WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Tuesday, Dec. 20, an Arizona judge largely rejected requests to dismiss an election contest brought by Abraham Hamadeh, the failed Republican candidate for Arizona attorney general and a known election denier, along with two Arizona voters and the Republican National Committee. Instead, the judge allowed four out of five claims alleged in the Republican-sponsored election contest to move forward. The contest — which was brought against Kris Mayes (D), the newly elected Arizona attorney general, current Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs (D) and 15 county recorders and boards of supervisors — challenged the results of the 2022 election for Arizona attorney general. Although Hamadeh lost to Mayes by 511 votes, his contest requests “judicial intervention” to ensure the candidate who “received the highest number of lawful votes is declared the next Arizona Attorney General,” which Hamadeh believes to be himself. Notably, in this legal challenge, the Republican plaintiffs state that they are not “alleging any fraud, manipulation or other intentional wrongdoing that would impugn the outcomes of the November 8, 2022, general election,” but then proceed to cast doubt upon the results of the Arizona midterm elections by citing “systematic” errors that resulted in “illegal votes” being cast throughout numerous counties.
In today’s order, released after a hearing on the motions to dismiss took place yesterday, a judge allowed four out of five counts alleged in Hamadeh’s election contest to move forward, the merits of which will be argued at an evidentiary hearing scheduled for Friday, Dec. 23. These four counts of alleged misconduct include erroneously counted ballots and election board misconduct, wrongful exclusion of provisional ballots, inaccurate ballot duplications and improper electronic ballot adjudication. The judge did, however, grant the motions to dismiss count five, which concerned unverified early ballots in relation to signature verification procedures outlined in the Arizona Elections Procedures Manual from 2019. In the order, the judge agreed with the defendants’ assertion that the plaintiffs’ fifth count is barred by laches (the legal principle that a lawsuit has to be brought in a timely manner) and should have been brought prior to the election, especially since the manual at issue was adopted in 2019. Regarding the plaintiffs’ motion to inspect ballots that was argued in yesterday’s hearing, the judge ordered the parties to “meet and confer and choose the parties to do the inspection and the extent of the inspection by noon on Wednesday, December 21, 2022.” Just last night, a judge dismissed eight out of 10 counts in Kari Lake’s gubernatorial election contest; the arguments over the merits of the remaining two counts in Lake’s contest are set to go to trial starting Thursday, Dec. 21.