State of Arizona

Arizona Secretary of State and 3rd Congressional District Election Contest

Finchem v. Fontes

Election contest filed by Mark Finchem, the GOP candidate for Arizona secretary of state who lost to Secretary of State-elect Adrian Fontes (D) by over 5 points, and Jeff Zink, the GOP candidate for Arizona’s 3rd Congressional District who lost in a landslide to Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz), against Fontes, Gallego and current Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs (D). The plaintiffs allege that widespread failures in the state’s conduct of the midterm elections, specifically in Maricopa County, cost Finchem and Zink their elections and “has resulted in Arizona becoming a laughingstock among the 50 states.” The plaintiffs specifically point to issues with tabulator machines in Maricopa County to argue that “Arizona voters experienced monumental difficulties trying to register their votes/ballots” and the alternatives offered to affected voters were “weak and unsatisfying” and these votes “were likely never counted and constitute the 60,000 Maricopa County and 20,000 Pima county missing votes reported on the Secretary of State website.” The contest places blame for these issues on Hobbs, suggesting that she “had an ethical duty to recuse herself” because she “was herself running for governor” while being the state’s chief election officer. According to the plaintiffs, “recusal would cause her to lose control of the election she hoped to directly benefit from – a staggering appearance of impropriety and display of unethical behavior,” causing Arizona to have “the only mid-term election in the 50 states with such a comical and tragic outcome.” The plaintiffs further suggest that Hobbs failed to “properly investigat[e]” the tabulator machines that experienced issues on Election Day; she threatened and intimidated county-level election workers in Cochise and Mohave counties and she used Twitter “to censor the free speech of Arizona citizens because of ‘misinformation’ [that] offended her political perspective.”

Without all of these alleged violations of Arizona law, the plaintiffs argue that “201,232 votes would have gone to Finchem and 79,298 votes would have gone to Zink, changing the outcome of the election in favor of Plaintiffs.” The contest asks the court to declare that the election of Fontes and Gallego “is of no further legal force or effect and that the election is annulled,” order ballots to be inspected for fraud, require a “state-wide special election, counted by hand, without the use of electronic vote tabulation systems at the precinct level, [and] no mail in ballots” and open an investigation into Hobbs’ conduct for allegedly violating Arizona law. On Dec. 12, the plaintiff filed an amended complaint removing Zink as a plaintiff and Rep. Gallego as a defendant in the case.

On Dec. 16, the court dismissed the lawsuit. On Dec. 21, Finchem appealed the trial court’s order dismissing the lawsuit to the Arizona Supreme Court. On Dec. 29, the Arizona Supreme Court denied the appeal.

Case Documents (trial court)

Case Documents (Az supreme court)

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