PHOENIX (AP) — Lawyers for election officials urged a judge Friday to dismiss a Republican lawsuit that seeks to undo Democrat President-elect Joe Biden’s victory in Arizona, arguing there was no evidence of fraud in how ballots were processed in metro Phoenix and that the number of votes President Donald Trump could have lost due to human error wasn’t enough for him to carry the state.
The attorneys said the error rate among the category of ballots challenged by state GOP Chairwoman Kelli Ward was minuscule and that it would be an extraordinary move to for a court to reverse an election in which more than 3 million Arizonans voted.
“There is no way any of this evidence could justify throwing out the votes of the people of Arizona because somebody didn’t like the results,” said Tom Liddy, an attorney representing Maricopa County election officials.
Ward is challenging ballots in Maricopa County that were duplicated because voters’ earlier ballots were damaged or could not be run through tabulators.
A court-ordered sampling of 1,626 duplicated ballots found Trump lost seven votes due to errors in ballot processing in Maricopa County. An election official had testified Trump could have lost 103 votes if the error rate were extrapolated across all 27,800 duplicated ballots in the county. Biden won Arizona by more than 10,000 votes.
Ward’s lawsuit claims some suburbs on the southeastern edge of Maricopa County had an unusually high number of duplicated ballots — and that the election results in that area were “strongly inconsistent” with voter registration and historical voting data.
Ward attorney Jack Wilenchik said most of the errors discovered in the sampling of duplicated ballots caused Trump to lose more votes than Biden and that the software used in processing such ballots would “prefill” Biden’s name on ballots.
“We have brought this case for good reason,” Wilenchik said.
Judge Randall Warner said he would issue a decision on Friday.
The state’s election results were certified on Monday, showing Biden won Arizona. The Electoral College is scheduled to meet on Dec. 14.
No evidence of voter fraud or election fraud has emerged during this election season in Arizona. U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr has said the Justice Department has uncovered no evidence of widespread voter fraud that would change the outcome of the election.
Even though Republican Gov. Doug Ducey said earlier this week that Arizona’s election was well-run as he certified the Nov. 3 results, many GOP politicians in the state have mostly been silent or slow to express confidence in the election results that gave Biden a victory in Arizona.
Warner had previously said he was going to dismiss Ward’s claims that Republican poll observers weren’t given adequate access to the signature-verification of mail-in ballots and duplicated ballots, saying those complaints should have been brought to the court sooner. The judge let the rest of Ward’s case go to trial.
Four earlier election challenges in Maricopa County were dismissed, including one filed by the Arizona Republican Party that sought to determine whether voting machines were hacked.