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.
“We have more votes than Kris Mayes. It’s up to the courts to decide to count them.” – Abe Hamadeh
Recent analysis of uncounted provisional ballots in November’s attorney general race make a compelling case that Abe Hamadeh received more legal votes than Kris Mayes.
The 2022 faceoff between Hamadeh and Mayes serves as one of the closest races in Arizona’s history. It’s on par with one other historically significant race that was ultimately overturned, even after both the Maricopa County Superior Court and a Democratic Secretary of State had declared a winner: the 1916 gubernatorial election.
However, the year-long contention of that election had to do with the design of the ballots confusing voters on their vote. This time around, just over 100 years later, the issue concerned voters whose votes were denied to them due to government missteps and failures with election administration.
Last Tuesday, the Mohave County Superior Court granted Hamadeh oral arguments in his motion for a new trial challenging the outcome of his election based on hundreds of allegedly disenfranchised voters. That will occur in about a month, on May 16. Hamadeh shared that they have over 250 affidavits from allegedly disenfranchised voters at present. The vote margin difference is 280.
According to all counties’ data, there are roughly 8,000 provisional ballots outstanding. Hamadeh led on day-of voters statewide, winning an average of 70 percent of the votes. Provisional ballots may heavily favor him, due to the additional fact that day-of votes were generally 2 to 1 Republican.
“All data points suggest that it favors Republicans,” said Hamadeh.
It appears that, due to the mass tabulator failures, there were less voters but more provisional ballots cast this past election year. Rejection rates of these provisional ballots increased sharply across several counties: Santa Cruz County’s rejections increased from one out of the 117 provisional ballots cast to 83 out of the 139 provisional ballots cast. Pima County’s rejection rate doubled.
Despite Pinal County having a comparable number of provisional ballots cast in 2020 and 2022, their rejection rate increased from 59 to 63 percent.
Yavapai County more than doubled its rejection of provisional ballots this past election than in 2020 based on non-registration, despite having a significant decline in voter turnout (over 87 percent versus just over 75 percent).
Further data will be published in full as court proceedings continue. Hamadeh shared that his legal team is awaiting some data from several counties, which he said would bolster their case.
“As more data comes in, it’s getting worse for the government and looking better for us,” said Hamadeh.
Another development that could impact Hamadeh’s case is the divorce between Democrats’ top election lawyer, Marc Elias, and the Democratic National Committee (DNC).
Elias is engaged in an ongoing federal lawsuit fighting for the voting rights of those voters whose registration was canceled. Elias is fighting for all provisional ballots to be counted — an outcome that would be favorable for Hamadeh’s case, when it was originally intended to be favorable to Democratic interests.
Hamadeh’s legal and analytics teams estimate that over 1,000 voters had their voter registration erroneously canceled due to government system issues. That’s separate from the 8,000 provisional ballots outstanding.
Hamadeh’s team also discovered 750 high-propensity voters whose registrations were wrongly canceled. Of that number, only 176 showed up on Election Day.
“It’s really a screwed up situation,” said Hamadeh. “If you can imagine, the disenfranchisement is even bigger than what we’re arguing.”
Bureaucratic mismanagement resulting in voter registration failures is nothing new, especially for Maricopa County. In 2020, thousands of voters were nearly disenfranchised by intergovernmental miscommunication.
Hamadeh dismissed the argument from some outlets that high-propensity voters should’ve taken more steps to ensure they were registered, saying that doesn’t excuse the government’s failure.
“If you’re on PEVL [Permanent Early Voting List] and you expect your ballot to come but it doesn’t, you’re disenfranchised,” said Hamadeh.
Hamadeh referenced one case he called “egregious,” where a father paying his college daughter’s vehicle registration unknowingly had his registration transferred to a different county — all because his daughter was going to college in a different county.
“Without any notice by the way, he never got any notice. And we know he never intended to go to Coconino because he doesn’t have a house there or anything,” said Hamadeh.
There was also the case of Howard, a visually-impaired disabled veteran whose voter registration was canceled through bureaucratic error, unbeknownst to him, and left him without his voting power in this last election. Hamadeh insisted that Democrats’ refusal to see Howard as the victim in this case was hypocritical.
“The media and Democrats are trying to say this is voter error. But in every single election incident, just two years ago, they were arguing against these voter registration cancellations,” said Hamadeh.
Then there’s the 269 voters who showed up on election day with their mail-in ballot and checked in — but never had their vote counted. Yet, on the county’s end, those check-ins reflect votes cast. Of those 269 who dropped off mail-in ballots that weren’t counted, 149 were Republicans, 53 were Democrats, and 67 were “other.” Hamadeh reported that many of those voters told his team that their votes weren’t counted.
With a 280 vote margin between Mayes and Hamadeh, any of these contested provisional or mail-in ballots may result in the first race overturned in nearly a century.