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Arizona GOP looks like ‘sore losers’ for vote challenge, political expert says

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PHOENIX – A request by the Arizona GOP for access to communications between the Maricopa County recorder and U.S. Senate candidate Kyrsten Sinema’s campaign is giving the party a black eye, a former state legislator said.

“Every time I hear this, I think the Republicans look like sore losers,” Republican Phoenix political consultant Stan Barnes said Monday on KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Arizona’s Morning News.

The Freedom of Information Act request filed over the weekend by party Chairman Jonathan Lines came on the heels of a court settlement between Arizona Republican leaders in four counties over the handling of mail-in ballots with signature issues.

The party also accused a Democratic elections official of destroying evidence of voting irregularities.

“The Republicans are on the wrong side of the legal optics on this,” Barnes said.

Sinema, a Democrat, has outpaced Republican Martha McSally in four straight days of ballot counting. Sinema picked up about 4,000 more votes on Sunday, for a lead of nearly 33,000.

Lines said Maricopa County Recorder Adrian Fontes has “cast a lot of doubt on this election.”

The GOP in Maricopa, Apache, Navajo and Yuma counties settled the lawsuit Friday, agreeing that all 15 of Arizona’s counties can work to verify ballots that have signature irregularities.

County recorders have until 5 p.m. Wednesday to “cure” early ballots that were submitted with signatures that didn’t match the voter registration signatures, using the same methods they used before the election.

“His lack of transparency is clear,” Lines said of Fontes to KTAR News 92.3 FM on Saturday.

The suit alleged that the state’s county recorders weren’t following a uniform standard for allowing voters to address problems with their early ballots, and that Maricopa and Pima counties were improperly allowing the fixes for up to five days after Election Day.

Lines said the party has received complaints from voters and believed the request for information was reasonable.

“It doesn’t play well with the average voter, so even if there is something there, it’s a losing (public relations) strategy,” Barnes said.

“I don’t think average voters buy there’s some sort of corruption in Maricopa County with the vote count.”

Barnes said a long shot possibility of uneven application of the law would be one of the only reasons for further challenging of the vote count.

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