attorney General race. This race is separated by just 280 votes out of 2.5 million votes, and Arizonans deserve to have every vote counted. Many of these voters are high-propensity voters that have voted in previous elections, but their votes are being erroneously disenfranchised from the voting process. Provisional ballots have been ordered by the courts to be opened and counted in the past and should be in this case as well. In some cases, these voters were strangely registered in a county other than their county of residence without their knowledge or intent.
To make matters worse, back in late December, the legal team for Hamadeh discovered that Gov. Katie Hobbs, (then Secretary of State) withheld valuable evidence regarding vote totals being incorrectly tabulated in Pinal County. There is good reason to believe that had this been known to the judge overseeing Hamadeh’s December trial, he would have ruled for a proper inspection of the ballots to ensure every legal vote was being counted, including the provisional ballots.
Why they weren’t counted in the first place remains a mystery. Some say it was purposeful. There are claims that since the election was down to a 280-vote margin for Democrat Mayes and falling fast, the Democrat Secretary of State and Democrat Recorder just decided to stop counting before the results flipped.
The same individuals who argued to have ALL votes counted (not just legal votes) prior to the election taking place are the same individuals who now refuse to count the outstanding provisional ballots.
Since the provisional ballots were breaking 70% Republican on Election Day, the race was within moments of flipping to a Republican victory had they not stopped counting. Whatever the reason that the counting stopped, what is undoubtedly true is that ALL the ballots need to be counted.
When this is added to the latest news last week from Pinal County (see stories regarding the Pinal County elections director knowingly seeing glaring errors and inaccuracies in the votes, cashing out and fleeing the state), this appears to at least be a case of gross negligence. Clearly, the uncounted provisional ballots should be counted.
Understanding precedent is also important here. This would not be the first time in Arizona’s history that an election was overturned after an election lawsuit. In 1916, the race for governor was ultimately overturned and the legitimate winner rightfully took office 13 months after the election. Similarly, in the 1996 race for Yuma County Board of Supervisors, the election was eventually overturned after nearly a year of litigation.
The future of our Constitutional Republic depends on it, and the Arizona Republican Party will continue to fight for ELECTION INTEGRITY. The best course of action is undoubtedly to clean up the voter rolls. However, in the interim, it is imperative that we count all provisional ballots. Everyone should be demanding the same from our government: Let ALL of the voters be heard by letting ALL of the votes be counted.
Jeff DeWit is the Chairman of the Arizona Republican Party. Previously, he was the Chief Financial Officer for NASA and the elected State Treasurer of Arizona, as well as C.O.O. & C.F.O. of the Trump Campaign in 2016, and C.O.O. again in 2020.